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NMSU Entomology Students Win Contest

LAS CRUCES--A team four New Mexico State University entomology students recently proved that they are the best in the Southwest by placing first in the Linnaean Games, an entomology-based question and answer competition.


The contest was held during the Southwest Branch meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Feb. 24-25, at the Las Cruces Hilton. NMSU's team competed against a team from Oklahoma State University and two from Texas A&M University.

Graduate students Andrine Morrison and J. Chris Romero and undergraduates Lupe Carrasco and Ricardo Ramirez are with NMSU's entomology, plant pathology and weeds science department. They were coached by David Richman, a science specialist with the department. To win the contest, they answered questions about subjects like insect ecology, biological control of insects, taxonomy and morphology and economic entomology.

To win the contest, the team had to know that rodents are major carriers of bubonic plague, the pecan weevil was recently found in Otero county and the cochineal insect was used to make the red dye found in the red coats of British soldiers during the American Revolution.

With their win, the team qualified to compete in the national competition to be held in December 1999 in Atlanta, Ga. They also received $500 towards their traveling expenses and a place on the competition's traveling trophy.

Since the contest will be held during the National Entomological Society Association meeting, entomologists from around the country will see the students compete. "We will have to chance to do out best in front of the people that we will probably be working for if we stay in entomology," Morrison said.

During the contest, each team was asked 16 questions by a moderator. For each question, students could not consult each other, but any member could answer. If the answer was correct, team members then got a bonus question, which they could answer together.