Contributing Monkie G Monkie
Published on December 14, 2009
Quest again shows us the details behind our world. In this show they look at the amazing world of Beetles. It’s been 150 years since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Yet his ideas remain as central to scientific exploration as ever. QUEST follows researchers who are still unlocking the mysteries of evolution, like entomologist David Kavanaugh, who predicted that a new beetle species would be found on the Trinity Alps. Find out if his prediction came true…
Gabriela Quirós, a segment producer for QUEST, admires the beetle collection of Dr. David Kavanaugh, Senior Entomologist of the California Academy of Sciences. Gabriela profiled Dr. Kavanaugh in the special half-hour, “Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin.”
It wasn’t difficult for David Kavanaugh to focus on the genus Nebria as his specialty since “they live where I like to be—up in the mountains.” Dr. Kavanaugh has hiked up into mountain ranges all over the world – the preferred habitat of these insects – in the hopes of finding these elusive beetles. They have special enzymes in their bodies which allow them to remain active in the cool climate that would normally be perilous for other creatures. Nebria also have a natural antifreeze-like chemical that lowers the freezing point of water within their bodies and prevents them from freezing solid in the subzero temperatures. The beetles are nocturnal and forage for food only at night. Dr. Kavanaugh discovered this Nebria beetle, Nebria vandykei wyeast, in the Cascades Mountains in 1979.