Case 028: Buggin’ Outfiled July 10, 2020
Here at The InQueery, we’re still reeling from the forced suspension of all non-essential research. For one team running a toxicological investigation into the venom of Cinux theatrum, commonly known as the Theater Bug, the timing couldn’t have been worse.
“Understanding the nature of the bite has never been more essential,” said Thomas Zane, lead biological anthropologist at The InQueery. “The countless accountants, day-traders, and teachers still waiting on a cure have been forced to work from home without the piano bars, Gilbert & Sullivan societies, and community theatre rehearsals they rely on to mitigate their symptoms.”
Quarantined in Nashville with his mothers, Zane was determined to continue his research. Far from the lab, he turned his observations to the fastidious little hands, dainty wings, and glittering exoskeletons of real live bugs found in situ on his daily walks.
“Nature is healing. Also, it’s gay,” Zane said. “The more time I spend watching insects, the more I see queer life reflected back at me. These little friends of Dorothy might be the link our investigation has been missing all along. Also, I haven’t seen another person my age in ten weeks.”
Though treatment for those afflicted by Cinux theatrum is still in development, The InQueery will include Zane’s observations in our yet-to-be released Seeing Queerly: A Nature Compendium, hitting virtual shelves just in time for a summer hopefully spent outdoors. Please enjoy an excerpt of Zane’s findings here:
Saturday, March 14th 2020
“First day out of the city, I hit the ground running with a long hike. Ladybugs (Coccinella Magnifica) on a stump wriggling like a pride parade float. They all look so pretty and exactly the same (am I in the woods or on Instagram?). Difficult to tell males and females apart, though…promising.”
Sunday, March 22nd 2020
“Left a light on outside and the luna moths (Actias luna) have gone full-tilt full moon ritual. If that doesn’t make them actual faeries, their appetite for my vintage sweater collection certainly does—the little menaces! I do, however, approve of a chartreuse look. A deep twirl hindwing tail? To die for. And that detailing – could it be paisley?”
Wednesday, March 25th 2020
“Spent the whole walk trying to get a refund for my Beyoncé tickets until I got stung by not one but several honey bees (Apis Mellifera). Not the Bug-A-Boo I asked for, but the one I deserved? Traded the Bey Hive for a beehive and I’m literally sore about it. Thought: relatively unqueer to serve a single queen, but any species willing to die to get in one good sting is queer as fuck.”
Thursday, April 2nd 2020
“Turns out it’s actually a clothes moth (Tienola bisselliella) eating my cut-offs. Rather than artificial light, they’re attracted to dark places like closets. Go figure. It gets better, little guy!”
Tuesday, April 7th 2020
“My new favorite log (not a euphemism) is infested with carpenter ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). These tough ladies are packin’ portable power tools with those serrated mandibles. I haven’t been this fascinated by an industrious female colony since my childhood summers spent watching my moms build their dream house out of salvaged wood with a group of college friends.”
Thursday, April 16th 2020
“Overnight, a seriously high-gloss spiny orb-weaver spider (Gasteracantha cancriformis) has festooned the eaves of our porch with the most gorg natural fibers. We stan an eight-legged artisan!”
Monday, June 1st 2020
“A chrysalis on a milkweed! Soon to be nature’s greatest coming out story. The monarch butterfly’s (Danaus plexippus) stunning summer body will only last a few weeks (relatable), but late bloomers survive the winter by flapping their little wings all the way to Mexico and back (okay, fancy). These tiny glamazons come equipped with a two-part proboscis—they zip it together then unfurl it to full length for sucking up sweet nectar. Not a euphemism! Look it up, bitch!”
Tuesday, June 9th 2020
“For now, the cicadas (Cicadoidea) are still underground, but they’re set to finally emerge after 17 years. Story of my life.”
Wednesday, June 26th 2020
“Rain again. Watched a fly (Musca domestica) flit around my bedroom until it landed on my pillow, where I’m sure it laid a million little eggs. Talk about someone who can say maggot.”
Wednesday, June 26th 2020
“Clouds broke and we dined al fresco. Right at 8 pm (okay maybe more like 8:07) the fireflies (Photinus pyralis) lit up the yard. Wow. I’ll mourn the future of theatre tomorrow. Tonight we’ve got dinner and a show, henny!”
Friday, July 3rd 2020
“Daddy long legs (Hadrobunus grandis) in the outdoor shower. Sadly, still not a euphemism.
Our Conclusion: In a pandemic, it’s bugs before hugs.
Rating: Phyllis Diller in A Bug’s Life, but decidedly NOT Kevin Spacey.