THE ECHO BLOG
FACES OF ECHO: RUTH KASSEL
POSTED SEPTEMBER 30 AT 9:19 AM
By Erin Murphy/ ECHO
Contact: Steven Leibman or Grace Per Lee
802-864-1848 ext. 125 or 131
ATTACK OF THE BLOODSUCKERS! HEADING TO ECHO
It’s the Science of What’s Eating You — Exhibit Opening November
BURLINGTON, Vt. —Stinky feet can make you more attractive — to a
hungry mosquito, that is! You’ll explore the science of what’s
eating you at ECHO, November 10 — April 28, with Attack of
the Bloodsuckers!. This special exhibit was created by the
same folks who brought you the popular Turtle Travels and
Tree Houses, and is sponsored by the American Red Cross,
Chittenden Bank, Vermont Department of Agriculture, and Vermont
Department of Health Visitors to Attack of the Bloodsuckers!
will discover the biological wonders of sanguinivores —
creatures that eat blood — through encounters with live species
and interactive exhibits.
Attack of the Bloodsuckers! also provides visitors with
helpful hints for avoiding these sometimes annoying creatures.
Simple precautions like keeping your yard free of standing
water, where mosquitoes breed, and checking yourself carefully
for deer ticks before they can transmit Lyme disease, go
a long way toward keeping you comfortable and safe.
- Look a real leech in the mouth;
- Pull off your socks and test your bug-appealing foot
- Receive a big hug from a giant, inflating tick;
- Get itchy and knotty with the life-size game of "Twitcher"
— a buggy variation on Twister™!
Says ECHO’s Executive Director Phelan Fretz, "Some of these
insects are known disease vectors, and their increasing
populations are a public health concern — as a community
resource, we want to address that." But don’t let that keep you
from admiring the amazing anatomy of the mosquito, or what makes
a tick "tick." Adds Fretz, "We’re really more interested in the
science, rather than the fear-factor, of what’s eating you."
We all need food to survive, and animals that eat blood are no
different. In fact, most of them manage to leave their prey
alive — which is more than most of us can say! With about 20
grams of protein in every drop, human blood is high-energy fuel
for the animals who’ve adapted to eating it — and they have
adapted in some pretty amazing ways: Our regional black fly, for
example, uses its scissor-like jaws to create a wound in the
skin, then licks up the resulting pool of blood. Ticks, also
native to our area, can swell up to 600 times their original
Beyond our Basin are a myriad of other sanguinivorous species —
from the Amazon Basin to the mountains of Czechoslovakia — each
one adapted to feeding in its own unique way. The Espanola
mockingbird, endemic to the Galapagos Islands, feeds on other
birds, iguanas, sea lions, and the occasional researcher. Brazil
boasts the teeny-tiny, but very persistent, vampire fish. Even
certain butterflies have a taste for blood! The incredible
biodiversity of bloodsuckers is sure to amaze and impress. While
we can’t guarantee you’ll want to make friends with these
critters, you’re sure to respect them after experiencing
Attack of the Bloodsuckers!.
Attack of the Bloodsuckers! is produced by EEC! -- the
Environmental Exhibit Collaborative (ECHO Lake Aquarium and
Science Center, Burlington, Vermont; EcoTarium, Worcester,
Massachusetts; and the Children’s Museum of Maine, Portland,
Maine) -- and made possible by grants from Jane's Trust, Cabot
Family Charitable Trust, and the U.S. Institute for Museum and
ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center is located at the Leahy
Center for Lake Champlain, on Vermont’s Burlington Waterfront.
ECHO features 70 species of live fish, amphibians,
invertebrates, and reptiles, over 100 hands-on experiences,
major traveling exhibits, and the multimedia Awesome Forces
Theater. The 2.2 acre site is also highlighted by the Lake
Champlain Navy Memorial, ECHO’s Eclectic Gift Shop, and seasonal
café. Open year-round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving,
Christmas Eve & Day, and most Mondays in winter. Admission is
$7-$9.50; children under 3 and K-12 classroom teachers with
credential ID are free. For more information visit
echovermont.org, call 1-877-ECHOFUN, or write to ECHO Lake
Aquarium and Science Center, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain,
One College Street, Burlington, VT 05401.