On Thursday Feb. 10, STEM Sorority members once again channeled their inner biologist to dissect grasshoppers!

After retrieving our specimens from a decade-old soup of preserved insects, the incisions began. Groups worked with the precision of weathered surgeons; first separating each part of the mouth, then twisting off the legs, and finally, cutting delicately into the abdomen to peel open the exoskeleton.

Members also examined several unique features of grasshoppers, from identifying the gender of their specimen using the shape of the abdomen to separating the cellophane-like wing layers. We also sliced off a thin piece of one grasshopper’s eye for closer examination. Under the microscope, we could see the pattern of repeating hexagons that made up its compound eye, allowing the grasshopper to see its surroundings, despite being unable to actually move their eyes. 

(This one-eyed grasshopper also attracted attention for being the most photogenic, and we proceeded to have a small photoshoot for it.)

At the end, dissection plates were filled with no identifiable remnants of the full grasshopper—only clean, individual bits.