The 21st Show

Crustaceans To Take Center Stage At The 37th Annual Insect Fear Film Festival

May Berenbau

Entomology Graduate Student Association and L. Brian Stauffer/UI Public Affairs

The 37th annual Insect Fear Film Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday at Foellinger Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

This year’s festival theme is crustaceans, which are close relatives of insects, said May Berenbaum, head of the U of I entomology department and one of the event’s lead organizers.

Scientists long believed the closest allies to insects were spiders, mites and ticks, she said. But that changed about 15 years ago when genetics research revealed something different.

“In fact, the main reason that insects and arachnids look like they’re closely related is that they’re terrestrial,” Berenbaum said. “In reality, if you look down at the gene level, insects are basically just terrestrial crustaceans.”

The free festival will feature kid-friendly films and TV shows about crustaceans, along with a live insect and crustacean petting zoo.

The first feature-length film at 7:15 p.m., “Attack of the Crab Monsters,” is also family-friendly, Berenbaum said. The second film, “The Bay,” is rated R.

Berenbaum said the main goal of the festival is to help people understand the value of biodiversity and appreciate the many ways our lives intersect with insects and other creatures.

Guest: May Berenbaum, professor and head of the U of I entomology department

Prepared for web by WILL intern Tatiania Perry.

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