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University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
A grounded view of the empire of insects
A grounded view of the empire of insects

Max Ataka loves insects. All kinds, from the beetles on his T-shirt to the Anise swallowtail butterfly perched on the back of his hand. The 12-year-old loves the colors, the weird behaviors, the fact that he can actually handle them. "When I was a baby, my first insect was a grasshopper," he said, recalling the memory as if it were from a distant era. Max is the youngest member of the Lorquin Entomological Society, an organization of Southern Californians who prefer six legs to four (or two). To them, "spineless" is a compliment. For a century, the group has convened to share collecting tips, hear about new discoveries and chase bugs. On a recent Sunday, Max and several other members...

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