5 November 2019

Pumped for Pumpkins

PEPS students show off their chops in carving contest

Pumped for Pumpkins

This Halloween, the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences held its annual pumpkin-carving contest, to fearful and artistic effect! From the front of a VW bus to a surprisingly faithful depiction of the classic painting The Scream and an assortment of grotesque faces, PEPS teams and individuals showed just what can be done with a pumpkin. 

Dario Arizala, who’s pursuing an MS in the Bacteriology lab, was named the first-place winner for a spine-tingling depiction of Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman, while second place went to Brad Reil, a PhD in Insect Systematics, and third place to Brandy Adam, a recent M.S. graduate in PEPS who’s currently working in the Agrosecurity Lab.

Brad notes that his team’s pumpkin features a Hawaiian Eupithecia. “This is a genus of Geometrid moth whose caterpillars are carnivorous—they eat other insects, instead of plants!” he explains. “These sit-and-wait predators use camouflage, such as small sticks and lichen-covered twigs, and stay very still, waiting for small insects like Drosophila. When their prey get close enough, Eupitheciaflings its body at them, catching them by surprise, and grabs dinner! On our pumpkin, the caterpillar is curving its body and ready to strike. If it were big enough to eat humans, it would be very scary!!!”

Congratulations to all, and mahalo for some truly inspired jack-o’-lanterns! View more photos here.

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