In an article written by the Tennessean’s Ms. Cheap, “Go Bug Wild at Insects of the Night,” Professor of Biology Dr. Steve Murphree is featured as a resident bug expert. Known around campus as the “bug guy,” Murphree answered ten questions surrounding his love for insects and more.
Murphree’s interview promotes Warner Park Nature Center’s “Insects of the Night,” an annual family festival with “creeply-crawly fun” for the whole family. Complete with insect Olympics, the event exposes children to the joys of science through experiencing a bug’s life.
In his interview Murphree pointed to the eyed elater beetle as his favorite bug (though he said the choice is a hard one) and said his favorite bug to show off to kids is the praying mantis. Murphree also described his personal bug collection. With a 12-15 year old Chilean rose hair tarantula named Rosie and five Madagascan hissing cockroaches, Murphree’s collection is unique.
He went on to answer Ms. Cheap’s questions and describe how his love for bugs came about recalling his childhood on a farm in Bedford County and his involvement in 4-H. “I was one of those kids that liked bugs and never grew up,” he said. After earning his master’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in entomology, Murphree has been known as Belmont’s bug guy for 25 years.
Murphree concluded his time with Ms. Cheap by heeding a warning to the public and asking for their respect to the bug kingdom saying, “[Kids and their parents] need to know that most bugs are not dangerous and should not be stomped…they play a big part in the world and are an important part of our ecosystem.”