While I love it when artists talk about science, I really enjoy scientists talking (and publishing) about art: Bug Girl has the scoop on an open-access scientific journal called Insects that will have an entire issue edited by Jennifer Angus, a renowned insect artist. I cannot wait to see what gets submitted!
There is one wonderful paper already submitted, entitled “Noninsect Arthropods in Popular Music“. The biologist Joseph R. Coelho used Amazon as a research tool to find references to arachnids, crustaceans, myriapods, and other arthropods in song titles and albums. From his abstract: “The occurrence of noninsect arthropods in popular music was examined in order to explore human attitudes toward these species, especially as compared to insects.” The article follows with a breakdown of non-insect arthropods by subphyla, order and common name. Lots of hits for “Black Widow” and “Spider” and “Crab”, but there’s a few surprises, such as the 5 songs with Vinegaroon in the title! Who knew?
However there are certainly a few holes caused in the data set by using only Amazon as a research tool. For example, the author struck out when hunting for songs about isopods, but there’s an entire compilation album on the internet dedicated to the internet-famous Bathynomus giganteus, the giant isopod. Since it’s not for sale commercially, it was missed.
This is science dear to the Endless-Swarm’s heart, and since it’s an open-access journal, you can read it online right feaking now. The article goes beyond mere cataloging of song titles, and offers analysis and insight into perception of arthropods in culture and history.