A Look at the Science Behind Blood-Sucking Beasties

Attack of the Bloodsuckers at the EcoTarium Museum of Science and Nature

Worcester, Mass. – May 15, 2018 – The newest exhibition to open on Saturday, May 19 at the EcoTarium museum of science and nature – Attack of the Bloodsuckers, will feature live mosquitoes and leeches, and explore the science behind how some animals survive by eating the blood of other creatures. A recent report from federal researchers indicated that more and more Americans are being infected with diseases carried out by ticks and mosquitoes. The exhibit is a hands-on exploration of the why and how of mosquitoes and ticks, leeches and lice, even bats, birds and fish track down blood for their meals. Attack of the Bloodsuckers is kid-friendly and open to all museum visitors through Saturday, September 2.

Like all EcoTarium exhibits, Attack of the Bloodsuckers components were designed to be experiential, placing the visitor in the parasite’s point of view; and examining the signals they use to identify and seek out blood.

“We always want to provide our guests opportunities for a memorable time learning and playing together,” shared Betsy Loring, Director of Exhibits and Facilities at the EcoTarium. “In this exhibit, we definitely wanted visitors to practice their science skills, but I think they’re going to see how much fun we had making the exhibit too!”

Highlights of the exhibit include:

Take a close look at some familiar bloodsuckers that you normally try to avoid: a head louse, flea, bed bug, tick and mosquito.

Tool Time
Be a mosquito! Use your probe to find a vein in an arm. Get a close-up look at a mosquito’s proboscis (tube-mouth), and the slicing jaws and suction-cup mouths other bloodsuckers use to get their blood meals.

Suckers Talk Back
Bloodsuckers plead for their lives! The mosquito, leech, tick and black fly explain their important place in the natural world

Suckers from Around the World
Check out the weird suckers around the world: a life-like model of a vampire bat, a preserved sea lamprey and portraits of a vampire moth, vampire fish and a tag-team pair of blood-sucking bird species from the Galapagos.

Originally developed in collaboration with the Children’s Museum of Maine and ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain Attack of the Bloodsuckers first launched about a decade ago. It continues to be a successful traveling exhibit on behalf of other museums around the country.

About the EcoTarium
EcoTarium is New England’s leading museum of science and nature, an indoor-outdoor experience dedicated to inspiring a passion for science and nature in visitors of all ages. Founded in 1825, it has been a leader in informal science and nature education for nearly 200 years, and today welcomes more than 165,000 visitors per year. Highlights of the 55-acre campus include a museum building with three floors of interactive exhibits, the Alden Digital Planetarium: A National Geographic Theater, daily Science Discovery programs, live animal habitats, nature trails through forest and meadow, seasonal narrow-gauge railroad Explorer Express Train, and its expansive interactive outdoor exhibit, Nature Explore®. It also offers a variety of sponsorship, membership, and giving opportunities for businesses and organizations.

The EcoTarium, located at 222 Harrington Way in Worcester, Mass., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sundays 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. General admission is $18 for adults, $14 for children 2-18, $14 for seniors 65+ and students with ID, and children under 2 are free. Planetarium shows and Explorer Express Train require additional ticket. Parking is free. For more information, visit