Illinois’ official state symbols quiz answers

SHARE Illinois’ official state symbols quiz answers
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A monarch butterfly feeds on nectar in Deerfield. | Sun-Times files

These are the answers to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Illinois state symbols multiple-choice quiz:

Eastern tiger salamander. | Brookfield Zoo

Eastern tiger salamander. | Brookfield Zoo

Amphibian: b.) Eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum). Chosen by a vote of students and the public via the Internet, effective 2005. At a length of as much as 33 centimeters, the black-with-yellow-spots creature is the biggest Illinois salamander.

Animal: a.) white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Selected by vote of Illinois students in 1980 over these other choices: raccoon, fox squirrel, opossum, red fox and 13-lined ground squirrel. Illinois’ white-tailed deer aren’t native. They were restocked in the 1930s after the last native deer was spotted in 1912 in southern Illinois.

Artifact: a.) pirogue. Think: canoe fashioned from a hollow-out log. Designated in 2016 after being suggested by eighth-graders at Wilmette’s St. Joseph School in tribute to early Native American residents of what became Illinois.

Northern cardinal. | National Audubon Society

Northern cardinal. | National Audubon Society

Bird: c.) Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). Schoolkids picked this instantly recognizable bird over the bluebird, meadowlark, quail and oriole. The males are brighter red than the females.

Exercise: b.) cycling. This one — pushed by downstate Republican state Rep. Dave Severin, doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1.

Fish: a.) bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). Picked by Illinois students in 1986, the bluegill is a sunfish that eats aquatic bugs and larvae, smaller fish, crayfish, snails, even algae.

Flower: c. violet (Viola sororia). The designation of the violet, originally given in 1908, at first specified the blue violet. The most common of Illinois’ eight types of blue violets is the dooryard violet, which thrives in a wide range of conditions and grows in full sunlight and deep shade alike.

Folk dance: b.) square dance. Illinois is one of a couple of dozen states to so honor square dancing and has since 1990.

Tully monster specimen. | Illinois State Museum

Tully monster specimen. | Illinois State Museum

Fossil: a.) Tully monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium). Designated in 1989, it lived about 300 million years ago in what was then an ocean covering much of the state. It had a soft body — the impressions of which remarkably were preserved in hardened mud.

Fruit: c.) Goldrush apple (Malus xdomestica). Named in 2008 at the urging of fourth-graders at Woodlawn Elementary School. The University of Illinois worked on developing the goldrush — which crossed golden delicious with an experimental variety.

Insect: c.) monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Named in 1975 based on the suggestion of third-graders from Dennis School in Decatur. They lay their eggs on milkweed plants — there’s been a push to plant more of those as monarchs have faced a loss of their winter habitat in Mexico.

Mineral: b.) fluorite. Approved by the legislature in 1965, this glassy, crystalline form of calcium fluoride is used in making steel, among other things. The key U.S. deposits of fluorite are in southern Illinois.

Motto: b.) State sovereignty, national union. If you went with either of the other two choices, your confusion is understandable. Land of Lincoln is Illinois’ official state slogan, and the Prairie State is the official state nickname.

Pie: a.) pumpkin. Approved in 2015. Illinois is the nation’s top pumpkin producer.

Prairie grass: a.) big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii). Designated in 1989 after a poll of students. Before Illinois was Illinois, it was covered in prairie grasses, the most common very possibly big bluestem, which grows tall (three to 10 feet) and dense and can shade out other plants.

Reptile: c.) painted turtle (Chrysemys picta). The painted turtle was designated in 2005 after an Internet vote in which it outpolled the Eastern box turtle and common garter snake. The “painted” part of its name comes from its bright markings of yellow, red and orange.

Tree: a.) white oak. There are about 20 native oak species in Illinois, and the state tree was the “native oak” from 1908 till 1973, when the white oak was chosen in a poll of 900,000 children over the Northern red oak. These oaks produce acorns in large numbers only every four to 10 years.

SOURCE: Illinois State Museum, Sun-Times research

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