Showing posts with label Insects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Insects. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hornet Moth


We know that some insects are dangerous, like hornets.

Other animals sometimes try to make themselves look like dangerous animals.
They do this so that they can be safe from other dangerous animals that might want to eat or kill them.

One great example of this is the hornet moth, that looks just like a hornet but is a harmless moth.


(from: wikipedia - hornet moth)

In nature when one animal looks like another dangerous one, it is called batesian mimicry.
What a fancy word for a copycat!

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Naked Mole Rat

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Firefly


Catching fireflies in the summer time can be pretty fun!
Fireflies are sometimes also called lightning bugs, but their real fancy name is lampyridae.

firefly
(from: wikipedia - firefly)

Even when the fireflies are babies (called larvae) they glow, and are sometimes called glow worms. glow worms
(from: wikipedia - firefly)

The fireflies light up because of something called bioluminescence. That's a fancy word that means there are some chemicals in their body that mix together and glow.

firefly
(from: wikipedia - firefly)


Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Armadillo

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Butterfly - Imago


After a butterfly has spent some time as a pupa in its chrysalis, it will come out as an adult.

An adult butterfly is called an imago, and when they first come out of their chrysalis their wings are all crumpled up. They have to spend a few hours waiting for them to dry and unfold before they can fly.

butterfly imago
(from: wikipedia - butterfly)

Butterflies have four wings. The top left, bottom left, top right and bottom right are all different wings that just all flap together.

If you look very very close, you can see that the patterns on the wings are all made up of tiny scales, like you might see on a snake or a fish.

butterfly wings
(from: wikipedia - butterfly)


Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Manatee

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Butterfly - Pupa


After a butterfly has hatched from it's egg, and eaten a lot of food as a larvae (or caterpillar) it goes off to find a place to hang out.

Caterpillars usually find the bottom of a leaf, and attach themselves to it with some silk.
After that they shed their outer skin, and underneath is a hard skin that becomes the shell they stay in for a while.
When they are in this shell they are called a pupa or sometimes a chrysalis.
They stay inside the chrysalis and start growing their wings so they can turn into a butterfly.

chrysalis
(from: wikipedia - butterfly)


Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Hippo Sunscreen

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Butterfly - Larvae


When a baby butterfly hatches from it's egg, it crawls out as a tiny worm called a larvae.

Another word for the butterfly larvae is a caterpillar.
Caterpillars spend almost their entire time looking for food. They mostly eat leaves.

Caterpillars don't have claws or teeth to fight with, so to protect themselves some have what look like scary eyes on their body, some make a stinky smell, and some are poisonous.
butterfly caterpillar larvae
(from: wikipedia - butterfly)


Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Frog Breathing

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Butterfly Eggs


Butterflies are beautiful creatures, and we know they come from caterpillars, but how?

Butterflies lay eggs on to a leaf, and the eggs stick to the leaf with a special glue. The eggs are protected by a hard outer shell called the chorion, and they are made waterproof with some wax.

The eggs usually hatch in a few weeks. If the eggs are laid close to winter time, they will hatch in the spring.
ariadne egg
(from: wikipedia - butterfly)


Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Rooster Comb

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mosquito larvae


We've all seen those nasty mosquitos flying around, but you might wonder what baby mosquitos look like.

Like many other insects, mosquitos go through 4 stages: egg, larvae, pupa, adult (also called imago).

The adult mosquitos lay their tiny eggs in the water.
Eventually the eggs hatch and turn into mosquito larvae, which look kind of like long tiny skinny fuzzy caterpillars in the water.
The larvae swim around in the water eating things like algea and bacteria, things we consider garbage but they eat for lunch!
They breathe air through their body with holes on their bodies called spiracles or siphons.
If mosquito larvae are living in an area that has a cold winter, they can actually get frozen solid in the water, and survive until the next spring to grow again.
This is called diapause.
mosquito larvae
(from: wikipedia - mosquito)

When the larvae get enough food, they turn into a pupa, which looks sort of like a comma shape.
The pupa doesn't eat, it just stays in the water and works on changing its body, kind of like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

Eventually the pupa gets big enough, cracks through its shell and then out flies a grown up mosquito, off to bite someone!

Mosquitos are annoying, but they are very important for wildlife.
Many animals like fish, frogs, dragonflies, spiders and bats all eat mosquitos either as larvae or imago.


Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Mosquito Proboscis

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rosy Maple Moth


The rosy maple moth is a very colorful and pretty insect.

It is called a maple moth because it feeds on maple trees.

dryocampa rubicunda
(from: wikipedia - dryocampa rubicunda)

These moths lay eggs on the bottom of maple leaves, where the baby caterpillars hatch and eat the leaves.
Once they are big enough, they climb to the ground, dig themselves a little cave in the dirt, then wrap themselves in their silk cocoon.
In their cocoon they transform, and climb out as a beautiful pink and yellow moth.
dryocampa rubicunda
(from: wikipedia - dryocampa rubicunda)


Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Cat Tongue

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grasshoppers


Grasshoppers are great hoppers!
Compared to a human, if a grasshopper were our size they could jump over a whole basketball court!

Grasshoppers don't have ears like ours, they have their ears on the sides of their bellies, and they are just flat, not like our ears that stick out.

(from: wikipedia - grasshopper)


Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Dung Beetle

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mosquito proboscis


We all hate those nasty mosquito bites, but why don't we notice when they bite us?

The part of the mosquito that looks like a big long nose is called it's proboscis.
That's really part of the mosquito's mouth!

When they stick that long skinny mouth in your arm, their saliva (like their spit)
touches your skin so you don't really feel them poking you.

That saliva is also what makes those little bites so itchy!
mosquito
(from: wikipedia - mosquito)


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dragonflies and Damselflies


Dragonflies are wonderful creatures that eat LOTS of mosquitos!
They can eat 30 times their entire body weight in those nasty bugs.

When you see dragonflies, you may notice that some of them have their wings laid out flat,
and some hold their wings closed up high.

The one with the wings closed is actually called a damselfly.

Dragonfly:
dragonfly

Damselfly:
damselfly
(from: wikipedia - dragonfly)

So be nice to dragonflies and damselflies and they will eat a bunch of mosquitos for us!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wasps and Bees


When striped yellow bugs are flying in the air, it can be hard to tell sometimes if it is a bee or a wasp.
Maybe because there are over 100,000 types of wasps, and 20,000 types of bees!

The biggest difference you can notice is that most bees have some hair on them, and wasps have no hair.
Bees eat nectar from flowers, and wasps eat other bugs.
Most bees die when they sting you, and most wasps don't die and can keep stinging.

Even though we might be scared of bee and wasp stings, they do help us out!
Bees help make flowers grow, and wasps eat small bugs that can hurt plants and crops.

Here is a honey bee:
honey bee
And a bumble bee:
bumble bee

Here is a yellow jacket (wasp):
yellow jacket
Here is a hornet:
hornet
(from: wikipedia - characteristics of common wasps and bees)


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dung Beetle


The dung beetle is a type of insect that collects uses dung to survive.
If you didn't already know this, dung is another word for poop!

dung beetle
(from: wikipedia - dung beetle)

Some dung beetles eat the dung, some lay their eggs in it, and some others just live in it.

Many of the beetles are rollers meaning they wait until the animal has pooped, and they roll the dung into a ball.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Inside Bees


A bee's heart runs all along the heart of it's body.
anatomy of a bee
(from: wikipedia - insect morphology)

They have holes in their bodies called spiracles that are openings where they take in air to breathe.
spiracles
(from: wikipedia - spiracle)