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Entomology by Dr. Joanie
Good morning naturalists!
Entomology is the study of insects. Insects are part of a larger group called Arthropoda. Arthropod means “jointed legs”. Bend your arms, your legs. Do you have joints? Are you an arthropod? Can you think of something you have that arthropods lack? Is your skeleton inside or outside your body? What about arthropods? Arthropods have an exoskeleton – a skeleton outside their body.
This cicada shed its exoskeleton in order to grow into its adult form.
Besides insects, there are several groups of arthropods. Can you think of other animals that have jointed legs and an exoskeleton? Spiders are Arachnids. So are ticks. Crayfish, crabs and lobsters are Crustaceans. Millipedes and centipedes are Myriopods.
Several different arthropods of different types. Which are which?
Activity: In your backyard, find as many arthropods as you can. You can also look at pictures in books or online. Make comparisons. For example, count legs and body parts. Remember, immature arthropods may not have the same form as adults, so make your comparisons between adults. How many legs do adult insects have? Can you find the different body parts? What about spiders? Can you even count the legs on a millipede? Draw your favorite discovery. Write the type of arthropod it is. Try to label all the body parts.
Insects are very special arthropods. There are more insects on earth than anything else. Just about everywhere you look, you will see insects or signs of insects. Insects are the only arthropods that can fly. What other animals can fly? I think it would be so exciting to be able to fly! Baby insects cannot fly. They are called nymphs or larvae. Nymphs resemble adults, but are smaller. Larvae look more like fat worms. They are very different from adults. What is the larva of a butterfly?
How many body parts does an insect have? The head holds the eyes, antenna and mouth. The thorax holds the wings and 6 legs. The abdomen holds the digestive and reproductive organs. How many different kinds of insects are there? Notice the difference in body parts. Is the head of a butterfly like the head of a beetle? What about mouthparts? Can all adult insects fly? Think of an insect that cannot fly. Do different insects have the same kind of wings?
There is great variety among insects. Some are as much as a foot long, some are small enough to live inside a leaf. Each insect is the right size and shape to do well in its unique lifestyle. Each species has at least one power that helps it to survive. The stick insect pretends to be a stick so that predators cannot find it. A praying mantis has long spiny forelegs to catch prey. A butterfly has a long curled up proboscis that it uncurls to sip nectar. Bees and wasps often have stingers to defend their young.
Activity: Invent your own insect. Remember to give it three body parts as described above. Don’t forget six legs. Also give your insect a special superpower so that it will lead a successful life. Make a drawing. On the top of the paper write the name of your new species. Describe its superpower and label the body parts. You also could make a model out of clay or other materials. If you wish, take a picture and send it to ONSC.
Today is Thursday, meaning it is time for Food for Thought! This week, a couple of our teacher-naturalists decided to participate in a cook-off using food that would otherwise be thrown away, as a reminder that we can help reduce global food waste by eating food that maybe isn't as “pretty” but is still perfectly-safe to eat!
Tomorrow, we will have two posts for you! One made by Ms. Sarah about invasive species, and our usual Find-out Friday as well! We love hearing from you!
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