Fascinating Animals

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Archive for the tag “insects”

Incy Wincy Spider – or Spider Woman

Little Miss Starwise stood by the train

Waiting for transport which soon came

There winched down beside her

a little black spider

which made Little Miss try to hide her

This is a little ditty that I wrote on Thursday 19 August 2015.  You may be able to tell the Story behind it.

I was waiting on the train platform to catch the train to work, when to my surprise, a beautiful small black spider winched her way down beside me on my right.  It was almost as though she ( why say “he” all the time ) was saying hello to me personally.  The thing is she landed on the concrete, much to my alarm, as there were many Homo sapiens species ( people ) standing restlessly around.  I tried sending a message telepathically to the spider, an image of being stepped on, which I imagined happening to me & it was not at all a pleasant thought.  She could have been Charlotte.

To my greater alarm, the train arrived, so I quickly moved protectively closer to her, to shelter her from giant feet.  Luckily, this little spider had her wits about her, and sensing vibrations on the ground, etc. she promptly began winching her way back along her beautiful thread, which was invisible to me, but must have still been anchoring her to her anchor point.  I was relieved until the girl standing a few centimeters from the spider on the other side to where I was standing, lumbered forward and I thought her crooked elbow or lurching steps may propel her into my spider friend.

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Gold Fly

austrian fly brooch

austrian fly brooch2

Here is my beautiful gold Austrian pin – Yes, it’s a Fly and she is all the way from Colorado, from an eBay seller,   oldsilverandgold.   This little Fly has a body of 14 carat yellow gold and wings of white gold, and red eyes.  It is a small fly, about 1/12 inch by 1/12 inch in size. She fastens in a kind of “floaty” way via the pronged spiral.  Call me daft if you like, but I am the same as David Attenborough, because both D.A. and I RESPECT all animals, quite different to saying that we love all animals.


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Trichogramma Wasp


Scientific Classification:   Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta,  Order Hymenoptera, family Trichogrammatidae, approx 650 Trichogramma spp.

Imagine if you were only about half a centimetre in size and had a life span of just 2 weeks.  You wouldn’t have time to complain about others or to feel angry or jealous of others.  The Trichogramma Wasp is just such a creature.  Adults are 1/50 inch or 0.18mm in dimension, and are a beautiful golden yellow in colour, or yelow and black, with bright red eyes, short antennae and compact bodies.

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Ode to the Grasshopper


Grasshoppers and Crickets

The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper. Locusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae, and are known to be pests sometimes. However, I wrote the poem below about the Grasshopper years ago, after I caught a baby grass-hopper in my Bug catcher, and then wanted to capture what I thought are the unique features of “the Grass-hopper.”

Around 18000 kinds of grasshoppers are known to humankind today and can be found across the globe, except the north and south pole regions, where the temperatures are extremely low. They are predominantly found in the temperate regions.  The biggest Grasshoppers are about 4.5 inches (11.5 centimetres) long. Their legs are long hind legs that are used for hopping and jumping. The short front legs are used to hold prey and to walk.

The grasshopper  has two large eyes called compound eyes, one on each side of its head.  They are composed of many hexagonal lenses, which may mean the insect perceives multiple pictures of the same image.   More likely, it means each lens picks up certain intensities or pixels of an image, and looking through all the lenses puts just one final image together.  The grasshopper has three simple eyes  located between its compound eyes. Simple eyes have only one facet. They can see the difference between light and dark only.  Compound eyes are a way of seeing more efficiently at the high velocities that some insects travel at.   The more lenses, the higher the resolution (or detail) of the image.

If you must know why an insect’s compound eyes are so large, please read this link   here  on “insect vision”, which I tried to do, but it made my head hurt (because it is rather technical).

A Grasshopper’s hearing organ is called the “tympanum” and is located on the abdomen.   The abdominal segments each have a tiny pin-hole called the spiracle, and together, the spiracles allow gas exchange.   Spiracles are tracheal openings in the exoskeleton of a spider (Arachnid) or insect, through which air is admitted and expelled.  They are equivalent to vertebrate lungs, and where human beings inhale oxygen through their noses, Grasshoppers inhale it through their spiracles!

Grasshopper Anatomy

Grasshopper Anatomy

Swarms of Locusts are sometimes confused with swarms of cicadas. Cicadas are actually from a different Order of Insects, being the Order Hemiptera.

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Beautiful Butterflies

A Queen Butterfly and a Monarch Butterfly feeding on a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) at the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Natural History Museum.

Date 4 April 2007
Photographer:  Ironman11

There are approximately 15,000 species of butterflies from the Class Insecta and the Order Lepidoptera (which also includes Moths).   The tropical belt holds the largest diversity of butterfly species, with South America having the richest amount.   Butterflies (and moths) are the only group of insects that have scales covering their wings, although some butterflies have reduced scales.  They differ from other insects also by their ability to coil up their proboscis.

A butterfly starts life as a very small, round, oval or cylindrical egg.   When the egg hatches, a caterpillar emerges and eats the leaf he/she was born onto.  Each caterpillar type likes only certain types of leaves.    When a caterpillar starts eating, it instantly starts growing and expanding.  The exoskeleton (skin) does not stretch or grow, so it grows by “molting” (shedding the outgrown skin) several times while it grows.   As soon as a caterpillar is fully grown, it forms itself into a pupa, also known as a chrysalis.   Inside the pupa, the caterpillar is rapidly changing.   A butterfly will emerge from the chrysalis, with the wings being soft and folded against its body, because the butterfly had to fit all of its parts inside of the pupa.

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