All Shapes and Sizes

Wednesday, July 26th 2017

With the heavy rain this morning we were pleased to have the Mini Beast Marvel event in the afternoon. This event linked in well with the morning moth trapping with Elephant Hawk moths …

...and Light Arches for the young bug hunters to see.

 The moth trap also tends to get a few flying insects in the trap, and no stranger to it is this Sexton Beetle, one of the burying beetles.

We were able to use the digital microscope to show folk this rather smelly specimen on the big activity room projector. This beetle lays its eggs on carrion; such as mice, frogs, or any other dead animals where the beetle grubs consume the rotting flesh. The beetle burrows underneath this dead animal excavating soil to bury the carcass. As you can see from the pic above the beetle is carrying Gamasid mites, in this case about 40. These fast flightless mites use the flying beetle as a taxi to get from one carcase to another, in doing so they eat the fly maggots also infesting the carcass. This is a symbiotic relationship due to the mites eliminating the beetle grub competition and apparently does not harm the beetle.

The group hunted for various mini beasts at the outdoor classroom, looking under logs...

... and in the bushes

before returning to the Field Centre for various bug crafts like making bees-on-a-stick

and pipe cleaner dragonflies

 

before proudly showing us all their hard work.


 


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