Minibeast Madness

Wednesday, May 23rd 2018

Wavell Junior School visited us again today to learn about land use, habitats, minibeasts and pond creatures.

A big thank you to Jenny and Elizabeth who helped out today, and to Ian (Humpleby) for leading the Risedale School pupils on their task to tidy up around the reserve.

Today I (Reserve Manager Ian) was leading the minibeast hunt at the Outdoor Classroom and Moorland where we busied ourselves with turning over logs, looking under leaves and shaking trees.

One of our most popular discoveries was this magnificent Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus vespillo).

One of our most easily recognised and widespread beetle; the Sexton, or Burying Beetle is an undertaker of the animal kingdom. Male and female Sexton beetles will pair up and defend dead animals before stripping the carcass of hair or feathers, digging underneath it and burying it

The female lays her eggs on the soil above the corpse, which is used as food by the larvae once they have hatched. Unlike most beetles, both the male and female Sexton beetle will care for the young after they have hatched.

All three groups also had a chance to catch things with the sweep nets and managed to find a number of frogs hunkered down in the long grass.

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