Bees are flying insects found in every continent of the earth (except Antarctica), and in every habitat where there are insect-pollinated flowering plants. There are over 16,000 species of bees! Bees like honeybees and bumblebees live in colonies, in hives or nests. Many fruits and vegetables that humans eat are pollinated by bees. Even food eaten by cattle and other farm animals needs bees for pollination. So, when we are eating plants directly or meat from an animal that has had a diet of plants, we depend on bees for our food.

Why are bees important?

Health products

Not all bees produce honey, but it is one of the main reasons people value them. The substance is a natural sweetener with many potential health qualities.

People have used bees and bee-related products for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. ResearchersTrusted Source have noted claims that it has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.


In recent years, it has become clear that honey may not be the most important reason to protect bees. This is because bees play a crucial role in pollination, where they use the hairs on their bodies to carry large grains of pollen between plants.

Around 75% of crops produce better yields if animals help them pollinate. Of all animals, bees are the most dominant pollinators of wild and crop plants. They visit over 90% of the world’s top 107 crops.

Historical importance

People have been working with bees around the world for millennia. The significance comes from the direct harvesting of honey and beeswax and cultural beliefs.

For example, the Ancient Greeks thought of bees as a symbol of immortality. In the 19th century, beekeepers in New England would inform their bees of any major events in human society. Meanwhile, native northern Australians used beeswax when producing rock art.

Society and the environment

Bees are very intelligent, and people have applied knowledge of their mannerisms and social interactions when creating human initiatives.

For example, researchers have suggested that studying the actions of bees could help experts develop emergency plans to evacuate people from an overcrowded environment.

How does this affect humans?

Farming practices, global warming, and disease are just a few reasons why bee numbers are declining. Experts are concerned about the impact on world food supplies, especially fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

They say that without bees, there will be no more nuts, coffee, cocoa, tomatoes, apples, or almonds, to name a few crops. This could lead to nutritional deficiencies in the human diet, as these products are essential sources of vital nutrients.

Additionally, the emergingTrusted Source medicinal properties of bee venom and other bee products may never be accessible without bees to provide them.

Credit : Medical news today 

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Butterflies and moths are both part of a big group of insects that have wings covered in tiny dust-like scales. Butterflies are usually brightly coloured and they fly during the day. They have a thin, hairless body and a pair of antennae each with a small bulb at the end. Moths tend to be duller in colour so they are camouflaged when they rest during the day on trees and leaves. They have antennae and plump, hairy bodies. Butterflies tend to fold their wings vertically up over their backs. Moths tend to hold their wings in a tent-like fashion that hides the abdomen. Butterflies are typically larger and have more colorful patterns on their wings. Moths are typically smaller with drab-colored wings.  Reason we dislike moths is that they normally come out at night, whereas butterflies are active in the day. While we sleep, dozens of species of moths fly around, attracted to light and looking for mates.

1. Butterflies and moths are part of the same group of insects, known as ‘Lepidoptera’. To tell them apart, butterflies fly in bright sunshine, while moths are most active at night.

2. The lifecycle of a butterfly is in four stages: egg, caterpillar, pupa and adult butterfly.

3. Most butterflies don’t live very long. The Priam’s birdwing butterfly only lives for 10 days!

4. Butterflies have four wings, not two as you may think.

5. The wings of butterflies and moths, with their vibrant colours and patterns, are actually made up of tiny scales.

6. The largest butterfly in the world is the female Queen Alexandra’s birdwingwith a wingspan of over 25cm!

7. The smallest butterfly is the Western Blue Pigmy, which is only 2cm across.

8. Butterflies need heat to be able to move. When you see them resting in the sunshine, they are warming up their wings so they can fly.

9. Moths have a stronger sense of smell than butterflies.

10. Butterflies can see colours that humans can’t.

11. Moths navigate using the moon. This means they also are attracted to man-made lights, which cause them to get lost.

12. Butterflies taste with their feet!

Credit : Penguin.com 

Picture Credit : Google 


Dragonflies are large, fast-flying insects that can dart at speeds up to 60 km per hour. Their four wings move independently of one another and make a rattling sound. Dragonflies can also fly backwards.

1. Dragonflies Are Ancient Insects

Long before the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, dragonflies took to the air. Griffenflies (Meganisoptera), the gigantic precursors to modern dragonflies had wingspans of over two feet and dotted the skies during the Carboniferous period over 300 million years ago.

2. Dragonfly Nymphs Live In the Water

There's a good reason why you see dragonflies and damselflies around ponds and lakes: They're aquatic! Female dragonflies deposit their eggs on the water's surface, or in some cases, insert them into aquatic plants or moss. Once hatched, the nymph dragonfly spends its time hunting other aquatic invertebrates. Larger species even dine on the occasional small fish or tadpole. After molting somewhere between six and 15 times, a dragonfly nymph is finally ready for adulthood and crawls out of the water to shed its final immature skin.

3. Nymphs Breath Through Their Anus

The damselfly nymph actually breathes through gills inside its rectum. Likewise, the dragonfly nymph pulls water into its anus to facilitate gas exchange. When the nymph expels water, it propels itself forward, providing the added benefit of locomotion to its breathing.

4. Most New Dragonfly Adults Are Eaten

When a nymph is finally ready for adulthood, it crawls out of the water onto a rock or plant stem and molts one final time. This process takes several hours or days as the dragonfly expands to its full body capacity. These newly emerged dragonflies, known at this stage as teneral adults, are soft-bodied, pale, and highly vulnerable to predators. Until their bodies fully harden they are weak flyers, making them ripe for the picking. Birds and other predators consume a significant number of young dragonflies in the first few days after their emergence.

5. Dragonflies Have Excellent Vision

Relative to other insects, dragonflies have extraordinarily keen vision that helps them detect the movement of other flying critters and avoid in-flight collisions. Thanks to two huge compound eyes, the dragonfly has nearly 360° vision and can see a wider spectrum of colors than humans. Each compound eye contains 28,000 lenses or ommatidia and a dragonfly uses about 80% of its brain to process all of the visual information it receives.

6. Dragonflies Are Masters of Flight

Dragonflies are able to move each of their four wings independently. They can flap each wing up and down, and rotate their wings forward and back on an axis. Dragonflies can move straight up or down, fly backward, stop and hover, and make hairpin turns—at full speed or in slow motion. A dragonfly can fly forward at a speed of 100 body lengths per second (up to 30 miles per hour).

7. Male Dragonflies Fight for Territory

Competition for females is fierce, leading male dragonflies to aggressively fend off other suitors. In some species, males claim and defend a territory against intrusion from other males. Skimmers, clubtails, and petaltails scout out prime egg-laying locations around ponds. Should a challenger fly into his chosen habitat, the defending male will do all he can to chase away the competition. Other kinds of dragonflies don't defend specific territories but still behave aggressively toward other males that cross their flight paths or dare to approach their perches.

8. Male Dragonflies Have Multiple Sex Organs

In nearly all insects, the male sex organs are located at the tip of the abdomen. Not so in male dragonflies. Their copulatory organs are on the underside of the abdomen, up around the second and third segments. Dragonfly sperm, however, is stored in an opening of the ninth abdominal segment. Before mating, the dragonfly has to fold his abdomen in order to transfer his sperm to his penis.

9. Some Dragonflies Migrate

A number of dragonfly species are known to migrate, either singly or en masse. As with other migratory species, dragonflies relocate to follow or find needed resources or in response to environmental changes such as impending cold weather. Green darners, for example, fly south each fall in sizeable swarms and then migrate north again in the spring. Forced to follow the rains that replenish their breeding sites, the globe skimmer—one of several species that's known to spawn in temporary freshwater pools—set a new insect world record when a biologist documented its 11,000 mile trip between India and Africa.

10. Dragonflies Thermoregulate Their Bodies

Like all insects, dragonflies are technically ectotherms ("cold-blooded"), but that doesn't mean they're at the mercy of Mother Nature to keep them warm or cool. Dragonflies that patrol (those that habitually fly back and forth) employ a rapid whirring movement of their wings to raise their body temperatures. Perching dragonflies, on the other hand, who rely on solar energy for warmth, skillfully position their bodies to maximize the surface area exposed to sunlight. Some species even use their wings as reflectors, tilting them to direct the solar radiation toward their bodies. Conversely, during hot spells, some dragonflies strategically position themselves to minimize sun exposure, using their wings to deflect sunlight.

Credit : Thought co ?

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Insects are small animals with no bones. An insect's body is protected by a hard outer covering called an exoskeleton. The body has three segments: head, thorax and abdomen. The head has eyes - which can have six to 30,000 lenses - and a pair of antennae to feel, taste and smell things. The thorax has wings and legs. The abdomen includes systems for digesting food.

The insects have proved to be the most successful arthropods. There are far more species in the class Insecta than in any other group of animals. These amazingly diverse animals have conquered all the environments on earth except for the frozen polar environments at the highest altitudes and in the immediate vicinity of active volcanoes.

Insects are the only invertebrates (animals without backbones) with wings. Much of their success results from their ability to fly and colonise new habitats. The study of insects is called entomology and entomologists are scientists who study insects.

Insects play a very important role in the web of life, in every environment. Some of their jobs include pollinating flowering plants, being a source of food for insectivorous animals and assisting in the decomposition of plants and animals.

Insect classification

Modern insect classification divides the Insecta into 29 orders, many of which have common names. Some of the more common orders are:

Mantodea - praying mantids
Blattodea - cockroaches
Isoptera - termites
Siphonaptera - fleas
Odonata - dragonflies and damselflies
Dermaptera - earwigs
Diptera - flies
Lepidoptera - butterflies and moths
Orthoptera - grasshoppers, katydids, crickets
Coleoptera - beetles
Hymenoptera - wasps, bees, ants, sawflies

Insect features

The insect body is divided into three main parts, the head, thorax and abdomen.
Insects have no internal skeleton, instead they are covered in an external shell (exoskeleton) that protects their soft internal organs.
No insect has more than three pairs of legs, except for some immature forms such as caterpillars that have prolegs. These are appendages that serve the purpose of legs.
The typical insect mouth has a pair of lower jaws (maxillae) and upper jaws (mandibles) which are designed to bite. There are many variations to this structure, as many moths and butterflies have tubular sucking mouthparts, many bugs and other blood-sucking insects have sucking stabbing mouthparts and some adult insects simply don't have functional mouthparts.
Insects have one pair of antennae located on the head
Most insects have one or two pairs of wings although some insects such as lice, fleas, bristletails and silverfish are completely wingless.

Credit : Australian.museum

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A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that “insects contain values of between 9.96 and 35.2 grams of protein per 100 grams, compared with 16.8-20.6 grams for meat”. However, protein density does vary widely depending on which kinds of bugs are being consumed. With over 2,100 types of edible insects to choose from, the options are endless. Crickets, certain ant species, and mealworms are the rising stars of the bug protein movement, due mostly to their calorie and protein density.

Eating insects is a great alternative for those who are concerned with decreasing their environmental footprint. On average, the resources it takes to raise and produce bugs is significantly less than animal-based meat. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, “crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein”. They also produce significantly less greenhouse gasses than animals and it takes less land to raise them.

As the human population increases and as we continue to observe the impacts of climate change, swapping your beef burger for a cricket-based burger might be one more way individuals can contribute to a more sustainable planet. 

Credit : Runtastic 

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Which are some unique friendships forged between unusual species for benefits?

Oral care experts under the ocean

'Cleaner' fish are much in demand among bigger fish. The cleaner fish are allowed to enter in through the mouth and eat up bacteria and other parasites, thus getting a meal and giving their clients a healthier mouth. However, the fish are known to engage in wrongful actions sometimes they eat mucus or scales, causing a jolt of pain to the client. The client, in return, chases the cleaner fish fiercely, giving the message! Apart from the fact that cleaner fish are too small to make a meal out of, the bigger fish face difficulty finding one. So, usually once trust has been established, the two are inseparable.

A relationship that's spot on!

Tarantulas are scary as it is - the Colombian Lesserblack Tarantula is huge, formidable and capable of eating small creatures! Yet, these mighty tarantulas spare spotted frogs. Maybe they don't taste good, but there's another reason for this special act of kindness. As mighty as they are, these tarantulas still need to protect their eggs from ants. And it turns out that spotted frogs are pretty nifty when it comes to eating up these ants, so living together offers great perks for both.

An assistant for pistol shrimp

The pistol shrimp has one mean weapon that makes other creatures jealous - rapid snapping claws! The shrimp snap their claws so rapidly that a jet of water shoots out in that direction. Despite having this weapon, nature has been cruel enough to give the shrimp lousy eyesight. That's where the goby comes into the picture. Like a guide dog leading its blind owner, the goby lets the shrimp's antennae hang onto its tail fins while it leads the way. In return, the goby gets free accommodation in the shrimp's tunnel, so all's well.

All for a sweet tooth

Meat ants have a mean reputation they're known to be violent towards other meat ants from a different territory as well as other species. Kicking, biting and spraying foul chemicals are some of their classic defence mechanisms. Yet, like everyone else, they have their weakness - a sweet tooth. What do they do to satisfy their need for sugar? They warmly welcome certain caterpillar species to their abode for the sake of the sugary fluid that the meat ants adore. In return, they even carry the caterpillars to places where plants grow so that they can feed. Talk about royal treatment!

Polar bears and arctic foxes

In the snow-filled Arctic world, finding friends and food isn't easy. So when Arctic foxes willingly join polar bears to hunt for prey, the bears don't really complain. As far as they know, the foxes don't cause any major inconvenience and the bears let them eat the scraps. The foxes are glad to get what would normally be difficult to, if they hunted by themselves.

Let's fish together

Last but not the least, dolphins work alongside fishermen! Believe it or not, without any kind of training, dolphins round up fish and alert fishermen when to throw their nets. What do they get in return? Fish that escape the net swim right into their mouths! How much better can it get? Turns out that dolphins interested in helping humans. hang out together in groups.

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What insects have the shortest lifespan?

The housefly is one of the short-lived insects. The males have a lifespan of 28 days. But the little fly is dangerous to humans it can transmit at least 60 different diseases including cholera and dysentery.

About 90 percent of all flies occurring in human habitations are houseflies. Once a major nuisance and hazard to public health in cities, houseflies are still a problem wherever decomposing organic waste and garbage are allowed to accumulate. The adult housefly is dull gray with dirty-yellowish areas on the abdomen and longitudinal lines on the thorax. Body size ranges from about 5 to 7 mm (0.2 to 0.3 inch), and the conspicuous compound eyes have approximately 4,000 facets. Because it has sponging or lapping mouthparts, the housefly cannot bite; a near relative, the stable fly, however, does bite. The housefly can walk on vertical window panes or hang upside down on a ceiling probably because of the surface-tension properties of a secretion produced by tiny glandular pads (pulvilli) beneath each claw on the feet. The female deposits more than 100 slender whitish eggs (0.8 to 1 mm long) at a time, producing between about 600 and 1,000 eggs in her life. These eggs hatch in 12 to 24 hours. After several molts the dirty-whitish maggots (larvae), about 12 mm long, transform into pupae. The adults, when developed, expand a pouch (ptilinum) on the head and break off the end of the puparium to emerge.

Houseflies may carry on their feet millions of microorganisms that, in large enough doses, can cause disease. Garbage, manure, and similar wastes that cannot be made inaccessible to flies can be treated with larvicidal drenches or dusts. Residual insecticidal sprays are effective against flies for several weeks; however, some houseflies have developed resistance to certain insecticides, such as DDT.

Credit :  Britannica 

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Ancient Roundworms Allegedly Resurrected From Russian Permafrost

In 2018, when Russia defrosted some prehistoric worms for analysis, two came to life. Collected from the permafrost in the Arctic, the two were among 300 defrosted. After thawing out, the worms started moving and eating. One is said to be 32,000 years old, and the other, 41,700 years old.

Robin M. Giblin-Davis, a nematologist and acting director of the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, tells Gizmodo’s Ed Cara that the feat is theoretically possible. He said the worms, if “protected from physical damage that would compromise their structural integrity during their frozen internment, … should be able to revive upon thawing/rehydration,” but cautions that the team’s “ancient samples” could have been contaminated by contemporary organisms.

Although the Russian scientists acknowledge the possibility of such contamination, they believe it is unlikely. The team followed procedures designed to ensure complete sterility, according to the study, and claims that the depth at which the nematodes were buried—100 feet and 15 feet below the surface—eliminates the possibility of inclusion of modern organisms. As Science Alert’s Mike McRae explains, nematodes generally don’t burrow deep into the Siberian permafrost, as seasonal thawing only reaches a depth of about three feet.

This isn’t the first time researchers have purportedly resurrected long-dead organisms; in 2000, a team claimed to have revived 250 million-year-old bacteria, though this extraordinary claim requires more evidence before the scientific community will wholeheartedly accept it. Still, the new announcement, which centers on multicellular organisms rather than single-celled bacteria, marks a significant milestone for scientists. McRae reports that nematodes have previously been revived after 39 years of dormancy, while their close relatives, the tardigrade (or water bear), have been successfully revived after roughly 30 years on ice.

Byron J. Adams, a nematologist at Brigham Young University, tells Gizmodo’s Cara that the researchers’ claims are feasible, but he believes that further testing should be conducted to definitively assess the worms’ age. He is particularly interested in what the ancient worms might reveal about their species’ evolution, noting that “after 40 thousand years, we should expect to detect significant differences in evolutionary divergence between ancient and contemporary populations.”

If proven true, the new findings offer tangible hope for the resurrection of similarly ancient organisms. The return of the woolly mammoth may remain far in the future, but in the meantime, we have two 40,000-year-old roundworms to spark our dreams of a Pleistocene revival.

Credit : Smithsonian 

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Do lobsters have teeth in their stomach?

Yes, lobsters have teeth in their stomach. These teeth are part of a system called the gastric mill. Did you know lobsters have two stomachs? One is located behind their eyes. This stomach has teeth-like features to crush food. Once the food is crushed, it goes to the other stomach located in the abdomen.

Lobsters “smell” their food by using the four small antennules on the front of their heads and tiny sensing hairs that cover their bodies.

A lobster will use its crusher claw to break open shellfish and its ripper claw to tear food apart. The two sets of walking legs (or pereiopods) immediately behind the claws are also used for catching and eating food and have many “taste” sensors. They are used to move food into the mouthparts or maxillipeds. The teeth of the lobster are in its stomach. The stomach is located a very short distance from the mouth, and the food is actually chewed in the stomach between three grinding surfaces, called the gastric mill, that look like molar surfaces.

Credit : University of Maine 

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Crikey! Snail named after Steve Irwin

Yes, there is a rare species of tree snail named after the late Steve Irwin, a famous Australian wildlife enthusiast. Called Crikey steveinvini, the tree snail was discovered in 2009 in Queensland. The scientists named it in his honour, as its shell was khaki in colour, like the signature outfit of Irwin.

The snail was found in the mountainous regions of north Queensland's wet tropics, near Cairns.

"This is an extremely rare species of snail," Dr Stanisic said.

"So far it has only been found in three locations, all on the summits of high mountains in far north Queensland and at altitudes above 1,000 metres, which is quite unusual for Australian land snails.

"These mountainous habitats will be among the first to feel the effects of climate change and Steve Irwin's tree snail could become a focal species for monitoring this change."

The scientist described crikey steveirwini as "a colourful snail, with swirling bands of creamy yellow, orange-brown and chocolate giving the shell an overall khaki appearance".

"It was the khaki colour that immediately drew the connection to the late Crocodile Hunter," Dr Stanisic said.

Terri Irwin says her husband would have been delighted to have a new species bear his name and signature catch-cry.

"Steve worked tirelessly to promote conservation, wildlife and the environment and his work enabled the plight of endangered species to reach a whole new audience," Ms Irwin said.

"Steve also had a long history of collaborating with staff at the Queensland Museum and I'm sure he would be pleased to know his name is continuing to highlight a rare and endangered Queensland species."

Credit :  ABC News 

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New tarantula species named after singer Johnny Cash

Did you know a black tarantula has been named after legendary American singer, songwriter and actor Johnny Cash? Scientifically called "Aphonopelma johnnycashi", this tarantula was discovered in 2015 near Folsom Prison, California. It was named after Cash in honour of his song Folsom Prison Blues."

The spider doesn't sing, but it's black and can be found near the California prison that was the setting of Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."

The researchers also collapsed the number of U.S. species from 55 to 29, including Aphonopelma johnnycashi and Aphonopelma atomicum—named, with a wink to "Tarantula" and other sci-fi B movies, because it was collected near the atom bomb test site in Nevada.

"This is unequivocally the most important work on tarantulas ever done. It sets an incredibly high standard for taxonomy which few will be able to attain," Robert Raven of Australia's Queensland Museum wrote in an email after reading the paper.

The 340-page study by biologists Chris Hamilton and Jason Bond of Auburn University and Brent Hendrixson of Millsaps College "will be referenced for many many years," Raven said.

Credit : phy.org 

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What effect do glaciers have on insect’s life?

One of the most obvious impacts of global warming has been melting glaciers. When we speak of glaciers melting, we invariably discuss how it could increase sea-levels or wipe off habitats, negatively affecting humans and large mammals such as polar bears. But the melting affects even tiny creatures such as insects.

The Rocky Mountains, spanning the U.S. and Canada, is home to the western glacier stonefly and the meltwater lednian stonefly.

Their habitat is the streams that flow from melting glaciers and snowfields of the region. But all is not well. Their habitats are shrinking, and their numbers, declining. Scientists say that by 2030, these insects are likely to lose about 80% of their habitat in Glacier National Park in the Rocky Mountains. These are rare insects and they "require several thousand acres of glaciers and snowfields if they are to survive a warming world that's threatening them with extinction. The threat to these stoneflies is an indication of how climate change affects mountaintop wildlife, many of which are still being explored. The case of these stoneflies, listed as threatened species in 2019, is of particular concern because they are mostly found in steep. remote areas that are hard to reach" Hearteningly, a "new draft recovery plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggests the possible transplant of some of the insects to new areas, exploring ways to artificially propagate populations and research into the stoneflies heat tolerance.

These are just two insect varieties, and why is there so much fuss over losing them to extinction? No matter what their size is or which part of the world they are in, insects have an impact on their surroundings. Just like all other creatures, they have unique ecological functions, and their absence gradually affects the plants, animals and even the humans around them. And the impact caused by the absence of these two rare insects will be no different.

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Why is the monarch butterfly so popular?

More than beautiful, monarch butterflies contribute to the health of our planet. While feeding on nectar, they pollinate many types of wildflowers. The flowers they chose are varieties that are brightly colored, grow in clusters, stay open during the day, and have flat surfaces that serve as landing pads for their tiny guests. Monarch butterflies are also an important food source for birds, small animals, and other insects.

The vivid markings of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) serves as a “skull and crossbones” warning, signaling “Poison!” to the butterfly’s predators. Female monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of poisonous milkweed leaves. As the caterpillar hatches, it eats its own egg; then switches to a diet of milkweed leaves. The milkweeds’ toxins remain permanently in the monarch’s system, even after the caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly. Animals that eat a monarch become very sick and, thereafter, will avoid this distinctively patterned butterfly.

Monarch butterflies live mainly in prairies, meadows, grasslands and along roadsides, across most of North America. The adult butterfly drinks nectar from a variety of flowers, uncoiling and extending its long proboscis to sip food. When not in use, this flexible “tongue” coils back into a spiral.

Most monarchs will live only a few weeks, but the generation that emerges in late summer and early fall is different. These butterflies are born to travel and may live for eight or nine months to accomplish their lengthy migration. Scientists think the monarchs use the position of the sun and the changing weather to know when it’s time for their long journey.

Credit : National Park Service

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What kind of animal is a dragonfly?

Dragonfly, (suborder Anisoptera), also called darner, devil’s arrow, or devil’s darning needle, any of a group of roughly 3,000 species of aerial predatory insects most commonly found near freshwater habitats throughout most of the world. Damselflies (suborder Zygoptera) are sometimes also called dragonflies in that both are odonates (order Odonata).

Young dragonflies, called larvae or sometimes nymphs or naiads, are aquatic and are as dedicated predators under water as the adults are in the air. The functionally wingless larvae are usually mottled or dull in colour, matching the sediments or water plants among which they live. They have bulging eyes somewhat similar to the adults, but possess a formidable anatomical structure not present in the adult. Called the “mask,” it is a fusion of the larva’s third pair of mouthparts. Disproportionately large, the mask folds beneath both the head and thorax when it is not in use. At the end of the mask is a set of fanglike pincers used to seize prey such as worms, crustaceans, tadpoles, and small fish. Different species of dragonfly larvae can be described as sprawlers, burrowers, hiders, or claspers. Their shape, metabolism, and respiration differ concordantly with the microhabitat they occupy.

Larvae crawl from eggs laid in or near water. Some species lay their eggs inside plant tissue, others attach their eggs to substrates at or above the water’s surface, and some may drop or wash their eggs from their abdomen onto water. Larvae absorb oxygen from the water using gills inside the rectum. The abdomen draws water in and pumps it out again through the anus. Water can be forcibly expelled in this way, resulting in jet propulsion as a means of escape. Solid waste is also expelled in this manner. As the larva grows, it molts, its future wings first becoming apparent about halfway through the larva’s development. These wing sheaths then enlarge rapidly with each successive molt. Eventually, the larva crawls out of the water (often at night) and molts one last time, emerging as an adult and leaving behind a cast skin (exuvia).

Many dragonfly families have descriptive common names associated with their scientific names. Examples include the hawkers (Aeshnidae), petaltails (Petaluridae), and clubtails (Gomphidae). Numerous other names related to neither taxonomy nor fact have traditionally been applied to dragonflies, such as horse stinger. Dragonflies have also been known as “snake doctors” in the American South, owing to the superstition that they nurse ill snakes back to health. The term devil’s darning needle is derived from a superstition that dragonflies may sew up the eyes, ears, or mouth of a sleeping child, especially one who has misbehaved. In reality, dragonflies present no danger to humans.

Credit : Britannica 

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Is it a butterfly or a moth?

Both butterflies and moths are winged insects. And, at a glance, they do seem similar. However, with just a bit of observation you can tell one from the other. How?

One of the easiest t ways to tell a butterfly from a moth is from the way they rest. Butterflies tend to fold their wings vertically up over their backs, while moths hold their wings flat in a tent-like fashion that hides the abdomen. While at rest, you can also see how their bodies and antennae are. Butterflies are slender and smooth, while moths are stout and fuzzy. Butterfly antennae are thin with club-shaped tips as against the feathery or comb-like antennae of moths. Also, normally butterflies come in vibrant colours and moths in dull colours. Another difference between them has to do with their wings. Butterfly wings are not linked, but the forewings and hindwings of moths are connected by a bristle-like structure called the frenulum. Butterflies are diumal, meaning they fly in the daytime, and moths are nocturnal, flying at night.

Another difference between butterflies and moths has to do with their pupal stage between the larva stage and the adult stage- rather than their physical structure. Butterflies form a chrysalis that's hard, smooth, and silkless, while moths create cocoons spun from silk.

However, all the above do not mean there are no exceptions because there are dull-coloured butterfly varieties and extremely colourful moth varieties too. There are butterflies resting with their wings held flat and moths that rest with wings held up. There are crepuscular butterflies that fly at dawn and dusk, and diumal moths. The list goes on....

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