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(Green Ajah Nature Week) Favorite Insects and Fun Facts


Dar'Jen Ab Owain
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(Green Ajah Nature Week) Favorite Insects and Fun Facts

 

For so many folks, insects are creepy. And some can sure seem that way initially. I have my own culprits in the insect world. However, nature would not be what it is if not for the kingdom of insects.

 

There are so many different kinds. Some with wings. Some with multiple legs. Many serve a beneficial purpose. Others are simply fascinating to watch.

 

“Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes and one pair of antennae. They are the most diverse group of animals on the planet, including more than a million described species and representing more than half of all known living organisms.[2][3] The number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million,[2][4][5] and potentially represent over 90% of the differing animal life forms on Earth.[6] Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species reside in the oceans, a habitat dominated by another arthropod group, crustaceans.” –Wikipedia-

 

One of my favorite insects is the firefly. For me, growing up, they were a sign of summer, and it has always been fun to watch them light up the night.

 

firefly-pics2.jpg

 

Feel free to check out this article to learn more about these fascinating insects: FIREFLY ARTICLE

 

So, what are your favorite insects? I am going to try to keep a running poll, and provide some fun facts about your favorites.

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Lady Bugs!!!

 

Facts:

 

Technically they are Lady beetles not bugs.

 

They aren't all red with black spots, though that may be the most common way to imagine a ladybug, it's not what all species of ladybugs look like. There are about 5,000 species of ladybugs in the world, National Geographic reports, including 500 in the United States. They also can be yellow, orange, brown, pink or even all black, and their spots — which some ladybugs don't have at all — can look more like stripes.

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I've never seen a firefly.

 

My favorite bug...........a dead one.

 

I woke up at two a.m to urinate the other day, and was so appalled at how many spiders were scurrying about my basement, (where I sleep). I spent the next two hours serving them an eviction notice.

 

Can't say I have a favorite, I'll think on it some.

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I am liking the insects you are all mentioning.

 

LZM, I understand about the spiders. I am not a fan at all. But I am sure that there must be some creature considered an insect which you find fascinating.

 

Praying_mantis_india.jpg

The Praying Mantis is aptly named with regards to its positioning. There are about 1,800 species of praying mantids around the world. They can turn their heads 180 degrees and their front legs have rows of sharp spines to help them hold on to their prey. I can see them floating with you as a child. Did anyone manage to get a photo?

 

220px-Fesoj_-_Papilio_machaon_%28by%29.j

Butterfly fossils date to the Paleocene, which was about 56 million years ago. Butterflies are distributed worldwide except Antarctica, totaling some 18,500 species. Is there a particular butterfly you like the best?

 

220px-Coccinella_magnifica01.jpg

Ladybugs certainly are distinctive. They are like fireflies, in that they are both bettles. A common myth, totally unfounded, is that the number of spots on the insect's back indicates its age.

 

220px-Phyllophaga_spPCCP20040419-4076A2.

Phyllophaga is a very large genus (more than 260 species) of New World scarab beetles in the subfamily Melolonthinae. Common names for this genus and many other related genera in the subfamily Melolonthinae are May beetles, June bugs, and June beetles. Interestingly, another bettle.

 

What other insects strike your fancy?

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I don't know about "strikes my fancy," but there's an insect I definitely know too well.

 

IRFA-stinger.jpg

THIS flaming little demonspawn is the red imported fire ant. It's an invasive species that has, over the recent years, taken over swaths of the continental United States, as well as China, Taiwan, and now Australia. They have a vicious sting that injects target sites with Solenopsin, which is a fun and very painful alkaloid venom that's also a neuromuscular paralyzer. They have diets from select crops to small lizards, all the way up to documented instances of swarming to consume entire calves. About the only native species in the United States that can help wean the miniature Shadowspawn down is the Venus flytrap, which – though mindbogglingly cool – is so selective in its biome requirements that it doesn't really grow much outside of wetlands in the Carolinas.

 

Young-James once tried planting an entire row of Venus flytraps in the garden, on account of having stepped in an entire mound and having his leg covered in this type of thing (DO NOT click on if squeamish). Sadly, the clime surrounding the Todd household was not conducive for growing the army of unstoppable botanical belligerents, and Young-James resolved to play mostly indoors.

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We are looking at favorite and infamous insects it would seem. Be my guest.

 

I'm finding it interesting that beetles (obviously depending on the species) are among the most adored and loathed of the insects.

 

I definitely like dragonflies. Partially because of the name. Their prehistoric ancestors had wingspans of up to 30 inches. Today there habitats are threatened as wetlands decrease.

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I don't like insects lol even dragonflies or butterflies, which are supposed to be pretty lol

 

fun fact about dragonflies:

 

Dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve, some 300 million years ago. Modern dragonflies have wingspans of only two to five inches, but fossil dragonflies have been found with wingspans of up to two feet.

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I am studying insects as part of a postgraduate ("graduate" in American), so I pretty much like or appreciate them all and arthropods in general. Only exception are the ones that bite me for food like mosquitoes and midges (I don't mind the ones that bite or sting in self-defense). My faculty mentor likes to say that if you classified the periods on earth in terms of the dominant lifeform in terms of biomass and species (excluding single cell organisms), you would have the age of the trilobites, the age of the dinosaurs, then the age of the insects. I used to not really concern myself too much about insects until I started studying entomology - now I find them some of the most fascinating and beautiful things in the world. They aren't quite insects, but I am particularly fond of harvestmen (opilionids). 

 

harvestman01.jpg

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WildTaltos, it would seem you would be the expert in this category, so feel free to share any interesting tidbits you know about the insects being discussed.

 

I have grown to appreciate bees. I was afraid of them when I was little, and have been stung by them before, which was not a pleasant experience, but I have come to understand their importance to agriculture as a pollinator. Many plants owe their ability to thrive to the efforts of bees. And honey bees do make, well, honey. Yum.

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That Orchid Mantis is beautiful.

 

(Shudders at the thought of bed bugs.) Please don't mentioned those. If you have never had to endure the plague they are, you are blessed.

 

Though the one tidbit I will give is this. Have you ever heard the phrase: "Sleep Tight. Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite." Well, there is the mention of those vile creatures. But they rest of it is in reference to old style beds in which the mattress used to be stuffed with straw, and other materials if you were lucky enough, which would often have to be beaten to "re-fluff" them, and to beat out the bugs dwelling in them, and the "sleep tight" was in reference to the ropes that would be used to support the mattress and every so often the ropes would have to be tightened to remove sagging and make the support more taut.

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