Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Birds and Bugs

Today was one learning experience after another for me. First, my mom came over for a visit. While she was here, we went in the back yard to look at our garden. She noticed that we had some pests that had munched on some of the leaves on our veggie plants. I expressed my concerns over using traditional, chemical pesticide....primary concern being that the kids are very involved in the garden. I'd rather let the bugs eat it all then expose my kiddos to harmful chemicals. She suggested a kid friendly alternative...a bit of dish soap and water in a spray bottle. We made up a batch and the 3 year old was more than eager to go try it out. I certainly hope it works.

Then, a friend stopped over to drop off a book for me to read. She also brought me iced coffee...yum! Her hubby noticed some of the birds in our front yard. One that he noticed was a Robin. He asked if we had a Robin's nest in one of our trees. I really didn't know if we did or not. I certainly hadn't noticed one. The reason he asked was because of one of the birds that he saw. It was a Robin whose underside was spotted in a blotchy sort of way. He pointed the bird out to me and explained that this was the markings of a young Robin. I had noticed birds like that before but never knew anything about it. I was happy that he had pointed it out.

Finally, one of our caterpillars spun his chrysalis today. Our family is fascinated by this. I watched it with my students when I was teaching but watching it with my family is really fun! Or curiosity was peaked, so we did some research. I learned that there are a number of "bugs" that have a pupa stage. From Wikipedia:

Holometabolism, also called complete metamorphism, is a term applied to insect groups to describe the specific kind of insect development which includes four life stages - as an embryo, a larva, a pupa and an imago. For example, in the life cycle of a butterfly, the embryo grows within the egg, hatching into the larval stage caterpillar, before entering the pupal stage within its chrysalis and finally emerging as an adult butterfly imago.
The superorder Endopterygota groups holometabolic insects. Orders in the superorder are :
Coleoptera - Beetles
Diptera - Flies
Hymenoptera - Ants, bees, sawflies and wasps
Lepidoptera - Butterflies and moths
Mecoptera - Scorpionflies
Megaloptera - Alderflies, dobsonflies and fishflies
Miomoptera (extinct)
Neuroptera - Lacewings, antlions, etc.
Protodiptera (extinct)
Raphidioptera - Snakeflies
Siphonaptera - Fleas
Strepsiptera - Twisted-winged parasites
Trichoptera - Caddisflies

I was shocked by some of these...especially fleas. Pretty interesting.

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