After an evening in the backyard, I realized it’s going to be a very buggy summer! So, today’s teaching activity is dedicated to Multiply on the Fly.
Insects have to adapt to their habitat just like you and me. We have clothes to wear when it’s cold outside, but insects don’t have that option so they are built with physical adaptations that make life in their habitat easier. Insects also have behaviors that make survival easier; these are both instinctual and learned from other insects. An example of a behavioral adaptation is butterfly migration to warmer climates in the winter, because they are not able to survive cold winters.
Here are ten statements about insects, watch the insects in your backyard and then circle whether you think the adaptation is physical (P) or behavioral (B):
1. P/B Fireflies produce light to find mates. If too many outside lights are on, they have trouble finding each other.
2. P/B To attract the ladies, grasshopper males create a mating call (some call a song). Long-horned grasshoppers and crickets rub their two wings together to make their beautiful sound, while other grasshopper species rub a wing against a leg.
3. P/B Different kinds of ladybugs have different numbers of black spots on their wings.
4. P/B Dragonflies have four oval-shaped wings. They can fly up to 35mph (56 kilometers per hour)! They can also hover in one place like a helicopter, or fly backwards.
5. P/B Imagine having five eyes like ants! They have two large compound eyes made of many lenses and three simple eyes. The simple eyes are on the forehead in a triangle.
6. P/B Honey bees do special dances to let each other know where to find food. If flowers are near, they move in a circle. If flowers are far, they do a figure eight.
7. P/B Walking stick body parts look exactly like small twigs. When hungry enemies are near, these insects stay perfectly still.
8. P/B To avoid the cold winters, this type of butterfly migrates. Some travel 3000 miles (4828 km) to find a warm place to stay during the cold winter.
9. P/B A spittlebug hides its eggs in bubbles.
10. P/B Luna moths use coloring to blend into leaves to hide.