Insect Invasion: Beetles
Beetles are a group of insects that form the order Coleoptera. With about 400,000 species, the largest of all orders, constituting almost 40% of described insects and 25% of all known animal lifeforms.
In fact, the common name beetle comes from the Old English word bitela, meaning little biter. Coleoptera, the taxonomic order name, is from Aristotle's Ancient Greek coleopteros, meaning shield-like forewings, from koleos, sheath, and pteron, wing. Those two qualities define what makes a beetle a beetle.
Beetles are designed to chew, from the herbivorous wood and plant eaters to the carnivorous beetles that eat other insects, their mouthparts include mandibulate mouthparts.
Some beetles are considered pests as they eat crops and destroy wooden structures. However some are very beneficial. The Ladybug and it's larvae feed on crop destoying aphids.
This Air Potato Beetle, captured in the Bug Tongs, is beneficial at keeping invasive species like the Air Potato Vine from over populating. Below is the evidence the beetle has been busy crunching and munching it's way through the leaves.
Beetles are like all insects, they have a head, thorax, and abdomen, and six legs. Their bodies tend to be very solid and tough. Their front pair of wings are hardened called elytra, distinguishing them from most other insects. Underneath the elytra are the wings. All beetles are able to fly.
Although beetles cannot see very well, so they communicate using scents and chemicals called pheromones, sounds or vibrations. They also depend on camouflage. Most beetles are brown or black but the Buprestidae is a family of beetles known as jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring beetles because of their glossy iridescent colors. Iridescence can work as a form of camouflage. The family is among the largest of the beetles with some 15,500 species.
In a recent study birds were three times less likely to find the iridescent bait. Humans had trouble as well; people were up to six times less likely to find them and the glossier the leaves, the harder the task.
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Thank you for reading this Science Lesson Blog written by certified educator of Philanthrolab Science Shop Ms. Stacey The Science Lady. With over 12 years of teaching experience and creative Science curriculum development, her mission is to inspire children to have a love of Science. She is the owner of Philanthrolab Science Shop. An online shop of 50+ Fun & Affordable Science Toys - ALL $10 or LESS! Featuring The At Home Play Pak, Satchel of Science, and The DIY Sci Kit!
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