Welcome to Day 9 of the #30DaysWild Challenge with Essex Wildlife Trust!

We hope you enjoyed yesterday’s learnings about elderflower, today we would like to continue learning by focusing on the miniature beasts in the wild.

As always we would love to hear your wild stories or see your wild photographs, even if they are not task related, we will select some of these to feature in the wild stories section of this blog. You can send these to us via Facebook or email.

Today’s task is:

Hold a minibeast!

 

What is a mini beast?

A minibeast is another name for an insect. There are so many different types of minibeast and we do not claim to be experts so here are some fun facts about common minibeasts.

Some fun facts about mini beasts!

WORMS

  • Worms come in many shapes and sizes
  • Worms eat most rotting plants
  • Worms add air to the soil which is helpful for growing
  • Worms do not have any bones
  • Worms have lots of rings on their bodies known as segments.
  • Worms are covered in lots of little hairs that help the worm move on the ground.
  • Adult worms have a saddle, this is pink and fat. When the adult worm wants to have babies they bury this saddle underground for babies to hatch.

ANTS

  • Ants like to live in large groups, called colonies.
  • The queen ant lays all of the ant eggs.
  • Ants eat both plants and other insects
  • Flying ants only like to be out when it is warm and humid

WOODLICE

  • Woodlice are NOT insects! They are in fact Crustaceans.
  • Woodlice live in damp places.
  • Woodlice eat leaves, grass and rotten wood.
  • Woodlice curl into little balls when they feel threatened.

STAG BEETLE

  • The Stag Bettle is the largest British insect
  • Stag Beetles eat small insects
  • Stag Beetle larva live for 3-5 years but the adults only live from May-August.
  • Stag Beetles live mainly in rotten wood.

SPIDERS

  • Like woodlice, Spiders are not actually insects because they have 8 legs.
  • Spiders are arachnids.
  • Spiders eat flies and other small insects.
  • Spiders produce webs to catch their prey.

If you are feeling particularly brave why not learn the names of each of the different parts of a spider and add them to our spider diagram?

Spiders

LADYBIRDS

  • Ladybirds are brightly coloured to scare away predators.
  • Ladybirds mainly feed on whitefly and mealy bugs.
  • Ladybirds lay their eggs from late spring to early summer.
  • Larvae hatch from these eggs and begin eating aphids for a
    bout three weeks.
  • Pupa form on leaves once the larvae are finished eating, after two more weeks a ladybird appears out of it.
  • Adult ladybirds hibernate through winter.
  • Ladybirds discharge yellow, bitter, smelly liquid when they are disturbed.

EARWIGS

  • Earwigs have wings but they rarely use them.
  • Earwigs mainly eat plants, but they can eat other insects too.
  • Earwigs mainly come out in the nighttime and spend the day in dark crevices.
  • Female earwigs lay 20-30 eggs a time.
  • Earwigs are most likely to be seen from spring to autumn.

 

Help with identification:

Minibeasts Key

Extra Bits:

 

As a fun extra task here is a worksheet for you to draw your favourite minibeast with a section to describe the minibeast or tell a story with it.

My Favourite Minibeast

 

#STAYWILD

 

 

Today’s blog was written by S.Hellard, special thanks to TES for the use of their free resources used above.

Written by Scarlet