Even though their ickyness sends shivers through the spines of many a person, bugs are fascinating creatures...honest! Insects, spiders, and other creepy crawlies make up most of the animal life on earth.
Insects have been around for something like 350 million years. Many years before humans showed their faces. Humans appeared about 130,000 years ago.
With bugs being such a massive part of our world, you might as well learn more about them, and you never know, you might even grow to like them?
Alright, so you do not want to make friends with bugs. But you still might like to invite them to dinner – that is, if you are an adventurous eater! No being serious, there is a wealth of information at the click of a link here on NatureWatch. The BBC's Springwatch, and AutumnWatch sites are fantastic, as are the others, so get that mouse clicking and start learning.
You do not have to like insects to appreciate them. But now that you can see how interesting and beautiful they can be, you may not be so quick to squish the next bug you see. Instead, get that camera out and send us a photograph.
Send in your photographs of birds and butterflies too. In-fact, send in your pictures of all things to do with nature. Whatever it is, let us have it. We LOVE it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Life Cycle of a Dragonfly by Peter Berry

These insects have a very unique system of mating, involving secondary reproductive organs at the front of the male's abdomen.
At the end of the male abdomen area there is a pair of pincer like claws called claspers.
Before courtship, the male transfers sperm from the true reproductive opening at his hind end, to the secondary organs. Finding an agreeable female, he then grasps her by the neck or back of the head with his claspers. The insects can fly in this tandem position (see photo). They soon settle and then the female curves the tip of her abdomen round to collect the sperm from the male's secondary organ. This position is known as the "copulation wheel". When sperm transfer is complete, the insects may separate, but many species (Damselflies or the smaller Dragonflies) remain in the tandem position until the female has laid her eggs. These may be simply dropped into the water or washed off as the female dips her abdomen into it in flight. Some eggs are laid in silt, or placed in slits cut into plant stems.
The nymphs grow up in water. They eat a wide-range of aquatic creature, which they impale on an extension to their lower jaw - known as the mask.
When fully grown, the nymph crawls out of the water, usually climbing up a plant stem, and the adult soon emerges.
Empty skins are commonly found on the vegetatation beside ponds and streams in the summer.
Freshly emerged Dragonflies are very pale and are called Tenerals. The full colours do not develop for several days or even weeks, and it can take up to five years for the larger Dragonflies to complete their life cycle.
Amazing stuff. Dragonflies and Damselflies are beautiful insects. There are many types - but all are beautifully coloured - and present a lovely sight whilst walking beside most lakes, rivers and ponds in the warmer months.

No comments: