Friday, September 23, 2011

Cool but Clunky

THE children have discovered in our garden what they have dubbed "the coolest bug ever". It's a wheel bug. He caught our attention noisily flying around our back patio and we transferred him to a bug box with a magnifying lid to examine in closer detail. These creatures are often called "assassins of the insect world" thanks to their chosen method of feeding, which involves using their long beak to pierce soft-bodied insects like caterpillars with dissolving enzymes, then sucking out their insides. How charming. Sometimes the females even feed on the male after mating. The cannibalism was not a trait I shared in detail with the children, but we did observe that it moves very slowly and jerkily and has of course that huge and strange "bumpy hump" on its back. Big, clunky, and indeed pretty cool. 

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