Ants go through complete metamorphosis, passing through four stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult). Like honeybees, there are queens, female workers and male drones in an ant colony. The female worker ants have a series of “jobs” that they perform in a certain order. A young worker spends the first few days of its life caring for the queen and young. After that she maintains the nest and eventually forages for food. Like most insects, ants lack grasping forelegs and compensate for this by using their mandibles as “hands.” When the nest is disturbed, workers rush to rescue the eggs, larvae (depicted in photograph) and pupae by clasping them in their mandibles and transporting them to safety. They also use their mandibles to carry food, construct nests, and for defense.
August 1, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Ants, Arthropods, August, Hymenoptera, Insects, Invertebrates, Larvae, Metamorphosis | Tags: Ants, Arthropods, Colonial Insects, Drone Ants, Hymenoptera, Insect Metamorphosis, insects, Invertebrates, Mandibles, Metamorphosis, Social Insects, Worker Ants | 2 Comments
If you’ve never heard of a Spongilla Fly, you’re not alone. We don’t see its larval stage, as it lives under water, where it feeds exclusively on fresh water sponges. You can find these sponges living in the still waters of large rivers, lakes and wetlands. The beautiful silken net, as well as the small cocoon inside the net, are created by a Spongilla Fly larva after it crawls out of the water and chooses a spot on land on which to pupate (in this case on a seat cushion). The entire structure is less than ¼” in diameter.
July 31, 2012 | Categories: Arthropods, Cocoons, Insects, Invertebrates, July, Metamorphosis, Pupae | Tags: Cocoon, Insect Metamorphosis, Metamorphosis, Net-winged Insects, Neuroptera, Pupa, Sisyridae, Spongilla Fly | 4 Comments
July 18, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Arthropods, Hymenoptera, Insect Eggs, Insect Signs, Insects, Invertebrates, July, Larvae, Metamorphosis | Tags: Insect Metamorphosis, insects, Mud Daubers, Organ Pipe Mud Daubers, Trypoxylon politum, Wasps | 2 Comments
Congratulations to those who recognized yesterday’s Mystery Photo! The tiny green cells are made from the leaves of almost any deciduous trees, and are cut and folded by leafcutter bees (Megachile genus). These solitary bees are about the size of a honeybee, but are much darker, almost black. They construct cigar-like nests (often in soil, holes in wood made by other insects, or plant stems) that contain several cells. After gathering and storing a ball, or loaf, of pollen inside the cell, the bee lays an egg and seals the cell shut. When the egg hatches, the larval bee feeds on the pollen and eventually spins a cocoon and pupates within it. An adult bee emerges from the cocoon and usually overwinters inside the cell. In the spring the bee chews its way out of the cell. Leafcutter bees pollinate wildflowers, fruits and vegetables and are also used as pollinators by commercial growers of blueberries, onions, carrots and alfalfa. (Photo submitted by Jan Gendreau.)
July 6, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Animal Signs, Arthropods, Bees, Egg laying, Hymenoptera, Insect Eggs, Insect Signs, Insects, Invertebrates, June, Leaves, Metamorphosis, Mystery Photo Submissions, Plants | Tags: Bees, Hymenoptera, Insect Metamorphosis, Leafcutter bee, Megachile, Megachilidae, Pollinators, Solitary Bees | 1 Comment
June 13, 2012 | Categories: Arthropods, Beetles, Bugs, Insects, Invertebrates, June, Larvae, Metamorphosis, Pupae | Tags: Complete Metamorphosis, Harmonia axyridis, Insect Metamorphosis, Insect Predators, Ladybird Beetles, Ladybugs, Metamorphosis, Multicolored Asian Ladybugs | 4 Comments
June 1, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Animal Adaptations, Animal Diets, Arthropods, Bugs, June, Metamorphosis, Plants | Tags: Cercopidae, Clasirptora, Froghoppers, Hemiptera, Insect Adaptations, Insect Metamorphosis, insects, Metamorphosis, Spittlebugs | 3 Comments
There are many species of tussock moths, and in their larval, or caterpillar, stage, most are covered with tufts of hair-like setae, some impressively long. The female rusty tussock moth, Orgyia antiqua, is flightless, so after emerging from her cocoon, she stays put, releasing alluring pheromones and awaiting the arrival of a male suitor. After mating, she lays up to several hundred eggs on top of her empty cocoon and then dies. The flat-topped, cylindrical eggs (with a dark depression on their top) overwinter, and as soon as leaf buds start opening, the eggs hatch, with ready-made meals inches away. Larvae feed on the leaves of birches, oaks, crabapples and black cherry, among others. Pictured is an egg mass on an apple leaf.
April 3, 2012 | Categories: April, Arthropods, Insect Eggs, Insect Signs, Insects, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis | Tags: Insect Eggs, Insect Metamorphosis, Insect Signs, insects, Lepidoptera, moths, Orgyia antiqua | 6 Comments
With all the warm weather this week, butterflies are suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Unlike most butterflies, which typically spend the winter as eggs or pupae (inside of chrysalises), red admirals, mourning cloaks and eastern commas (pictured) simply slip out from behind loose bark, where they overwintered as adults, and take to the air. Those species of butterflies which spent the winter as eggs or pupae must undergo metamorphosis this spring, and won’t appear in their adult form until later in the year. With so few wildflowers out now, especially this year, sap from broken tree branches sustains early-emerging butterflies!
March 23, 2012 | Categories: Arthropods, Butterflies, Insects, Lepidoptera, March, Metamorphosis, Signs of Spring | Tags: Butterflies, Eastern Comma, Insect Metamorphosis, Lepidoptera, Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa, Polygonia comma, Red Admiral, Signs of Spring, Vanessa atalanta | 7 Comments
October 5, 2011 | Categories: Arthropods, Insect Signs, Insects, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Moths, October | Tags: Galls, Insect Metamorphosis, Insect Signs, insects, Larvae, Lepidoptera, moths, Populus tremuloides, Ribbed Petiole Poplar Gall | Leave a comment