Label: Insects

July 5, 2016

Happy Publication Day to @Seymour Simon for his new book, INSECTS!

Cover of Seymour Simon's book INSECTS

The photographs are amazing, and you will learn some fascinating things in this book:

  • All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. 

  • There are at least four times more kinds of insects than all other animals combined.

  • The number of insects alive at any given moment is approximately 10 quintillion (that is 10 followed by 18 zeros!)

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    Available on Amazon

     

     

    Posted by: Liz Nealon

    (0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, New Books, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    May 9, 2013

    This just in from Mrs. Gutierrez’s 2nd grade class in Gary, Indiana.


    First off, we want to thank you for all of your informative books. So far we have read, Big Bugs, Super Storms, and The Moon. We are currently studying insects. Are there any must reads that would help us in our unit?


     

    Thank you so much for writing, guys! If you are already reading BIG BUGS, you have started at the right place!

    One of my books that lots of kids seem to love is called ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES. You will definitely find some insects in that book. I have also written a book about a certain kind of insect - BUTTERFLIES! You might find one or both of those books in your school library.

    One interesting thing that many people do not know is that spiders are not insects (although we often refer to them as "bugs," they are actually arachnids). You might enjoy doing some research and finding out all the ways that insects and arachnids are different. Please write to me and tell me what you have learned if you do!

    I have also written often about insects on my blog. If you click on the blog label "Insects," you will get a list of every story that has appeared there and find some very interesting photographs and stories about insects.

    And finally, you might want to use my SeeMore Explorer Observation Log to write down details about what you see and help you identify insects that you spot in the world around you. Here is the link where you can download a copy. Print it out, head outdoors and start recording information about the insects all around you.

    Thanks for writing, and enjoy your unit on INSECTS!

    Seymour Simon

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

    (0) Comments  •   Labels: Kids Write, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    April 18, 2013

    This is an "animals nobody loves" story. After hanging around underground for 17 years, billions of flying bugs known as cicadas (sih-KAY-duhs) are going to arrive in the East Coast of the United states sometime in the next month.

    "For entomophobes, this is the season of despair. For the entomophiles, this is the season of joy," says University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp. I bet you’ve already guessed that an entomopobe (EN-toe-moe-fobe) means a bug hater, and entomophile (EN-toe-moe-file) is a bug lover. Love them or hate them, we’re going to have to get used to them for about a month.

    The 17-year cicadas are expected to arrive in the Carolinas in late April or early May, and will work their way up northward to Washington, Philadelphia and New York by early June. The amazing thing is that these larvae have been living underground since their parents laid their eggs 17 years ago. When the temperature of the ground reaches 64 degrees, the insects will wiggle out of their shells andbegin to dig "escape chimneys," tunneling out into the spring air where they take flight, searching for a mate.

    The sound of millions of insects flying is stunningly loud. What I remember from their last appearance is that I heard a sound so loud and persistent that I thought there must be construction happening outside. Experts say the volume can reach 90 decibels - as loud as a rock concert. In some areas, the ground is covered so that you can’t walk without crunching cicadas, the sky seems to be filled with dark clouds, and the walls of some houses are covered, as if they are painted black. You have to shake the insects out of your clothes when you come into the house. It is a remarkable thing to experience.

    If the 17-year cicadas come to your neighborhood, there is nothing to be afraid of. They do not sting or bite, and will not hurt you in any way. They will only be around for about a month while they find their mate and lay their eggs, which will then mature for 17 years underground. This is a truly amazing natural cycle. Try to set aside the "ick" factor and appreciate how lucky you are to observe something like this. If you are an 8-year-old third grader today, you will be all grown up - old enough to be a teacher instead of a student! - next time they emerge. Now that is an astounding thing to experience, isn’t it?

     

    Photo: Mary Terriberry / Shutterstock 

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

    (1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Insects, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    September 13, 2012

    Welcome to SeeMore Explorers Day! Every Thursday will be SeeMore Explorers Day on this website. The idea is to get out in nature and look around you. Take a photograph or draw a picture in your notebook. Write down as many details as you can about what you have seen. Then, come back to school or home and use the resources around you to try to figure out what it is that you have discovered. You can use books, encyclopedias or an Internet search; it is also fine to ask your teacher, librarian or other grownup to help you get started on your research.

    We have created a SeeMore Explorers log that you can download and print out - it is designed to help you organize your information when you discover something exciting and interesting in nature. Click here to download your copy. Print it out and you are ready to start exploring - just like Seymour Simon does when he is out walking around and enjoying nature!

     

    I am going to start things off with this photograph that our daughter Jules sent from Washington, DC recently. She thought that this butterfly was so beautiful that she snapped a picture on her phone and sent it to Seymour and me in a text. And of course, we wondered what it was. 

    We started by writing down everything we could think of in our own SeeMore Explorers log.

    Here is what we came up with: 

     

     

    See how writing down what you see helps you figure out what you are seeing? We would love to see your observation logs. You can scan and upload right to this website if you want to, by clicking on the yellow button at the top of every page that says "Send Us Photos/Video." Or you can mail your observation log to:
    SeeMore Explorers, 15 Cutter Mill Road, Suite 242, Great Neck, NY 11021

    Send us your log, and you may find it published right here on SeymourSimon.com!


    Photo: Jules Kelly 

     

    Posted by: Liz Nealon

    (0) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Butterflies, Insects, Exploration, nature   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    July 16, 2012

    Here is a great Summer Vacation Science moment from reader Jennifer J:


     

     

    Two Oklahoma children enjoying their beloved grasshopper, Hopsters. Dad fetched it from the pool and they thought he saved the insect from drowning. Summer is best with jars and bugs.

     

     

     


    I was curious about what kind of grasshopper this is. Jennifer also sent this close-up photograph, so I decided to fill out my Summer Vacation Science Observation Log, to see if I could identify the grasshopper. Here is what I wrote on the log:

     

     

     

     

    It was very difficult to identify this insect strictly by doing an image search on the Internet. Too many choices came up, none really looked like this grasshopper, and I realized that it would take too long to do it this way - there are 11,000 known grasshopper species worldwide. 

    One thing I find helpful to do when I am stuck like this is to ask myself: "What else do I know?" I decided that the important thing I know is that this grasshopper is found in OKLAHOMA. Surely, that should narrow things down.

    I did another Internet search, this time searching for the words "Oklahoma grasshopper." One of the first things that came up on the list was titled: Grasshoppers  of Goodwell and Texhoma,  OK on a website run by a researcher named Kurt Schaefer at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. It lists each local grasshopper species with a link that lets you see a photograph. I clicked on the link next to each grasshopper name until I found one that looks like "Hopsters."

    Based on what I found on this website, I have concluded that these children found a WRINKLED GRASSHOPPER.

    Isn’t it fun to try to figure out what you are seeing? It is like being a Nature Detective!

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

    (0) Comments  •   Labels: Summer Vacation Science, Insects, Exploration, Observation   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    July 3, 2012

    Look at this amazing animal that I found on my kitchen door a few days ago! This is a Rosy Maple Moth (scientific Latin name Dryocampa rubicunda). It is called a Rosy Maple Moth because its caterpillar (called the green-striped mapleworm) eats the leaves of maple and oak trees.

    When you walk outside in the morning, you will find sleeping moths all around you. Look at leaves, screen doors, the side of your house, tree trunks. Most moths are nocturnal ("nocturnal" means that they are awake at night and sleep during the day), so you can find them and photograph them during the daytime.

    How did I know the name of this moth? I have studied animals all my life and know a lot about them, but that doesn’t mean I automatically know the name of everything that I see. However, if I look at all its different qualities and observe very carefully, I usually have enough information to look it up and find out what it is. You can do that, too, by using my Summer Vacation Science Observation Log. It is a sheet that you can download here, and when you answer all the questions and fill it out, you will usually be able to figure out exactly what wild creature you are observing.

    Here is my observation log for the Rosy Maple Moth. Look at all the information I got, just by looking and observing carefully.

     

    Download your own copy of the Summer Vacation Science Observation log, print out a bunch of copies, and see how many cool things you can observe this summer. I bet it will be a lot!

     

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

    (3) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Animals, Butterflies, Summer Vacation Science, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    May 9, 2012

    Welcome to Writing Wednesday! Every week there is a new opportunity to publish your own creative writing on the Seymour Science blog. This week, we are asking you to do your own research, and explain what is happening in the photograph below.

     

    The Facts: 

    It is spring, and all over the world, bees like this one are drinking nectar from apple blossoms and other spring flowers. When a bee travels from flower to flower, it is moving pollen from one flower to another.

     

    Your Assignment: Working with a partner or several of your classmates, find out about bees, how they help to pollinate flowers, and why that is important for us who eventually eat the fruits and vegetables that come from these flowers. You can use books in your library or sources on the Internet to do your research. Then, write a paragraph explaining pollination and post it here by clicking on the yellow "Comments" button below.

    Happy writing!


           

    Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday is designed to use in support of CCSS Anchor Standard W.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

     

     

    Posted by: Liz Nealon

    (2) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Common Core, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    December 4, 2011

    Entomologist (bug scientist) Mark Moffett, who works at the Smithsonian institution, traveled all the way to New Zealand to try to find a Giant Weta (Deinacrida heteracantha).

     

    He found one, all right - what he claims is the largest insect ever found…..or at least, the heaviest. Moffett says: "I did not measure anything but the weight. I’ve seen a walking stick nearly 19 inches long in Sarawak, Malaysia, but it weighed next to nothing." The giant weta weighed in at 2.5 ounces (71 grams) - that is as much as three mice!

    These huge insects are members of the cricket family; their genus name, Deinacrida, is Greek for terrible grasshopper. They are vegetarians, which is why Moffett offered her a carrot. "She enjoyed the carrot so much she seemed to ignore the fact she was resting on our hands and carried on munching away. She would have finished the carrot very quickly, but this is an extremely endangered species, and we didn’t want to risk indigestion."

     

    Photo: Mark Moffett / Minden / Solent


    I have always been fascinated by big bugs. If you are, too, you can read more here!

     

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

    (1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals Nobody Loves, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    September 21, 2011

    My goodness. It seems that every morning when I go out to pick raspberries for our breakfast cereal, I find another exciting-looking caterpillar! Of course, they are eating nearly around the clock these days, getting ready to spin their cocoons, where they will spend the winter before emerging as butterflies or moths in the spring.

    As I wrote the other day, it’s best not to handle hairy caterpillars because some of them are poisonous or otherwise dangerous. Some of them have specialized hollow hairs, and when they are touched by humans, the hairs can create a tiny scratch on our hands and release a strong toxin (poison) into the almost invisible cut. This process is called "urtication," and caterpillar urtications can cause severe allergic responses in some people. So keep your hands off hairy caterpillars!

     

    I picked this one up on a piece of cardboard and moved it out of the grass to a rock in order to get a better look at it. It was still sparkling with morning dew, and curled up into a ball as soon as I got near it. That is a defensive mechanism, to protect itself from predators (though I really wasn’t going to hurt it!). I could see immediately that this kind of caterpillar is a typical "woolly bear" variety, with a thick coat of black bristles called setae. The red bands around its body are so distinctive that I was able to easily identify it simply by typing "caterpillar black hairs red bands" into a web browser.

    Well….I can say is…..WOW! This is the caterpillar of the Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia). 

    It is one of the most beautiful of all moths - white with iridescent blue spots. And it truly is "giant," with wingspan of about 3-inches (8 cm). That is biger than your middle finger - a good-sized moth, for sure.

    We do not clean up our garden very much in the fall, leaving the dry stems and leaves to create winter shelters for helpful and beautiful insects like these. I hope that lots of them find a safe haven up under the raspberry bushes, because I would love to see a giant leopard moth in person come the spring.

    Keep your eyes open when you are walking in the outdoors, and then write and tell me what interesting wild creatures you see.

    Moth Photo: Wikimedian Kevincollins123

     

     

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    READERS: Are you wondering how to add your own "comment" to this blog? Click here for exact directions on how to add a comment so you can become one of our Seymour Science writers! We also want you to be safe and not share too much information when you write on this blog, so please take a minute to read about how to stay safe on the Internet. We love to hear from you, so give "comments" a try! 

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

    (20) Comments  •   Labels: Butterflies, Seymour Photographs, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

    September 21, 2011

    Last week (before it got so chilly here in Columbia County, NY) Liz and I were sitting on the deck watching the sunset when we saw this swarm of gnats (pronounced NATS - silent "g". They are small, two-winged flies).

    Click Ghost of Gnats to see the video. 

    They were all moving, but as one big, spherical shape. I suspected it was a mating swarm, so I decided to do a little reading and check it out.

    Turns out it was indeed a mating swarm. When this happens, a big group of male flies are irresistibly attracted to pheromones secreted by a female or females who are ready for mating.  Pheromones (pronounced FAIR-uh-moans) are a chemical substance given off by some animals, especially insects, that influences the behavior of other animals of the same species. The males detected the pheromones from hundreds of yards away, and all rushed to the same place to try to find the female.

    You end up with this ball of almost all male flies, searching for the female who is somewhere in the middle. The expression for this is "a ghost of gnats." Isn’t that great? It does look a little bit like a ghost haunting in the sunset twilight, as all the gnats move as a big group. 

     

    Photo: A Fungus gnat, courtesy Maine.gov

    Posted by: Seymour Simon

    (1) Comments  •   Labels: Video, Insects, Halloween   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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