Yesterday, AP Bio joined regular Biology in learning all about arthropods – in person! Here are some of the arthropods we came across:
The Lubber grasshopper was, in my opinion, the sickest looking arthropod I saw all day. The lubber grasshopper is vegetarian, mainly eating fruits! These grasshoppers need to bury their eggs in a sandy place for protection.
The Whipped-tail scorpion is an eight-legged arachnid which has adapted to be blind. The scorpion can tell between day and night, but can’t see shapes. Their front legs are really long, which aren’t used for walking but to feel. One cool thing is that they can spin tail like a volcano, creating vinegar, which flies off like mist.
The third organism we saw was the Giant African Millipede. The millipede is very delicate and can shatter if dropped. Their bodies are divided into segments and each segment has 4 legs, meaning that the millipede can grow to have about 300 legs. However, the bigger these organisms get, the more likely they are able to consumed by birds, boards, or toads. The Giant African Millipede can live to be 20 years old.
The Australian Walking Stick was one of my favorites. This organism has a camouflage adaptation to blend into leaves for protection. They have vestigial wings, which are too small to fly but look like leaves. My favorite part is that sometimes the Australian Walking Stick will try eating each other’s legs, thinking they are leaves, until realizing it is just another one of them!
The Giant Thorny Phasmids are from Malaysia and look super cool. The males are brown colored and smaller than the females. This helps them blend in with bark and twigs and get away easier, as they need to be alert. The females are green. Since they lay eggs all the time, they need to be nearby food and thus look like their food (leaves) for camouflage protection.
If I saw a Madagascar Cockroach outside of this classroom, I would probably scream and run as far away as I could. This cockroach is essential to the food web, as they can eat anything along with being a constant food supply for other organisms. One of the coolest things I saw was that just covering the cockroach with your hand for about 5 seconds will make the organism immediately fall asleep and no longer move! The Madagascar Cockroach is covered with mites which help clean the organism.
Overall, I was really surprised by how comfortable I was with holding these arthropods. At first, I was scared since I didn’t want to be bitten and poisoned and killed by the bugs, but after seeing everyone else hold them (and still be alive), I became excited to get to hold and feel all these arthropods. I had such a great time!!