Worms and Flowers

The Best Weed

Posted in Blog by Lzyjo on October 3, 2009

I love Saturday mornings. They’re great for leisurely drinking coffee and wandering around the garden. Around here the bike clubs go by. It’s a nice quite time. Have you ever noticed how traffic on Saturday is so much  more well behaved? Cars freely coast down the road enjoyably obeying the speed limit. So for some Saturday fun I’d like share a few odd and entertaining search results.

would cooking apples with tomatoes thick?

Unripe and sour green apples do contain some pectin. If you are thickening tomato products, it would be easier to buy pectin in the canning section.

good flowers for worms?

hmmm, it’s like being a translator, trying to decipher these queries. Do they mean flowers for worms to eat, or flowers that will attract caterpillars? Maybe.

wik pedia pitaia

Eureka! Wikipedia Pitaya!! That must be what they meant!

worms quilts

Did they mean worm’s quilts?! Because I don’t’ know any worms with quilts. Or did they mean a quilt depicting worms, oddly, that’s probably more likely!

verb for worm

I would say wriggle best describes the worm’s motion.

allergic to mangoes and I want to enlist i…..( in the army?)

I don’t think a food allergy is a medical exemption.

The best weed.

Eight searches for this one, five on one day, I’m really not the one to ask, but I’m dying to know!

Californian worms in jars delicious (!)

I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on that one!

An Instar is Born

Posted in Bugs by Lzyjo on October 1, 2009

Caterpillars are remarkable little creatures. They are the competitive eaters of the insect world, each a connoisseur,  specializing in a limited group of favorite plants.

Photobucket

Second Instar

They start as miniscule eggs and emerge as a tiny prickly-looking caterpillars less than .5 inch  (1.3 cm) long. Caterpillars are technically larvae, but caterpillar sounds much cuter doesn’t it? After all it comes from Ango-French and Middle English words meaning hairy cat!

Photobucket

Third Instar

Caterpillars are incredibly hungry and fast growing. Undergoing five stages of growth called instars. They get as fat as possible then molt their exoskeleton four times until they are officially pupa. Instead of shedding their exoskeletons, the new layer is “digested” and reabsorbed, probably a move to save energy, since caterpillars only purpose is to eat as much as possibly, as quickly as possible.

Photobucket

Fourth Instar

Caterpillars are peculiar. They are so tiny, yet they move with amazing intricacy. They are muscle bound eating machines. I know, they don’t look like muscle men, but they are. Each caterpillar has 4,000 muscles that allows its body in the strangest ways, like when they hang way out from a limb, searching and searching for something to grab on to. Caterpillars have more muscles on their head (248) than we have bones in your bodies.  (206)

For being such small creatures, caterpillars display a variety of defense mechanisms from the intriguing to deadly. A certain species of South American silk worm has barbed hairs, similar to the tarantulas, which contain a venomous anticoagulant powerful enough to cause death by uncontrolled bleeding in humans.

Aside from their camouflage appearances, they have an arsenal of tricks to ward of potential predators. The swallowtail caterpillar has a unique defense mechanism. When threatened the caterpillars emit a distinctly pungent pheromone from a pair brightly colored, orange or red glandular organs called the osmeterium, which resemble antennae and spring out of the head.

Can you see? This one is really chomping away! It is very close to being a pupa, one more molt and it will be a mature pupa, ready to find a safe place to make a chrysalis. Don’t they change remarkably, in such a short time?

Since I’m not an insectologist (oh, I just wanted to say that word!) check my sources:

Wikipedia Butterflies good overview

Butterfly School Metamorphosis great photos of every stage

Monarch Butterfly “What is an Instar?” explanation of molting

Tagged with: , , , ,