Monday, 26 August 2013

Avon Wildlife Safari Day 39 - Insects are fab!

Today's Wildlife Safari takes you to Slimbridge Wetland Centre again but this time the focus is on insects. This is your chance to find out 'Why Insects are Fab' with resident artist Cath Hodsman. Cath will bring along specimens and microscopes so that you can take a closer look at different species and get inspired.This arts and crafts activity is suitable for children and will be held in the Discovery centre. All materials are included in your general admission fee.

Insects really are pretty amazing. Roughly half of all the species on Earth are insects, making them one of the most successful types of living organism. They outnumber humans by 250,000 to 1 and in the UK there are around 21,000 different kinds of insects. All insects have six legs and an external skeleton called an exoskeleton and they can be found in nearly all environments. They are the only type of invertebrate that has evolved the ability to fly but different species can swim, walk, jump, crawl and slither. Insect blood is often green as it does not need to carry oxygen to its cells, so does not contain the haemoglobin which makes our blood red.

It is thought that 35% of world food production is dependent on animal pollination. Insects are vitally important for pollinating our crops,particularly bees, but butterflies, moths, hoverflies, beetles and flies also help to transfer pollen from plant to plant, pollinating flowers and enabling them to reproduce seed and thus food for us to eat.

There are 25 species of bumblebee in the UK, click here to find a guide to the most common ones and explore your local patch to see if you can identify the bees that are foraging for nectar and pollen amongst the flowers.

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