Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ooey gooey slimy things...

Here's something really strange... my little girls love to go and pick up worms!! Every time I garden and plant things, they are right there saying- oooh mama look at that big worm... I am so grossed out! But, I can't do a thing about it... they love worms. So, in tribute to them... let's take a look at worms!

Earthworms are really a farmers friend. They are a wriggling worker. They dig through the soil aerating it as they go, and they fertilize it by their droppings... ahhh... dear farmer's friend. But, there are also other worms that aren't so friendly. These worms are referred to as parasites! They include leeches, tapeworms, and roundworms. These worms feed off of a host and can sometimes kill it.

Another really slimy group are the mollusks. They include clams, oysters, slugs, snails, squids, and octopi. Snails and slugs have a very slimy body that usually has a shell over part of it to protect it. Many snails live in salt water and are called uni-valves. These creatures make beautiful shells. The slug belongs to this family as well, yet the slug does not have a hard protective shell.

Mussels, bivalves, oysters, clams, and scallops have two matching fan shaped shells joined by hinges. They have a slimy foot that they stick out of their shell to move themselves or anchor themselves into the sand.

Have you ever tried to track a snail by the slimy residue it leaves behind? If you can find a snail outside bring it in and let it crawl across a newspaper. Examine what the snail leaves behind....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Legs, Legs, and more legs....

In our study of insects we can't forget about the centipede and millipede... they are very interesting creatures.

A centipede is called this because of all of its legs (centi - means hundred). The centipede has two legs per each of its body segments. The centipede has two legs close to its mouth shaped like jaws but are tipped with sharp points that are like fangs. The centipede uses poison to kill the insects that it eats. The South American giant centipede is over 10 inches long and can eat small animals. Now, that's scary!

The millipede has even more legs than the centipede. It has four legs per body segment. Because it has so many legs you would think that it moves very fast... but it doesn't. The millipede is a herbivore and eats rotting and decaying plant matter. Yet the millipede does have a defense mechanism it has stink glands in rows along the sides of its body and it releases a poisonous substance capable of harming an attacker.