Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pet Bugs: A Kid's Guide to Catching & Keeping Touchable Insects

I was not able to upload a picture of this book for some unknown reason, but here are the section headings in Pet Bugs: "Bugs that eat other bugs," "Bugs that have special tricks to avoid being gobbled up," "Bugs that look like something they're not," "Bugs that live and work in groups," "Bugs that communicate with each other in special ways," and "Bugs that multiply - before your eyes!" You'll find out about praying mantises, walkingsticks, spittlebugs, monarch butterflies, tent caterpillars, lightning bugs, stag beetles, cicadas (some people call them locusts), crickets, Japanese beetles,and even mealworms (hungry?)Here's a little about Monarch butterflies: Monarchs first appeared thousands of years ago in Mexico, where it's warm year-round. Because it was warm, they did not need a period of hibernation... At that time there was no milkweed in the United States or Canada... Gradually the climate warmed and milkweed spread into the United States, followed by Monarchs. Here they encountereed cold winters for the first time. Their response was to head back to their homeland for the winter -- a unique solution to the problem of freezing weather.

As milkweed moved farther and farther north with the warming climate, the Monarchs followed, and the length of their migration became greater and greater. The 2,000-mile one-way trip that some Monarchs make today is a result of that gradual increase in distance. And two thousand miles is a long way for even a bird to travel, but for an insect, it's almost unbelievable...

How do the Monarchs know to go to the same spot every winter? This is a puzzling question, because the Monarchs that migrate to Mexico in autumn are the children of those that flew north through the United States (and even) to Canada in spring. Their parents could not have taught them, because their parents died before they were born. We know that they use the sun to help them maintain a steady course, but we don't know how they start out in the right direction...

I had heard about the migration before, but the part about the gradually warming climate drawing the Monarchs north is new to me. Hurray for Monarchs! Hurray for Pet Bugs! And I just found out the author wrote More Pet Bugs: A Kid's Guide to Catching and Keeping Insects and Other Small Creatures after this one. I can't wait!

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