If you were asked to identify this insect structure, what would you suggest?

webspinning-sawfly-tent_0196Tent caterpillar nest? Perhaps fall webworm?

Let's take a look at the larvae inside.

webspinning-sawfly-larvae10The larvae aren't hairy or fuzzy like some of the caterpillars that make silk nests.

webspinning-sawfly-larvae_0021If you look closely, you'll see these larvae have too many prolegs to be moth caterpillars (for a discussion of prolegs, try this post).

The insects in the photos are webspinning sawfly larvae. Sawflies are relatives of bees, wasps, and ants, yet their larvae look and act like butterfly caterpillars.

Have you ever spotted sawfly larvae and thought they were caterpillars?


Are you a science educator or homeschooling parent? If so, you know how hard it can be to find quality materials to kick start or supplement your science lessons.


Today we are featuring a resource you might find helpful. The Exploring Nature Educational Resource website has over 5,000 pages of top-notch illustrated science materials for use online, to download and print, or to display on a Smartboard. Subscriptions are $25/year (at the time this was posted) for individuals or families, and school rates are also available.

Illustrated science lessons are so important for young visual learners and can help any style of learner grasp concepts more quickly. Author and illustrator Sheri Amsel created the materials specifically for the site, which means they are consistent in style and format. They are not recycled from other sites on the internet.

Think of the website as a series of online textbooks on different science topics that go with you wherever you need them. They aren't just science lessons, either. There is a test bank to use and information about Next Generation science standards to help with your own curriculum planning. The how-to-draw instructions and coloring pages would be useful for art lessons and projects, as well.

Interested? Check the links below to examine some of the topics for free (Thanks to Sheri Amsel for providing the links). If you choose, stop back and let us know what you think in the comments.

A Sampling of  Habitats and Biomes Resources:
Introduction to Biomes and Habitats
Antarctica, Deciduous Forest,
African Savannah, Florida Everglades
African Grassland Food Web Puppet Show (Pre-K- Grade 2)
Draw an African Grassland, Draw an Aardvark
Zoo Field Trip Resources

A Sampling of Animal Resources:
Animals of the World Index
Aardvark, Bullfrog, Ostrich, Great White Shark, Iguana
Match the Birds to Their Food
Matching Animals to Their Class
Matching Animals to Their Tracks
Animal Traits Matching
What Do I Eat? Match the Animal to its Food
What Will I Be When I Grow Up? Matching
All About Mammals - Lecture
Bug Hunt, Identification and Drawing
Count and Tally - Birds
Coral Reef Coloring Page
Ostrich Coloring Page
Animal Diets: Print-Copy-Cut-Paste

A Sampling of Physical Science Resources:
Electricity Role Play

A Sampling of Ecology and Earth Science:
Rain Making Activity - The Water Cycle
Adaptation - What is it?
Adaptation in the School Yard
Ecosystem Field Study - Seed Dispersal
Recycling Game - Can it Be Recycled?
The Atmosphere
Changing Seasons

A Sampling of Plant Resources:
Photosynthesis - A Demonstration
Photosynthesis Investigation
What Grows Here? Inquiry-based Plant Activity
Coniferous Tree Identification Activity
Tree Identification - Using a Dichotomous Key for Conifers

A Sampling of Human Body (Anatomy) Resources:
Body Actions
Cell Organelles
Cellular Respiration
Pulmonary Circulation
Digestive System Overview
Chromosomes, Genes and Traits
Alveoli, Alveoli ducts, Respiratory Bronchioles (Respiratory Zone)
An Introduction to Skeletal System - The Bones and What They Do
Hearing and the Structure of the Ear
Connective Tissue

A Sampling of the Test Bank:
Blood Flow Through the Heart – Multiple Choice

Amphibians – Multiple Choice Test
African Rainforest - Multiple Choice
Organelle Matching

Name the Phase of the Moon

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with this resource and was not compensated for my review.




1 Comment

Insects can interfere with exercise.

cicada-nymphs-mesquite-tree250For example, these light-colored objects on the dark bark of a mesquite caught my eye and I had to run home and grab my camera.

nice-cidada-nymph-SC_0260Do you recognize it?

cicada-nymph-close-gd42Here, look closer.

It's the exoskeleton shed by a cicada turning from a nymph into an adult. Can you see the covering where the eyes were? How about the large front legs used for digging?


The bulbous area in front of the eyes is the covering for the part of the mouth that pumps fluids from plants. The flap-like structure on the side of the body is the wing bud that develops into the wing of the adult.

Have you ever found a cicada nymph exoskeleton? Where did you find it? Did you look at it closely?