Category: Bug of the Week (Page 1 of 215)

STEM Friday #Kidlit Scurry! The Truth About Spiders

 

Right in time for Halloween, we have a newly emerged informational picture book, Scurry! The Truth About Spiders by Annette Whipple and illustrated by Juanbjuan Oliver and Franco Rivolli.

Have you ever wondered how spiders make silk, why they are so hairy, or what they eat? Scurry! has all the answers. After explaining what characteristics a spider has and introducing a few common types, Annette Whipple delves into their life cycles and behavior.

Did you know that by weight, spider silk is stronger than steel? Amazing!

The books in Reycraft’s Truth About … series are illustrated with high-quality stock photographs. As you can see above, this title has an added feature of a cartoon sidebar on the right of each spread with additional tips and information. Fun!

In the back is a hands-on challenge to create a spider web, a longer list of different types of spiders, and a glossary.

Scurry! is a delightful introduction to the world of spiders. You will want to add a copy to your favorite young reader’s Halloween treat bag!

Related Information and Activities

Activity:  Go on a spider hunt

Going on a spider hunt in your neighborhood or at a nearby park is a wonderful way to kindle children’s interest in spiders. For best success, remember that spiders are mainly nocturnal or active at night and plan your hunt early in the morning or later in the day. Look for hints of silk or webs to help you find where spiders may be hiding. Finally, caution children to look but don’t touch.

Here’s some of our recent finds.

First we spotted this abandoned orb web glittering in the morning sun. Some kinds of spiders take down their webs during the day. A few even eat their own webs to recycle the proteins. Spider web is not what you’d probably want for breakfast!

People often put up fake spider webs for Halloween, but work hard to remove real ones. On the other hand, we leave old spider webs in place for the hummingbirds, which use spider silk to make their nests.

Before long we discovered the web maker in similar web strung between two bushes. It is a Western orb weaver spider.

Other plants had small clusters of messy webs. Those were home to cellar spiders (previous post), which are the most common spider around our house.

Finally, we found a few of these little beauties:

Feather-legged spiders pose with their long front legs directly in from of their bodies. They are also called cribellate orb weavers. The spiders in this group lack venom.

The web around where they sit is made up of small cells, which creates a springy trampoline.

Feather-legged spiders are small and easy to miss.

How about you? Have you seen any cool spiders this week?

 

More:

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 6 – 11 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Reycraft Books (September 30, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1478870230
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1478870234

 

Disclosure: This book was provided as an electronic ARC for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Yet More Butterflies

We still are seeing butterflies.

 

This lovely variegated fritillary was a bit worse for wear.

I was surprised to find out that one of the host plants for the caterpillars is our local climbing milkweed.

Here’s another visitor:

We don’t see duskywing skippers as often as some of the other skippers.

This one is enjoying nectar from a rush milkweed flower.

Notice that duskywings perch with their wings outstretched, not folded like other skippers. They do have the characteristic hooks at the tips of their antennae, though.

Have you spotted any butterflies this week?

Bug of the Week: Butterfly Census

With the increased moth activity mentioned last week, there also has been a surge in butterfly activity after the recent rains. In my neighborhood here near Phoenix,  we have seen representatives of almost every butterfly family.

Swallowtails

Because it is missing its hind wing, this one is hard to identify, but I believe it is a pipevine swallowtail.

Whites and Sulphurs

Sulphurs are really easy to spot right now.

We have several fluttering in our yard at any one time, given away by their bright yellow wings.

 

Orange sulphurs aka alfalfa butterflies are particularly common. Some of the females are quite pale.  Right now often seen flitting across six lanes of traffic.

The tiny dainty sulphurs are so cute. This one is visiting a desert marigold.

Hairstreaks, Blues and Coppers

This tiny blue is also adorable. It posed while taking a snack from a milkweed flower.

Hairstreaks grab your attention by wriggling those antennae-like structures on their hind wings. The milkweed flowers are popular places to drink nectar.

 

Brushfooted Butterflies

We saw a few American snout butterflies, but not as many as in the past (previous post).

 

The queens are back.

They have laid eggs for the  next generation on the rush milkweed.

 

Skippers

Last, but not least, the skippers with their uniquely folded wings.

The only family of butterflies not currently represented are the metalmarks.

What butterflies have you found in your neighborhood this month?

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