Category: beetles (Page 1 of 13)

STEM Friday #Kidlit Little Killers Has a Big Impact

We all know middle grade readers who can be a little jaded and hard to please. That’s why you should make sure you have Sneed B. Collard III’s newest, Little Killers: The Ferocious Lives of Puny Predators in your arsenal.

With just enough humor sprinkled in, Collard introduces us to some lesser-known predators that have a big impact regardless of their size.

Take the pteropods. More commonly known as sea angels or sea butterflies, he calls them the “potato chips of the sea” –isn’t that great imagery?– because so many critters eat them. But it turns out at least some of these “potato chips” have a bite. The sea angels turn on their mostly vegetarian cousins the sea butterflies and eat them!

After revealing the killer instincts of invertebrates from flatworms to driver ants, the final chapter is a call to action to protect these creatures that we often don’t see or notice, but which serve such important roles in ecosystems.

The book is illustrated with eye-catching stock photographs, like the closeup of the driver ant worker on the cover. A few photographs show young scientists at work, allowing kids to relate.

Little Killers will grab the attention of both budding biologists and reluctant readers.  Get your claws on a copy today!

Related Activities:

Get to know more about tiny predators

  1. Most of us know that lady beetles (also called lady bugs) eat aphids.

convergent lady beetle

Did you know that another stage of their life cycle eats even more aphids than the adults?

Lady beetle larvae don’t look much like their adult parents, but they are even hungrier! When you see them on plants, don’t be alarmed. You should leave them alone.

Let’s look at the rest of the stages.

To start out, adult lady beetles lay eggs that look like tiny orange footballs.

The eggs hatch into voracious larvae.

Any idea what the orange blob below is?


If you look very closely at the base where the blob attaches to the plant, you might see a clue. That is the outside skin or exoskeleton of the lady beetle larva.

This is the lady beetle pupa. Doesn’t look much like the beautiful beetle that will emerge in a few days, does it?

Keep your eyes open this spring for lady beetles. Learn about the kinds of lady beetles living in your neighborhood and watch for their life stages.

2. Sea angels are incredibly beautiful, but you are unlikely to see one unless you visit an aquarium.  They are snails without shells that swim in the ocean.

And they are also “Tiny Killers.”


Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 – 12 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Millbrook Press ™ (March 1, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728415691
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728415697

Want to entice  younger readers? Try the picture book, Beaver and Otter Get Along…Sort of: A Story of Grit and Patience Between Neighbors by Sneed B. Collard III and illustrated by Meg Sodano. It came out in September.

Meet the author and learn more about the book in this video.

Be sure to visit Sneed’s website

and see our reviews of his books in previous posts.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Dawn Publications (September 7, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728232252
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728232256

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher. 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.

Friday #STEM: How Lady Beetles Fly

Yesterday I found a delightful GIF of a lady beetle spreading its wings and launching into flight. It is slowed down enough so you can see the details and I just had to share it!


What is going on?

A lady beetle keeps its flapping wings — which are membranous and flexible — tucked under the harder top (elytra). To fly, it holds the elytra up out of the way. So cool!


(Illustration from Wikimedia)


Now, back to my regular programming.

End of Year Photo Matching Quiz

In the past I’ve posted an end of the year list of my favorite photographs. This year let’s mix it up with a matching quiz. Can you match the adult insect with its immature stage or something associated with it? If you want to, leave your results in the comments. Bonus points for correct identifications. Note: Not all letters have been used. All the photos are from 2020.

Adult Insects:

A. She’s a big-eyed beauty on a stick.

B. This mimic may fool you because it resembles another popular insect.

C. Often seen visiting flowers.

D. Flies away to the mountains in the summer.

K. The hardest of all, although the answer is here in the blog.

Now match the adults with their life stages or products.

F.  Has a very specific host plant.

G. Sitting on a tree trunk.

H. Hungry, hungry.

I. What life stage is this?

L. Not an insect, but produced by insects.

Have fun!

(The answers are now posted.)

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