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Bug Bytes from the Missoula Butterfly House
Bug Bytes

As described by Edward O. Wilson — perhaps the best known American biologist, researcher, naturalist and author — invertebrates are "The Little Things That Run the World." And indeed they do, in so many ways. In terms of numbers — while most invertebrates are pretty small, the sheer number of them is astounding. Together, they have more biomass than any other animal on earth.

Learn more about the fascinating creatures that run the world, with Bug Bytes from the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium.

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  • The roaches are messy eaters, leaving bits of foo on their heads. The mites are like a tiny cleaning crew that eats any scraps of food left on the roach’s face.
  • Most Hairstreak Butterflies have hair-like tails looking like a pair of antennae and the colored marks looking like eyes. It appears that the butterfly has two heads!
  • Ouch, that really hurts! But in comparison to the sting of other insects, how much does it really hurt?
  • These six-legged architects regulate the mound’s internal temperature by opening and closing heating and cooling vents they constructed throughout their home, enabling them to adjust air currents to keep their insect skyscraper at the ideal temperature.
  • Instead of slipping on a cloak, two species of moths rely on the unique shape of the scales that cover their wings to go undetected by bats.
  • Male cicadas use their blaring sounds to communicate with other cicadas. Their songs are used as alarm calls, territorial calls, or ballads to woo the ladies.
  • Introducing, the Harvester Butterfly …the only species of butterfly in North America where the caterpillars eat meat. More specifically, Woolly aphids are on their limited menu.
  • While other beetles are known to make various squeaks and hisses, Bess Beetle adults and larvae can make 14 distinctly different sounds to convey danger to the rest of the family, attract a mate, and enable family communications.
  • Lemon Ants prefer to build their homes in the stems of the tree species that survive in Devil’s Gardens. As it turns out, this is not a coincidence. In the eyes of a Lemon Ant, other trees not suitable for housing their kin just get in the way and take up valuable real estate. To make their surroundings more suitable for the continued existence and growth of their colony, it’s the Lemon Ants that rub out any rival vegetation.