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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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  • For insects, it’s not quite that easy. So what’s the next best thing? Have yourself delivered to your food. After a long day, on a night when nobody is in the mood to cook, you might decide to order for delivery.
  • An international team of researchers at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic found a species of termite that takes the act of self-sacrifice to the extreme.
  • Called the “Snail Shell Spider”, this species of huntsman spider has devised a unique strategy to secure a room with a view.
  • Aside from being really small, the petals of cacao flowers curve into a tiny hood that cover’s the stamen (the male, pollen-making part of the flower). This configuration of the petals basically makes it impossible for something the size of a honey bee to get the job done.
  • Instead of collecting pollen in “baskets” located on their hind legs like honey bees and bumblebees, leafcutters are a unique family of bees that really dive into their work.
  • As highly skilled predators, predaceous diving beetles can make easy meals of a wide variety of prey. But it’s their larvae that have the fierce reputation earning them the nickname “water tigers.”
  • Similar to other insects, like honey bees and some wasps, the ants store nectar during times of plenty. But instead of storing this excess food within the nest or in combs, honey pot ants employ a different strategy — overfeeding some of their nest-mates.
  • Sometimes feet just stink. But if you’re a bumblebee, that’s actually a good thing.
  • While out exploring during winter, you may come across an area of snow that appears to have been sprinkled with pepper. There are small black dots all over the place. If you take the time to look closely, you may notice that these dots are slowly moving — sometimes even jumping.
  • There are 3 species of black widows found throughout the United States — the southern, western, and northern black widows. Their appearance will vary depending on species, if it’s a male or female spider, and whether it’s an adult or juvenile.