MTPR

Bug Bytes

  • Hosted by Glenn Marangelo, Jen Marangelo - Missoula Insectarium

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.

Bug Bytes: Moths Vs. Butterflies

May 7, 2019
Assorted Moths (Lepidoptera) in the University of Texas Insect Collection
By Insects Unlocked - CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61293267

In this corner, weighing in with approximately 700 different species in the United States … the Butterflies. And in the opposite corner, weighing in with over 15,000 species in the United States … the Moths.

While butterflies get most of the attention, moths dominate the order Lepidoptera (comprised of moths and butterflies) with 90% of the known species. But when looking at an individual, how can you easily tell which is which?

Bug Bytes: Spider Silk

Feb 5, 2019
Orb weaver spider.
Missoula Insectarium

Thanks to the children’s novel Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, most of us are familiar with the circular shape of an orb weaver spider web. Charlotte certainly had no trouble creating a new web overnight, but it might be more complicated than you think.

Bug Bytes: Mosquitoes

Feb 5, 2019
Mosquito.
Public Domain

Imagine enjoying beautiful summer evenings without the nuisance of mosquitoes.

Humans and other animals know mosquitoes as annoying, buzzing bloodsuckers. Well, at least female mosquitoes are. Only female mosquitoes suck blood, which they need to provision their eggs with essential amino acids.

Bug Bytes: Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Feb 5, 2019
Mourning cloak butterfly.
Missoula Insectarium

If you live in our northern states, some years spring can’t come soon enough. Seeing your first butterfly of the year must be a sure sign that spring has sprung — unless it’s a mourning cloak butterfly.

Mourning cloaks are a type of tortoiseshell butterfly. Along with a handful of butterflies known as anglewings, tortoiseshells are the first butterflies we see flying in late winter or early spring.

Bug Bytes: Antlions

Feb 5, 2019
Antlion.
Missoula Insectarium

If you’re a Star Wars fan, they may remind you of the Sarlacc and its deadly sand pit in the "Return of the Jedi."

In their adult life stage, antlions are pretty innocent. With long, slender abdomens and two pairs of translucent wings, they resemble dragonflies or damselflies and mostly feed on nectar and pollen.

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