We have talked a bit this week about animals that go through different life stages. Can you think of the word for transformation between two very different stages in a life cycle?
Many insects undergo a complete metamorphosis - this is when an insect shuts itself away, in a cocoon or pupae, and emerges as what looks like a totally different animal. Some insects that do this are butterflies. One of Alderney's most famous butterfly species is the Glanville Fritillery - these butterflies are rare on mainland UK, found only on the Isle of Weight's south coast. A changing climate has contributed to the shrink in the species range, as it was once found throughout the UK. There are no other species in the UK that look similar so it is easy to tell when you have seen one!
The fritillary is found in a variety of habitats including woodland, meadows and grasslands. Adults emerge in mid-May, flying about and feeding on the nectar of plants until the end of June. In dry weather they roost on flower heads but if it is windy they will stay close to the ground below clumps of grass. They lay their yellow eggs on the underside of a plant called plantain, up to 200 at a time - taking about 2 days! The caterpillars that hatch are black with a red head and spin silky webs around their feeding plant - plantain. In September they spin a web in tall grass and hibernate until March when they feed on huge amount of plants in large groups. By April they become more solitary and being to pupate - the process to emerging as an adult Glanville Fritillary. Could you draw the life cycle of this species?
10% of insects undergo an incomplete metamorphosis - this means they do not have a pupal stage so change from a nymph to an adult in a day. These species include dragonflies and grasshoppers.
Amphibians also undergo a type of metamorphosis - can you explain the life cycle of a frog?
I hope you have enjoyed the life cycles module! You can find all our resources and activities for this topic here
Have a brilliant half term everyone - we will be enjoying our Wildlife Week so lots of outdoor activities. Please let me know what you're got up to, especially if you are outside doing something with nature - firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
When we get back on the 6th we will be straight in with Durrell's Birds on the Edge project.