This will be short, but I wanted to send an update about how our mealworms have become Darkling Beetles. They started emerging from their pupal stage on Monday, March 31, and most were a very light brown. I think we only have one pupa left, all others have emerged and turned black. I was under the impression that they ate their exoskeletons. I guess not because there are TONS of exoskeletons in the cage. There are still a few dead mealworms that I need to remove, which could be contributing to a strange odor, but with STAAR testing it has been super busy and all of our critters have been locked in a cabinet since Monday afternoon. They were released from the cabinet today to pose for these pictures! To read about our full insect zoo, click here.
I also bought some Flightless Fruit Flies to add to our classroom insect zoo. Who knew there was such a thing? And, shouldn’t they be called Flightless Fruit Bugs since they can’t fly? I haven’t opened the container to see if they really are flightless because they appear to have fully functioning wings and I don’t care to find out yet. We will open them when our Praying Mantises hatch. These little Flightless Fruit Flies are thoroughly disgusting, so your students would love them! You can buy them in a vial at Petsmart or Petco for about $5.99. I think they last a few weeks which is about how long we have had them. They come in a small, clear cylinder which is perfect for passing around. What’s great about them is that you can see the larva growing as the maggots inch around, you can see some pupa that look like little Cumin spice seeds, and the adult flies crawling around near the top. I’ve heard you can put them in a new container with a piece of rotten fruit and keep the colony going on forever. Not so sure about that one. Hopefully the Mantises will finish them off…but what will I do with the larvae? Anyway…the kids had a great time being grossed out!
Funny story–I almost killed the flies. I left them in the car overnight so I wouldn’t forget them the next day. As is typical for Texas, the temperature went from a warm 70 something to freezing overnight. When I found them in the car that morning, nothing was moving. Nada. I set them in a desk drawer at school and they started moving about. I guess they didn’t get too cold! Whew!
–The Pensive Sloth
PS–If you are looking for an activity to review complete and incomplete metamorphosis, look no further! Check out this insect life cycle sort. Perfect for reviewing before the science STAAR test.