No comments | Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Spiders are not insects. They belong to a separate group called Arachnids, which also includes Scorpions. A spider's body is divided into two parts linked by a narrow waist. It has four pairs of legs tipped with claws, but no spiders have wings. All spiders can make silk but not all spin webs. There are at least 35,000 species of spider. Most are harmless but a few can be deadly. The banana spider of Central and South America produces 6mg of venom, enough to kill six adults. Other deadly spiders   are the funnel-web, which lives in Australia, and the wolf spider of Central and South America. The black widow and various tarantulas are also very dangerous and can kill. 

Biggest Spider:-

The Goliath bird-eating spider, which lives in South American rainforests, has legs up to 25cm long. 

Smallest Spider:-

A species called Patu marplesi from Western Samoa is the smallest known spider. It measures only 0.46mm long.

Amazing Insects:
Most abundant -
  • Insects called springtails live in topsoil all over the world. There are probably as many as 600 million per hectare. Together they weigh more than the entire human race.
  • There can be up to five billion aphids per hectare in a swarm.
  • A swarm of desert locusts may contain 50 billion insects. One seen in 1889 was reckoned to have 250 billion locusts weighing a total of half a million tonnes.
Stick insects have the longest bodies. Some measures up to 51cm long, including their legs.

Goliath beetles can be 11cm long and weigh 100g.

The wings of battledore wing fairy flies, a kind of parasitic wasp, measure only 0.21mm.

The Longest lived-
Jewel beetle larvae, or young, may live in timber for 30 years or more before becoming adult insects.

The shortest lived-
Male house flies live about 17 days and females about 29 days. Mayflies may live for a single day as adults, but for two or three years as larvae.

Colonies of hundreds of male cicadas make loud noises to attract females. These sounds are as noisy as heavy traffic.

Dragonflies can fly at speeds of 28-32km/h.

Long distance fliers-
Butterflies have been tracked travelling 4,828km.

Insect dishes:
In many countries insects are popular food. Insect dishes include omelette made from silkworms and fried honey bees in China, fried locusts in Thailand and red ant chutney in India. Many of us may eat insects without realizing it- the red food coloring called cochineal is made from the dried bodies of a Mexican cactus eating scale insect.

Bee facts:
Out of 20,000 different types of bee the best known is the honeybee, but not all bees live in colonies like the honey bee. Many live alone and build their own nests.
  • The Brazilian Trigona duckei is the smallest bee at 2-5mm long.
  • Wings of honeybee's beat 11,400 times a minute. These wing movements make the bees familiar buzz.
  • Some people are allergic to bee stings, which can even be fatal. In 1962 in Rhodesia, Johanne Relleke was stung 2,243 times by wild bees, but Johanne survived.
  • Honeybees visit up to five million flowers to make one kilo of honey. They fly total distance equal to flying four times around the Earth.
  • One beehive may contain 50,000 worker bees, these are the bees which collect nectar from flowers to  make honey.
  • Wallace's giant bees are the world's largest at up to 4cm long. They were first found in Indonesia in 1858 but were then thought to have become extinct. In 1981 the bees were discovered.
  • Queen bees can lay two or three thousand eggs a day, as many as two lakh eggs a year. They may live as long as five years, so can produce a million eggs.


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