Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nature's Adaptations

On Wednesday, we had a round robin for the third graders of Acton Elementary. Great bunch of kiddos! Chris did a program on food webs, Miranda covered habitats and I did a program on nature's adaptations.

One of the topics I covered was camouflage. This topic always fascinates me! How an animal can blend so perfectly with its environment utterly blows me away. They don't have mirrors, so how do they know what they look like? A frog can't possibly see its back, so how does it know it matches the mud seamlessly?

When shooting the photos of the handsome Leopard Frog, I stumbled upon this Blanchard's Cricket Frog. Blanchard's Cricket Frog, Acris crepitans blanchardi, is a sub-species of the Northern Cricket Frog which is a Species of Special Concern for Indiana. (Also, very pleased we have lots of these around.) The frog caught my eye when it hopped. It was so cryptic it took me a while to locate it. Can you see it below? It is right in the center of the photo. In the above photo, look for the dark indentation and go down a little and to the left.

Below is another pair of photos I used for my program. These wonderful photos are from John Howard. John thought this was a dead leaf at first, until he saw it move! The caterpillar, a Rose Hooktip, Oreta rosea, is on the right side of the dead leaf.

Below is a shot of the caterpillar on a green leaf so you can see all of its parts. The "tail" is what intrigues me the most. It looks just like the petiole, or stem, of a dead leaf! The adult moth also mimic dead leaves having a yellow and brown coloration to its wings.

Thanks, John, for sharing your amazing caterpillar photos. The students and teachers really enjoyed them!

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