Train your little ones to be wildlife detectives as you go on an adventure looking for our top nine nifty bugs to look out for near the water!
With their long bodies, bright colours and big eyes, these are mini-predators of ponds and watersides. They swoop up and down the water edge catching smaller insects and sometimes eating their prey on the wing.
Check out the ground below long grass for wolf spiders. These are mottled brown spiders which chase down their prey with their fast running action. You will sometimes see females carrying a big white sack of eggs.
Ladybirds, with their bright red-and-black polka-dot patterns are easy to spot. But have a close look for their larvae, which are hungry predators of aphids and other tiny bugs. The larvae are torpedo-shaped and studded with spikes and usually blue with orange spots.
In the evening you may be lucky enough to hear the chirping of bush-crickets as they call from a hidden spot in the undergrowth. Warm evenings are the best time to listen out for them. They make their calls by rubbing their wings together and have ears on their knees!
If you find a sunny spot with some open flowers, look out for small bee-like flies, feeding on the pollen. These harmless hoverflies sometimes fly in across the sea in large numbers to feed on flowers here in summer and autumn.
These stripy snails are not just found in gardens, but can be spotted in any area of long grass feeding on the lush vegetation with their thousands of tiny teeth. Check out the way the shells spiral. Most are ‘right-handed’, meaning they turn clockwise from the tip to the opening.
These mini predators hide in the dark under logs and stones. They have lots of legs, some of which they use as feelers to search out their prey. Centipedes have a nasty pair of fangs which injects poison into their victims, often worms or slugs.
Shaped like a medieval shield, these bugs are well camouflaged with their green and brown colouring. They drink the sap of plants by sticking their tube-like mouths into the stems and sucking away. The young stages, called nymphs, are like mini-adults.
Lift up a decaying log and you are almost certain to find these land based relatives of crabs and shrimps. They love damp, dark places and feed on rotting material. They have all sorts of funny names such as ‘cheesy-bug’ and ‘woodpig’.
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