Decoda Plays Literacy Month Bingo – Identify a Plant or Bug
Date posted: September 25, 2019
Thanks to two of Decoda’s staff members for tackling the ‘Go on a walk and identify a plant of bug’ square for the team.
Christie: On a recent walk in Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Vancouver, my son spotted this beetle crossing our path. When we got home, we compared the photo we took with other photos on iNaturalist.ca and found our beetle.
The Roundneck Sexton Beetle is a decomposer that eats the carcasses of small dead animals. When a male finds a carcass, he climbs onto it and emits a pheromone to attract a mate. This may not be the most flattering introduction but reserve your judgement! When the female arrives, the pair works together in harmony to bury the carcass. What’s more, if the carcass is too big for one pair of beetles, another pair will join to help in the work. The female beetle then lays eggs near the carcass. Talk about meal planning!
If you are interested in finding out more about this beetle, check out this post. It’s a fun read and goes into more detail about the behaviour of this decomposer and even touches on how they may be used in forensic science.
Heather: I was visiting a friend in San Francisco recently and was quite taken by these beautiful pink flowers by the beach. They are a succulent ground cover. When I used my plant identifier app PlantSnap, I learned that this is Carpobrotus chilensis. Unfortunately, I also learned that it is an invasive species in California, but that hasn’t kept me from using this photo as my computer wallpaper.
A couple of years ago I was very lucky to be in Ohio during the massive cicada hatch which happens every 17 years. We were touring parks and there were cicadas everywhere! They are large insects and make a very distinctive buzzing sound. There are a couple of theories to explain the 17-year life cycle, including predator avoidance and adaptation during the ice age.
One more square to go and we’ll have filled a diagonal line!