Earthworm Lifecycle

A species of the earthworm can be found on every continent in the world. They burrow through soil and help keep it healthy. Some species of earthworm can grow over 13 feet long, all though most are a lot smaller than that. Even though there are many species, their life cycles can be broken down into four stages.

blue earthwormearthworm

 

Stage One: Eggs

Earthworm eggs take 2 weeks to 3 months to hatch. The warmer the climate, the quicker the eggs will hatch.

A typical egg cocoon will have 1 to 2 worms in it.

Stage Two: Juvenile

The worms hatch as smaller earthworms that lack reproductive organs; this is the main difference between juvenile worms and adult worms. The worms start to develop reproductive organs after they are hatched.

Stage Three: Adult

They are able to use their reproductive organs at around 12 months. At this time they are considered fully matured.

Earthworms can sometimes live for more than 10 years depending on the species. In the United States earthworms range in color from red to brown, and in other countries they can be blue or green.

Stage Four: Reproduction

Earthworms have both organs needed for reproduction; the term used for this is hermaphrodite. This means that all earthworms lay eggs.

When earthworms mate they lay next to each other and pass mucus like substance that allows each worms organs to be fertilized. After the earthworms mate they form eggs inside their bodies. The worms separate and form cocoons around the eggs, these cocoons are slid off the worm as they move through the soil. When the cocoon rolls off the worm, it becomes sealed. The cocoon is buried underground and the hardened walls protect the forming worm.

Teaching Model

Instead of using live worms, there is an earthworm lifecycle model at Heath Scientific that shows different Stages.

The model is made of soft plastic figures that are sculpted and painted to mimic the real creatures.

This makes it simpler show the various parts of an earthworm’s life.

Videos on Earth Worms

Discovery of multiple earthworm species instead of just one.

Short video of a big earthworm.

Where you can learn more

If you want to know more, check out these links or leave a question or comment down below.

Care Instructions for a Hermit Crab

Hermit Crabs

Hermit Crab

The following information is general care information for a hermit crab and is provided by Heath Scientific. Heath Scientific has a full supply of live critters for educational institutions and home school environments. See the Live Critter section of our website.

If you want detailed information on caring for a hermit crab, visit the Hermit Crab Care Blog.

Temperature – 72-88F

Light Requirements – Indirect sunlight (Classroom lighting)

Feeding – Prepared invertebrate diet, supplement with fresh fruits and
vegetables.

Habitat – As a “tree crab” they live on land in coastal areas where it is
warm and humid. They return to salt water to lay their eggs.

Handling – Crabs don’t bite but they will pinch very hard. Handle them by
their shell. They may be placed on the floor for exercise. If they are
inactive, dip them in warm water and they will become active again.

Care – Hermit crabs need little care other than daily food and water
changes.

What Is The Red Liquid That Secretes from a Butterfly Chrysalus?

When an adult butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, it secretes a red liquid that often drips down to the bottom of the habitat. This is not blood. It is actually a liquid known as meconium that is the natural secretions created while in the chrysalis. This is natural and you should explain this to children during a butterfly life cycle project so that they do not think the butterfly is injured or that something is wrong with the experiment.

Caring for Butterflies in Life Cyle Projects

When butterflies emerge from the chrysalis, they are considered adult butterflies. Care and feeding of adult butterflies is important to successfully complete a butterfly life cycle experiment. Adult butterflies do not have jaws that allow them to chew plant material as they did when they were caterpillars. Instead, they have a long, straw-like tongue called a proboscis through which they can consume liquid material. Butterflies are an example of an insect that goes through complete metamorphosis.

The caterpillars diet normally consists of one type of plant, depending on the species. The most popular butterfly used in classroom studies is the Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui. They are available through many different sources and they are a cost effective option. In nature, the larva feed on the mallow plant. In classroom studies, a prepared diet is the best option. The caterpillars each constantly during this time period. The larval stage lasts approximately 4 weeks. The habitat should not be too large as this will make it difficult for the caterpillars to find the food source. If this happens, the larva could starve. One unusual characteristic of the caterpillar is that it has 8 pairs of legs to assist in climbing. After the last molt, only the front 3 pairs will remain.

After the 3-4 weeks spent as a caterpillar, the larva will attach itself upside down and form the crysalis. When the chrysalis has hardened, they should be transferred to a larger container, normally a net type habitat. The filter paper that the larva attaches to can be attached to the top of the net using a paper clip. In 7-10 days, the adult butterfly will emerge. A few hours will pass before the adult is ready to fly.

When your butterflies emerge from their chrysalis, you should place a shallow container of sugar water into the bottom of their habitat or butterfly net. They will consume this during the week to 10 days you have them in the habitat prior to release.

Though butterflies can adapt to a fairly wide range of temperatures, it is best to keep their habitat at room temperature and away from direct sunlight through windows. The time periods listed above can vary depending on the temperature, amount of food and the concentration of larva.

Studying Ant Colony Behavior

Ant History

Ants are insects that developed from wasp-like creatures over 100 million years ago. Today there are over 12,000 species of ants that have been classified.

Ants form colonies that range in population from a few dozen living in small natural cavities to millions that live in larger structures they build in the ground. The colonies consist of three types of ants. Sterile, wingless females, fertile males, and fertile females referred to as queens. The sterile female ants serve as soldiers or workers in the colony.

Ants work together in colonies to build their habitat and recreate. The process can be fascinating to watch for children and adults alike. Due to the fact that most ant colony behavior takes place beneath the ground, humans must use ant habitats or ant farms to observe ant colony behavior.

Ant Farming

The ant farm is designed to study ant and ant colony behavior by offering a great observation tool for the classroom or just for fun. Myrmecologists study ant behavior, and with an ant farm you can take a look into the world of myrmecology (the study of ants).

Close up of an AntTunneling Ants

Ant Farm Types

The Ant FarmAnt Farm by Uncle Milton is a classic ant farm that has a green farm scene with a clear viewing pane surrounded by a green frame. The farm is usually filled with sand, dirt, or other media. These ant farms have a low price point making them accessible to classrooms and families of all budgets. In order to properly care for your ants, you will need to open the ant farm and make sure the ants have food and water. The down side is that this increases the chances of the ants getting out of the farm and into places you do not want them.

In recent years the Ant Farm has been modernized with improvements to visibility. A modern alternative ant farm is the AntWorks Illuminated Habitat

AntWorks Illuminated Habitat

Illuminated Ant FarmThe AntWorks ant farm is completely see through thanks to a gel that NASA developed when studying ants tunneling at zero gravity. The gel holds nutrition and water so that you do not have to provide the ants with nourishment. The AntWorks Illuminated Habitat is available with either red, green, or blue gel. The setup also includes LED lighting in the base so that you can view the ants at night. All of this is housed in a tightly sealed 6.5L x 6.0W x 1.25D clear acrylic habitat to minimize ants escaping into your house, lab, or classroom.

Set Up

Set up of the green AntWorks Illuminated ant farm was easy using the provided instruction manual. After assembling it and testing the LED lights the next step was to go out and find some ants. There are two options for getting your ants, you can either send in the coupon provided with the kit or find your own ants. After finding the ants, they were put into the ant farm which was covered with a towel for 3 days to allow the ants to get used to their new home. After adjusting to life on the ant farm the ants have created a spectacular tunnel system that looks even better in the dark with the LED lights on. They are fascinating creatures to watch and learn from.

For more information, Wikipedia has in depth information about insects including ants . You can always call Heath Scientific as well.