A Rainbow of Insects

A Rainbow of InsectsThis is my new fair project for the Calumet County Fair.  You can see it at the fair this weekend, August 29-September 1, 2014.  I worked hard collecting all the bugs for this collection, but it was fun.  This year, the bugs in the collection are organized by color.  My favorite in the collection is this Northern Walkingstick:

WalkingstickSome of my other favorite bugs in the collection are the Seven-Spotted Ladybug, the Carolina Grasshopper, and the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

This is the third collection I’ve entered at the fair.  My first was the Insects of High Cliff, and my second was The Insect 4-H Club.

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Giant Clam

Giant ClamThis is a giant clam.  It is also called pā’ua or taklobo in other countries.  Its scientific name is Tridacna gigas, which I think is funny sounding.  It lives in shallow coral reefs in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans.  The largest clam ever found was 4.49 feet long and weighed 550 pounds, and you can see its shells at the Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland.  But the one in this picture isn’t that big.  We saw it at The Seas pavilion at Epcot.  Many people think that they eat people, but they don’t.  They actually eat algae and plankton.  The giant clam and the algae have the strangest symbiotic relationship in the world.  The clam’s mantle provides a habitat for the algae, but then the clam eats the algae.  The mantle is really brightly colored, which confuses predators and filters the sun’s UV rays.

The giant clam’s status is vulnerable, and it is one of the most endangered clams.   It is considered a delicacy in some countries, and people used to buy the shells for decoration.  Today there are hatcheries releasing them back into the wild.

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Blue-gray Tanager

Blue-gray tanager

This is a blue-gray tanager.  It is also called a blue jean.  It lives in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America.  It has been introduced into Lima, Peru and Hollywood, Florida.  It lives in gardens, farmlands, and forests.  It eats fruit, nectar, and insects.  They like to live in flocks of three to five.

The bird in this picture lives at the Amazonia aviary at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  Some of the other animals in the aviary with it are red-capped cardinal, two-toed sloth, sunbittern, roseate spoonbill, Goeldi’s monkey, and more.

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White-faced Whistling Duck

White-faced whistling duck standingThis is a white-faced whistling duck.  It has a wide-spread range in both the Old World and New World.  In the Old World it is found in Africa and Madagascar, and in the New World it is found in the Caribbean islands and Central and South America.  It is called a whistling duck because its call sounds like it is whistling.  Its scientific name is Dendrocygna viduata.

White-faced whistling duck swimmingThe white-faced whistling duck lives near still freshwater lakes.  It usually nests on the ground, but sometimes nests in trees.  It lays 8-12 eggs.  It eats seeds and plants.

We saw the duck in these pictures at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  We went there this summer.

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The Insect 4-H Club

The Insect 4-H ClubThis is my project for the Calumet County Fair this year.  I got the idea from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., which we visited this summer.  We saw a beetle collection that was in the shape of a beetle!  I thought that was cool, so I wanted to make a bug collection that was in the shape of something.

The Calumet County Fair is today through Monday, August 30-September 2, 2013.  Besides my project, the fair has an Australian animal show!  And I like chickens, so you need to see all the chickens at the fair, too.  I’m working at the 4-H food booth on Saturday at lunchtime, so if you come on Saturday, stop by and say, “Hi.”

If you can’t come to the fair, you can see my project below.  Click on the picture to see it big.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I had an insect collection at the fair last year.

The Insect 4-H Club, full view

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Paper Birch Tree Octopus

Pair of paper birch tree octopi

These are paper birch tree octopi.  They are also called Wisconsinite Tree Octopus and pigmy tree octopus.  They only live in paper birch trees.  We found these on our tree this morning.  They are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals.  They eat the bark and leaves on paper birch trees, and they also eat the aphids that are on the tree.  They have no bones, so they can hide from predators under the bark of the tree.  The predators are three different types of hawks: the red-tailed, the sharp-shinned, and the Cooper’s.

Female paper birch tree octopusIt is easy to tell between the female and male tree octopus.  The female is pink, and the male is brown.  Just like their cousin, the giant pacific octopus, they have a tube on the bottom of their head that lets them make a quick escape if a predator is coming.  They pump air into the tube and can blow the air out fast.  The paper birch tree octopus is related to the endangered pacific northwest tree octopus.  It is not related to the octowalrus.

Male paper birch tree octopus with Raymie

The paper birch tree octopus is quite common in Wisconsin, but they are hard to find because they hide under the bark.  They are just starting to come out for the year, so the next time you are out for a walk, look for them on birch trees.

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Mystery Bug

It’s time for another Raymie’s Zoo game!  This is a mystery bug.  Its species is already on my website.  You have to leave a comment and guess what species it is.  In a few days I will tell you what it is.  Have fun!

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Insects of High Cliff

I joined 4-H this year, and this is my first project for the Calumet County Fair.  It’s called “Insects of High Cliff.”  I call it this because I collected all of the insects at High Cliff State Park.  My dad and I went to High Cliff a bunch of times this summer to collect the bugs, and there are 30 bugs in all in that box.  There is a map of the park, and we pinned the bugs where we found them in the park.  We got the idea from a bug collection that we saw this summer at the Field Museum in Chicago. We numbered each of the bugs so that you can look on the side and see what kind of bug it is.

My favorite insect in the project is the Grapeleaf Skeletonizer, which is number 4.  But I have a lot of favorites.  I used a blue number tag for my favorites.

I liked going to all the different areas of the park to catch insects.  I started collecting bugs for this when I went camping at the beginning of July, and we went back to the park to visit the Red Bird Trail, the Indian Mound Trail, the beach, and the Forest Management Trail.

The project is on display this weekend at the Calumet County Fair in Chilton, Wisconsin, on August 31-September 3, 2012.  If you go on Saturday, I will be working at the 4-H food booth during lunch.  You should also see a Miller and Mike show while you are there.

You can also get a closer look at my project by looking at the picture below.  Click on it to make it bigger.

 

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Scarlet Ibis

This is a scarlet ibis.  Shhh!  Don’t wake it up!  They get their scarlet color from eating red crabs.  They are the only red shorebird in the world.  When they are juveniles, they are brown, gray, and white, with a tiny bit of red.  As they grow up and eat more crabs, they turn red.  They are related to the American white ibis and the bare-faced ibis.  Like all ibises, they have a beak that is curved down.  They live in South America and Cuba, and some people have said that they have even seen them in Florida, but this is rare.  Usually you only see the American white ibis in Florida.

I saw the scarlet ibises in these pictures at Sea World in February 2011.

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Turtle Car

This my car for the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby this year!  Its name is Speedy the Turtle.  It is supposed to be a Southern Painted Turtle.  We picked that turtle because it has a cool orange stripe down the middle of its shell, and we think it looks like a racing stripe.  My car number this year is 58.

The most fun part was going to the hobby store and picking out the paint colors.  We used leather brown, dark green, flat black, cadmium yellow, and international orange.  We used a paintbrush to paint the turtle car, instead of the spray paint that we used on last year’s flamingo car.

The race is this Friday.  Wish me luck!

Update: 1/17/2014

Speedy the Turtle won every race he was in!  That was two years ago.  I made a car last year, and I’m working on a car right now, and I’ll make posts about them soon.

In the comments, Macon asked to see the bottom of the car.  So here it is.  You can click on the picture to make it bigger, just like any other picture on my blog.

Turtle Car, bottomWe cut out an area for his belly and for his tail, so it is like his wheels are on his legs.  We originally painted his belly to look like the bottom shell of a Southern Painted Turtle, but we had to sand it down because we were a little over weight.  On the bottom near the back wheels, you can see three spots where we drilled holes and put weights inside.  Then we filled up the holes with wood putty.

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