Monday, November 24, 2014

Blue Morpho Butterfly, Coconut Crab, Hummingbird, and Metamorphosis (developmental system)

Blue Morpho Butterfly

The Blue Morpho butterfly is among the largest butterflies in the world. The top of their wings are blue and they reflect light, and the underside is dull brown which camouflages them to protects them from predators. When they fly the bright blue and dull brown contrast each other making it look like the morpho is appearing and disappearing. They live in tropical forests of Latin America from Mexico to Columbia. Blue Morpho Butterflies only live for 115 days so most of their lives are spent eating and reproducing. Their diet changes through the stages of its life. As a caterpillar it eats leaves from various plants, but once it become butterflies it can no longer chew so it drinks food instead: rotten fruit, wet mud, decomposing animals, tree sap and fungi.

Coconut Crab

The Coconut Crab is the largest arthropod on land. It is also know as the robber crab or palm thief. They can weigh up to 9 pounds and can grow to be 3 feet in length. They can't swim and will drown if held under water for a long period of time and are commonly found in islands along the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. They got the name coconut crab because they are known to climb coconut trees, pick the coconut and use their claws to open and eat the flesh. They also feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, and organic matter like kittens, chickens and other Coconut Crabs. Fun fact: Coconut
Crabs may have ate the remains of Amelia Earhart.


Hummingbirds are among the smallest species of birds. They are between 3 and 5 inches long and weigh less than a penny. They're know as Hummingbirds because of the sound they make when they flap their wings which is 50-200 times per second. They can fly 15 mph up, down, backwards, forward or sideways. In addition, they have a heart rate of 1,260 beats per minute, and 250 breaths per minute. Hummingbirds have the fastest metabolism of any homeothermic animal. They also have the ability to go into a hibernation like state by slowing their metabolism 1/15th its average rate. They do this in order to save energy when food is scarce.

Metamorphosis System

Many species go through metamorphosis, which is the transformation from larval stage to pupa or chrysalis stage to adult stage. It is basically an incredible growth spurt that requires abrupt changes through cell growth and differentiation. There are two kinds of metamorphosis: incomplete and complete. Incomplete metamorphosis is when development requires repeated stages of growth such as moulting (ie. hemimetabolous insects like grasshoppers and crabs) and the young resemble the adults, they mainly differentiate in size. Complete metamorphosis, which is what homometabolous insects go through, is development that requires a resting stage (pupa/chrysalis) and they emerge in a different form as an adult. The theory is that the pupal stage is the evolutionary compaction of all the nymphal stages of their hemimetabolous ancestors. 

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