Today we got to play with some really fun arthropods! Arthropods are incredible little creatures with tough exoskeletons made of chiton and jointed legs (the prefix arth- means joint and the suffix -pod means foot). There are about 2 million known species of arthropods in the world, and it is estimated that there are about 50 million unknown species! That’s a lot of bugs.
Of the 2 million, we got to play with about 10 different species of arthropods.
We had to handle the arthropods carefully, and Erika, the bug specialist, reminded us to respect the lives of our fellow organisms. I was a little worried about holding the creatures at first (what if I dropped one?!), but I ended up holding all of them! It was super cool getting to feel the little spines on the grasshopper’s feet and feel its tough exoskeleton. Erika showed us how, when she put the grasshopper on the wall, it stuck! Grasshoppers have hooked feet that allow them to climb up tall trees to reach the yummy leaves.
My favorite creature that we got to play with was the Whip Scorpion. These arthropods were super weird-looking and looked like a cross between a scorpion and a spider. They have eight legs, and one leg is extra long, the “whip”. This leg has olfactory receptors which allow the organism to smell. These creatures can smell with their legs! Ms. Nguyen also pointed out that Whip Scorpions were featured in the Harry potter and the Goblet of Fire movie.
I am really glad that we got to play with these amazing arthropods. I didn’t get a chance to see them when I was in Honors Bio, but I remember our teacher had some insects brought in when I was in first grade. Arthropods may look scary, but they’re such cool, crazy creatures!