Friday 24th May 2024

This week’s session we focused on symbiosis: the way species can work together in nature for their mutual benefit.  Thanks to an eagle-eyed  Ellie in Year 6 for spotting the red veined dock leaf that was plastered in black and green bugs: aphids.  The children found it harder to spot the green ones, but did see the ants and they sensibly presumed they were eating the aphids.  In actual fact, they were using their antennae to stroke the abdomens of the aphids to get them to produce more sweet honeydew which they like to eat.   In return, the ants protect the aphids from predators such as ladybirds by removing them or crushing them. 

When I asked them for any examples of symbiosis they knew, it at first drew a blank, until I mentioned flowers and then they remembered pollinators feeding on nectar and spreading pollen at the same time. 

We then looked at the forget me nots and Lewis in particular spotted that some were yellow around the edge and some were white.  This was because the yellow is a signal to the pollinators that there is nectar for them and the white tells them they are empty.  Another example of symbiosis.

We also had time to pond dip and it was so encouraging to see so many species in one dip and that the water was so clear.  Please take a look at the video of the pond snail and pond skater on the facebook page.  We also saw waterlice, a diving beetle, leeches and a mayfly nymph.  More on that next time.