Saturday, February 16, 2008

Darkling Beetles

I wish I could report that we got a puppy or a fun pet to raise, but no...the boys are raising Darkling Beetles. On our kitchen counter sits two cups filled with cornflakes, a couple pieces of apple, and darkling beetles/mealworms.
The boys are taking a zoology class at our homeschool co-op. The are learning many new animal facts and are diligently recording the details in their journals. Our oldest son is focusing his animal study on iguanas and our middle son is researching bats. I'll post some of the information we've learned about the aforementioned animals at a later time.
Darkling Beetles are from the Phylum-Arthropoda, Class-Insecta, Order-Coleoptera. Our beetles are still in the larva (mealworm) stage. They are about an inch in length and have a tough yellowish brown exoskeleton. They are cylindrical in shape. They burrow in the cornflakes. We add bits of apple for moisture.
We've learned that the beetles and larvae eat decaying leaves, sticks, grasses and some new plant growth. They are decomposers. They have molted a couple of times since we've had them. The boys were able to examine the molted skin under the microscope. Our oldest son noted that it had a paper-ish appearance.
These little decomposers will continue in their cups on the kitchen counter until they turn into beetles. At that point I think momma will want the little buggers out of the house. At least they're raising something that will stay in a cup.

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