What is a mini-beast? Can you name some mini-beasts? Examples include: spiders, ladybirds, worms, beetles, woodlice, butterflies, moths, slugs, snails, dragonflies, centipedes, scorpions, crabs.
What is a mini-beast? Can you name some mini-beasts? Here are some mini-beast examples: scorpions, butterflies, moths, slugs, snails, dragonflies, damselflies, spiders and beetles. There are many others too including ladybirds, worms, woodlice , centipedes, millipedes and crabs.
Mini-beasts are also known as invertebrates, animals without a backbone or internal skeleton. Instead they have an exoskeleton, which acts to support their body from the outside – a bit like a suit of armour [this means that many mini-beasts have to moult (shed their skin) to grow as they get too big for their exoskeleton] They can take many shapes and forms. Some have lots of legs, some have none (0 – worm, snail, 6 – ants, butterflies, 8 – spiders, LOTS – centipede, millipede) Some have wings (butterflies, beetles) and some do not (spiders, snails) What features help mini-beasts to survive to live on LAND (terrestrial invertebrates)? [there are mini-beasts that live in water too – e.g. crabs, krill]
Mini-beasts can be found in lots of different habitats (e.g. living in the soil or in trees) and they can do this because they have all become adapted to their habitat. What is adaptation? It is the way animals and plants become better at living in their habitat Adaptations allow them to live successfully in their habitat e.g. helps them to get the food they need, to communicate with each other, and to avoid predators Because habitats are different, animals living in different habitats need different adaptations
Mini-beasts need to be adapted to move in their habitat. How are these mini-beasts adapted to move through their habitat? Centipede (Amazonian giant centipede) - has many legs, adapted to move very quickly on the ground (one pair of legs per body segment) Earthworm – burrows through soil, very flexible and can change shape quite easily Snail – crawls/slides along on a muscular foot, covered in slimy mucus, moves slowly (so can’t run away from predators) but can retreat into shell if threatened Dragonfly – can fly, very small, light body
Mini-beasts may need to be adapted to escape predators and avoid being eaten! How are these mini-beasts adapted to escape predators? Ladybird – secretes a nasty tasting fluid when threatened by a predator and has brightly coloured wing cases to warn predators that it doesn’t taste very nice. Monarch butterfly – bright and colourful, advertises to potential predators that it tastes bad. Apollo butterfly – has eye spots on wings which deter predators, looks like a larger creature, red is also a colour that warns of danger. Pill millipede – curls up in a ball when threatened, hard ‘shell’ – physical protection against birds beak.
There are also other ways of escaping from predators – e.g. camouflage Camouflage is a way for animals to hide from other animals by blending in with their surroundings (Top left) Stick insects hide from predators by blending in with their habitat and by staying very still. They have also learned to sway like leaves in the wind. (Bottom right) Peppered moths are cleverly adapted to match the bark of a particular type of tree.
Some mini-beasts are predators, which means they need to be adapted to catch other animals. How are these mini-beasts adapted to hunt other animals? House spider – spins web and eats prey once they get caught and tangled in the web Scorpion – sting in tail and claws called pincers at front which allow them to grab onto their prey and eat it Trapdoor spider – hidden burrow, ambush predator, jumps out and catches prey, uses sensory lines to detect movement (like a trip-wire)
Not all mini-beasts are predators though, some eat plants and are called herbivores. How are these mini-beasts adapted to eat plants? Leaf-cutter ants - very strong . They cut up leaves into small pieces and then carry them back to their colony and use them to grow a fungus which they eat. They don’t actually eat the leaves themselves. Swallowtail butterfly – drinks nectar using long flexible tongue Dung beetle (also known as the Dor beetle) – very strong, collects ‘dung’ to feed its larvae
Winning a mate is also very important for mini-beasts. What adaptations does this male rhinoceros beetle have to attract a female? Rhinoceros beetle – the males have really large horns for fighting other males, and impressing females
Here’s an example of a made up mini-beast species – the flying leaf creeper.
What is a mini-beast? Scorpions Butterflies & moths Slugs & snailsDragonflies & damselflies Spiders Beetles
Invertebrates have an exoskeletonInvertebrates have no backbone orinternal skeleton How many legs? What is a mini-beast? 0, 6, 8 or lots !Take many shapes and forms
What is adaptation?“the way animals and plants become better at living in their habitat” •Adaptations allow animals and plants to live successfully in their habitat. •Animals and plants that live in different habitats need different adaptations.
Things to think about…• How does it move?• How does it defend itself against predators?• Is it brightly coloured or camouflaged?• What does it eat?• How does it attract mates?• Does it live with other members of the same species?• Where does it live? E.g. trees? Burrows? Underground?
Things to think about as you design your mini-beast… • How does it move? • How does it defend itself against predators? • Is it brightly coloured or camouflaged? • What does it eat? • How does it attract mates? • Does it live with other members of the same species? • Where does it live? E.g. trees? Burrows? Underground?