The Beetle Kingdom - a brief introduction for children and families by Benedict John Pollard
It is a widely accepted notion amongst Natural Historians that there are more species of beetle on Earth than any other group of organisms. Estimates vary from 400,000 to as many as over 2 million different species, with vast numbers of species yet to be discovered, especially in the beautiful humid tropics.
Where to find beetles?
Beetles have an amazing diversity of habits and habitats and are an essential part of the interconnectedness of life. They can be found on the ground, on grasses, shrubs, trees, flowers, inside stems, under bark, under logs, in puddles, in birds’ nests, ants’ nests, badger setts, rabbit warrens, in grass tussocks, fungi, rotting wood, amongst algae, under driftwood on the sea shore. Some are active in the daytime, and others emerge at night. Broader habitats include meadows, pastureland, forest, lakes, ponds, streams, on sand dunes, rock-pools, cliff ledges, saltmarshes, reedbeds, and even one can find many interesting species in old industrial wastelands. One can even start looking simply, by just inspecting leaves as you walk by. This is how I started, just a few years ago. The image below is of the Alder Leaf Beetle which was thought to be extinct in Britain, after being recorded in the Victorian era. In just the last couple of years it’s population has suddenly undergone an ‘explosion’ and it is being reported all over the country in Britain, which goes to show that there is so much to learn, as nobody is quite sure why it has made such a remarkable ‘comeback’.
There are 1.4 billion insects for each one of us. Today, many species are faced with extinction. Individually, insects may not seem really interesting - unless you get down on the ground or view them under a microscope to look at their amazing complexity.
Actually they are the invisible force working throughout the world to keep it running. They do everything from feeding us to cleaning up waste! Most of this involves wildlife, which insects keep going along because they are the base of the food chain for fish, birds, or mammals. Their pest controlling role is so valuable - and the way in which they can recycle a dead body or decompose plant life.
And think of the Bees! Bees have been making honey for us since Egyptian times.
So insects are our friends - let’s be very very grateful and look after them!
Life is a real learning adventure and as we grow up we are asked to learn to think - and while we grow up we can become our special selves and have our own way of thinking and feeling. We can express ourselves to others. We learn to speak, we learn to smile and laugh, we learn to cry, to sing, to dance, even to shout. We learn to crawl, to stand, to walk, to run, to climb, to jump, to hop, to skip, to play with others - friends, animals and toys. These are such fun. All the time we are thinking and learning we can remind ourselves that we are special and we are loved. We remember to love ourselves.
We all learn colours, numbers and the alphabet at primary school. People often call this at school the three R’s - reading, writing and arithmetic! These help us to do many things like explain what we see, what we want to do, to communicate with our family and friends - to enjoy ourselves!
Numbers are fun! Eenie would like to tell you a few things about numbers here so that you can learn with your family and friends.
Welcome to the Learning Corner!
Eenie introduces us to some of his insect and animal friends, to different places, to the ways of the weather and to the wonderful world. Eenie also shows us how to feel happy and healthy- to feel strong and brave. We can create our own special life every day so that we can also enjoy being with friends, family and everyone we meet every day. READ MORE >
Dr Linda Spedding creates this charming world of Eenie, the sparkly snail who enjoys wonderful adventures, sights and sounds - despite his very small stature- in a world where right values are illustrated and rhymed as memorable guides for young children.