Mariton: Camp Day One

July 30, 2012

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Our camp started this week for 4th – 6th graders.  While our theme this year is INSECTS, our goal is to be distracted by every natural wonder that we encounter.   Above the group is looking at a leaf that has been visited by a Leaf Miner insect.

I think these are really cool.  An insect lays its egg in one of the layers of a leaf.  The egg hatches and the baby insect literally mines a tunnel in that layer of the leaf.  The mining is done by eating.  You can see that the insect grows while it is mining because the tunnel gets wider as the insect grows larger.

Another cool type of insect are the gall forming insects.  The adult female injects a synthetic plant hormone into the leaf when she lays the egg.  The leaf starts producing cells that build a shelter around the egg, complete with food and moisture.

We walked into a swarm of these colorful millipedes that covered several hundred feet of the trail.  You couldn’t walk without stepping on at least one.  No, they aren’t insects – but – they are definitely worth a stop to examine.  (All photos by Carole Mebus, our official photographer for Nature Camp.)