Millennium Post

Wonders of nature

A butterfly is exquisitely beautiful and a bat is grotesquely ugly – but they are perfectly designed according to their needs. Nature has no defined parameters for its creations and can amaze you with its unique dispositions.

Do butterflies and caterpillars sting?
No, butterflies or moths do not possess the capability to inflict a sting.
Are butterflies poisonous?
Yes, some species of butterflies are poisonous. Most butterflies that are poisonous are orange in colour. It is a warning to other animals to not eat them. Some species that are not poisonous are also orange though, this is called batesian mimicry, and they use the warning colours to discourage predators even though they themselves are not poisonous.
How do you differentiate between a grasshopper and a cricket?
Crickets have long antennae while grasshoppers have short ones. Crickets make sounds with the help of organs on their forelegs, while these organs are on the abdomen of the grasshoppers. Crickets make sound by rubbing wings together, while grasshoppers do so by rubbing their hind leg with their forewings. Grasshoppers can be seen in both days and nights, while crickets come out only at nights. The feeding habits of grasshoppers differ from that of grasshoppers. While grasshoppers are herbivorous, crickets are predatory in nature and are both omnivorous as well as herbivorous. Grasshoppers are mostly green to blend into grass or vegetation though there are many bright coloured varieties of grasshoppers in the world. Crickets are mostly dark coloured (black or brown) to blend into the night or vegetation. Crickets have ears in their legs, whereas grasshoppers have ears in their abdomen. Grasshoppers can fly, also jump higher. Crickets' wings are mostly absent, and they do not fly.
Are grasshoppers poisonous?
It depends on which kind of grasshopper. Some species are perfectly edible. Others contain chemicals that make them poisonous or at least so noxious that almost nothing will eat them. Such grasshoppers often display bright colours as a warning to predators. For example, some grasshoppers, when you pick them up, exude a foamy liquid with an utterly nauseating smell. There isn't any bird that will eat these, and even ants seem to avoid them.
How can you distinguish between male and female butterflies?
The colour pattern on the upper wing (dorsal) surfaces often differs in many species of butterflies. For example, in species of Blues, the male's dorsal wing color is often bright blue, whereas that of females has lots of brown. Another good way to tell the difference between male and female butterflies is by behaviour. Males are often perching or patrolling in search of females, and females spend a lot time searching for plants on which to lay their eggs. The final and definitive way is to examine the abdomen. Females tend to have rounder abdomens. Males have a slit at the tip, and females have a round hole from where the eggs are laid.
What months are you most likely to see fireflies?
It depends on where you are. Fireflies are found on five continents throughout the world and can appear at different times of the year depending on the local climate. They tend to like warm, fairly wet weather. In India, they tend to appear in June, July, August, and September.
Do bats eat fireflies?
Yes, bats feed on adult fireflies.
Why do bats hang upside down?
Bats hang upside down to roost and sleep because the bones in their hind legs are lightweight and cannot support a bat's body weight in an upright stance. While they rest, bats wrap their wings around themselves like a cloak.
(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to
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