Hunt for insects and other small creatures when the weather is warm. You can collect insects harmlessly by letting them crawl onto your pencil.
What You'll Need:
Magnifying glass (or a "bug box" with a magnifying lens)
You can find insects and other small creatures in shrubs, trees, in the layer of leaves on the ground, and around lights at night. Capture a few insects in a jar, then gently transfer them to smaller jars or bug boxes.
Step 1: Use a lens to take a closer look at your bugs. Count the number of legs first. Insects have six legs. Spiders (and a spider-like animal called a "Harvestman") have eight legs. Isopods (often called "pill bugs") have even more.
Step 2: Look at the shape of the body. Does it have a "waist" (the narrow area between the thorax and abdomen) as ants and hornets do? Does it have a wide shell as beetles and many true bugs often have? What about wings? Not all insects have wings. If yours does, look at the pattern of veins, which are often used to tell one species from another.
Step 3: Carefully draw each of the features in your notebook as you observe. You may want to make separate drawings of the top and bottom views, and close-up studies of wings, legs, eyes, or mouth parts. Let your bugs go as soon as you can. Then find more to add to your collection.
Check out the next page to find out how to look on lakes and ponds for water striders.