Brownfield sites? These are sites some might call ‘wasteland’, ‘post-industrial land’ or ‘derelict land’. These could be disused railway sidings, former quarries, abandoned industrial estates, amongst other things. Historically incredibly human-modified – one might wonder why, as a conservation scientist, I would be interested in brownfield sites. Brownfield sites do actually harbour biodiversity. In fact, these sites might support many nationally rare and scarce insects … Continue reading Brownfield Biodiversity
Kathy Darragh, PhD student in the Department of Zoology, writes: Due to the visual nature of humans, when we think of communication in nature, we tend to focus on things we can see. In many groups, however, other types of signals, such as chemicals, are the main form of communication. These chemical signals are harder to detect, and therefore to study, meaning they have received … Continue reading Exploring Chemical Signals in Butterflies
Think of an animal of winter and what comes to mind? A robin? A swan? A snow flea? Yes, you read that right, a snow flea. This is just one of the more surprising winter animals you can find out about today on day eleven of our 12 days of winter wildlife. Scroll down for more surprising winter wildlife, and a surprise snowflake craft – … Continue reading 12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Surprising Winter Animals
Researchers have discovered significant variations in the ability of different UK butterfly species to maintain a suitable body temperature. Species that rely most on finding a suitably shady location to keep cool are at the greatest risk of population decline. The results predict how climate change might impact butterfly communities, and will inform conservation strategies to protect them. The results, published in the Journal of … Continue reading Provide shady spots to protect butterflies from climate change
Sridhar Halali, graduate student researcher, writes: “While wandering amid the forests of India, I had always been struck by a few butterfly species, which seemed to exhibit different wing patterns in the wet and dry seasons. This is called ‘seasonal polyphenism’, and I found out subsequently that this phenomenon is one of the adaptations to the seasons experienced in the tropics. The wet season form … Continue reading Why do butterflies change their wing pattern with the seasons?
We are excited to announce that this year’s BioBlitz will be taking place in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden from 5pm on Saturday 19 September to 5pm on Sunday 20 September. During this 24 hours we will be counting as many species as we can in the garden. You can take part by visiting the garden and adding your data to the Cambridge BioBlitz 2020 … Continue reading BioBlitz 2020 at the Botanic Garden
Stanley Quek, an MPhil student focusing on assessing the effectiveness of the Nature Ways network in Singapore, writes: Singapore is an island country in the biodiverse region of Southeast Asia. Singapore is also a large city, with urban landscapes dominating the island. In the past, Singapore was completely covered with dense primary forests and mangroves, however, much of that has been lost with the development … Continue reading Singapore’s Nature Ways
We love a good butterfly in the Museum. Find out how to take part in our Summer Butterfly Challenge to feature in our online gallery and enter the prize draw for a Wildlife Explorer Kit. Continue reading Summer Butterfly Challenge
Have you been following the insect photo diary of Prof Bill Amos of the Department of Zoology? Here it continues with beautiful butterflies, unusual moths, and surprising flies. You can see more of Bill’s photographs on the blog: An Insect A Day for bee fly, orange tip buttefly and parasitic wasp. An Insect A Day continues for scorpion fly, shield bug and click beetle. An … Continue reading An Insect A Day Part 10
This is the final Nature Classroom post before the summer holidays. We hope you have been enjoying exploring the natural world with us this term. We thought we would finish the term with some fun activities engaging with the wildlife on your doorstep. There is information about a fantastic citizen science project from Butterfly Conservation, as well as wildlife-watching activities as part of Summer at … Continue reading Watching Summer Wildlife
Welcome back to our online Zoology Live festival. Continuing our celebration of all things insects and invertebrate, today we will be exploring insects on the wing. Join us TODAY at 4pm when we will have new films and LIVE interviews with Museum Research Assistant Matthew Hayes, who will he sharing butterfly-spotting tips with us, and dragonfly expert Duncan Mackay, here to answer you questions about … Continue reading Zoology Live Day 2: Minibeasts part 2
The Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) is one of the most recognisable springtime butterflies. Over the last few weeks, many of you will have seen the males, with their distinctive orange wingtips, and the cloudy white females in your gardens. Now is a good time to see the start of the next generation of the butterflies, by searching for the butterfly’s beautiful amphora-shaped orange eggs on Garlic … Continue reading Butterfly Eggs
Task: Have a look out of your window. What animals can you see? Can you see a robin with a red breast? The robin shows this off when defending its territory. What about a peacock butterfly with ‘eyes’ on its wings? These are used to confuse animals that might want to eat it. And have you seen a brown bird – perhaps a sparrow, dunnock … Continue reading Exploring Evolution through Colour
Open your window and watch the wildlife. Take part in Open Your Window Bingo! and turn your wildlife sightings into points. Keep a record of what you’ve seen and see how it changes over the coming weeks. Continue reading Open Your Window Bingo!