Life in the City – Humans alter city habitats for plants and animals

Cites are ecosystems, just like a forest, desert, and prairie are ecosystems. As human populations grow and move to urban areas, cities expand into other ecosystems. Plants and animals must adjust to the rapid changes that result. Humans are the biggest threat to organisms, but why are cities challenging environments for plants and animals? Let’s learn more about one of the largest and growing ecosystems on land… cities!

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It’s Complicated: Plant-pollinator relationships differ from urban to rural areas

Flowers and the butterflies they attract are beautiful additions to any yard, but your garden is serving a greater purpose. Pollinators – including butterflies, moths, bees, and wasps – depend on plants for survival and are essential for plant reproduction. Plant-pollinator relationships are especially important for agriculture and our food supply. Cities pose many challenges for both plants and their pollinators which could strain their relationship. Find out how cities put pressure on plant-pollinator relationships and what you can do to help!

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Stop and Smell the Flowers: Color-changing spiders blend in to avoid being eaten

Can you think of any animals that can change colors? I bet a spider didn’t come to mind! Believe it or not, crab spiders can change colors from white to yellow depending on the color of the flower they occupy. When an insect arrives at a spider-inhabited flower, the crab spiders use their long legs to grab their meal. Matching the color of their flower may allow crab spiders to hide from their prey and predators. Stop, smell the flowers, and see if you can spot some crab spiders!

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Good Vibrations: Katydids communicate when the wind is calm

Bzzzt! Our phones vibrate to let us know that someone has sent us a message and would like to communicate. Hundreds of thousands of species of animals, including katydids, use vibrations to communicate too. Male katydids vibrate their abdomens against plant branches to send information to other katydids, but these communications can be interrupted when wind vibrates plant branches at the same time. To avoid this disruption, katydids wait until the wind calms down to broadcast their signals. “Can you hear me now?”

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“Mite”-y Mothers Protect Their Eggs from Drought

Mother’s Day is near, and what better way to celebrate than by learning about some “mite”-y moms! When predatory mite mothers are exposed to drought conditions, they prepare their eggs to survive stressful environments. In doing so, mite mothers exert more energy and resources which reduces the number of eggs that are produced and the time the mothers survive.

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