Who eats who in an ecosystem

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View of Table Mountain from Edith Stephens Nature Reserve

In April 2015, learners from Harvester Primary in Mitchell’s Plain travelled by bus to Edith Stephens Nature Reserve in Philippi.

 

 

 

 

 

We investigated ecosystems and the how the animals and plants are all connected and depend on each other for food and shelter in one big web of connections. The best part was being outside and catching a variety of animals in a plastic jar. Everyone had to be careful not to damage them.

Finding animals under a rock
Finding animals under a rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest animal they saw was the carpenter bee with his distinctive yellow and black stripes. The children were fascinated to hear that the shape of the flower is designed for a bird with a long beak but the carpenter bees ‘cheat’ by chewing a hole at the base of the flower to get at the sweet nectar. Bees and flies are also attracted to the showy orange flowers and a wily lizard lay in wait to catch a meal.

Carpenter bee feeding on Leonotis flowers
Carpenter bee feeding on Leonotis flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking closely at how the carpenter bee feeds
Looking closely at how the carpenter bee feeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butterflies, moths, bees, beetles, ants, millipedes, snails, spiders and grasshoppers were just some of the animals that they caught. Back in the classroom everyone was able to see what the animals looked like under the microscope. The moving parts, coarse hairs and huge eyes were interesting to see but the children  seemed to be most amazed by the size of the chewing mouth parts (called mandibles) of the grasshopper .

Boys are really good at catching fast moving bugs
Boys are really good at catching fast moving bugs

Kauthar Jacobs commented “I enjoyed being here because I did practical work outside and learnt about animals. I feel very happy because I experienced a wonderful day”

 

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