Cambridge Outdoors

playing, learning, and being outdoors in Cambridge, Mass.

Arthropod Resources

There is no comprehensive citywide species list or census of arthropods, or indeed insects, however, there is this:

Insects and other arthropods identified at Fresh Pond, 2005–2014

Elevator Pitch for the Arthropods

One kind of arthropod we know as insects. When found in abundance, they are a key underpinning of bird populations. Large open space areas in cities—in Cambridge, including Fresh Pond, Alewife Reservation, and Mount Auburn Cemetery—are chosen as significant nesting sites by populations of migratory birds because of the safe habitat but also because of the abundant insect food supply. Baltimore orioles, yellow warblers, warbling vireos, redwing blackbirds, and many other species are birds we can see in Cambridge for this reason.

female.cankerworm.moth.at.fresh.pond

Female cankerworm moth (tentative identificiation), Fresh Pond Reservation, 2012.

The cankerworm moth, which can be damaging to trees when overabundant, is just one such arthropod whose numbers are kept in check by birds.

One Amazing Video about Arthropods to Show Your Students

Noah Charney’s Invertebrate Signs in Three Minutes (YouTube), filmed at Middlesex Fells Reservation (near, but not in, Cambridge)

What’s an Arthropod?

An arthropod (from Greek arthro-, joint + podos, foot) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages (paired appendages). Arthropods form the phylum Arthropoda, which includes the insectsarachnidsmyriapods, and crustaceans. Arthropods are characterized by their jointed limbs and cuticle made of chitin, often mineralised with calcium carbonate. The arthropod body plan consists of segments, each with a pair of appendages. The rigid cuticle inhibits growth, so arthropods replace it periodically by moulting. Their versatility has enabled them to become the most species-rich members of all ecological guilds in most environments. They have over a million described species, making up more than 80% of all described living animal species, some of which, unlike most animals, are very successful in dry environments.  Source: Wikipedia. Go to Wikipedia’s Arthropod page.

More Online Resources

North American Insects and Spiders

 

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Empty exoskeleton attached to a Scrub Pine tree trunk, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, South Wellfleet, Mass., July 2016. Photo by Julie Croston.