Creatures

ARTIFICIAL BEEHIVE

Movable frames allow the beekeeper to remove honey and wax from each comb.

Invertebrates were the first forms of animal life on Earth. They are the most ancient and most numerous of known life-forms. Some, such as worms, sea anemones, and jellyfish, are soft-bodied. Others, such as insects and crustaceans, are hard-bodied. Some, including jellyfish, live in the water and swim freely. However, others, such as corals and anemones, are fixed in one place. This fascinating world of tiny creatures has over 1.5 million known species, with a wide variety of shapes and habits.

Bees are among the most important insects. They process the nectar of flowers to produce honey, a sugary liquid that humans use as a sweetener and nutrient. The nutritive component of honey is pure carbohydrate in the form of simple sugars, which are directly absorbed by the body. This characteristic gives honey its punch as a quick energy source. Edible in its natural state, it can also be used as an ingredient of desserts or to sweeten drinks. Not only bees, however, but also wasps play a fundamental role in the lives of all living beings. Many plants depend on them for pollination of their flowers. Without these insects there would be fewer fruits and vegetables to eat.

Here we show you the inside workings of a beehive. Did you know that one difference between bees and other insects is the organized communities that bees form? Keeping in mind that each artificial honeycomb has about 30,000 inhabitants, there must be a way to keep order, and the bees know by instinct how to do this. The queen, the drones, and the workers know their roles and duties well. They may even die defending the colony, just like ants, who are also true masters of order and productivity. Noteworthy in the world of insects is their high degree of evolutionary development. They are the highest achievers of the animal world. They live all over the planet, need little food to survive, and escape from predators with highly developed means of locomotion. All insects have jointed legs and an external skeleton for protection. In this book you will also be able to admire the beauty of butterflies and the changes they experience throughout their lives, and you will discover the world through the eyes of a fly. Have you heard that, among the 35,000 known species of spiders, only 30 are truly poisonous, and that without these poisonous creatures we would be swimming in a sea of insects? Also interesting are the many kinds of spiderwebs that spiders use for making traps, mating, moving about, and covering their burrows.

We invite you to explore the pages of this fact-filled book, with fascinating photos and intriguing facts about the inner and external lives of the invertebrates that share our world. Mosquitoes, for example, can pierce the skin of mammals and feed on their blood, and flies can eat solid food because their digestive process begins outside their bodies. No athlete can jump like the flea, a tiny, wingless insect that lives on the blood of birds and mammals. We will also tell you about beneficial insects that can be useful to have in your house, and about others that it would be better to control and keep away, because they can transmit sicknesses such as Chagas disease. Just turn the page to find detailed accounts along with carefully selected images that will show you in full detail how some of the smallest creatures on Earth live, change, grow, and communicate. It is well worth it! •

Origin and Habitat

ANOMALOCARIS

The largest predator of trilobites in the Cambrian Period, it measured up to 20 inches (0.5 m) long.

ANOMALOCARIS

The largest predator of trilobites in the Cambrian Period, it measured up to 20 inches (0.5 m) long.

TRACES OF ANCIENT LIFE FROZEN IN TIME 10-11 THE FIRST CONQUEST 12-

LIFE BEGAN IN THE SEA 1 TEEMING FRESHWATER

ENVIRONMENTS 16-

he first life-forms appeared nearly 4 billion years ago. The main groups of organisms with complex cells (eukaryotes) evolved during the Precambrian Period. Fossils found in Australia and Canada show that those invertebrates had soft bodies, quite different from those that exist today. Members of the kingdom Animalia became adapted to many environments, extending from the bottom of the ocean to the highest mountain peaks. We will show you the oldest species and many of the main groups of today: sponges (phylum Porifera); corals, anemones, and jellyfish (phylum Cnidaria);

shellfish (phylum Mollusca); sea worms and earthworms (phylum Annelida); insects, spiders, millipedes, and crustaceans (phylum Arthropoda); and starfish and sea urchins (phylum Echinodermata).

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