There’s no denying that this world is full of rockstar moms, and we’d like to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who celebrates! But what you might not know about all-star moms is that the insect world actually has quite a few species that are highly impressive on the parenting front. We’ve got a few examples for you.
Female earwigs are dutiful mothers and are known for protecting their young. They will protect their eggs from predators, carefully cleaning the eggs throughout the process to prevent another threat: fungus growth. If her nest of eggs is threatened, the mother earwig will move the whole gaggle of them. She will continue to guard her offspring until their second molt. That second molt could take up to a few months, so considering that most insects don’t have the best reputation for taking care of their young, this behavior is even more impressive. The mother earwigs will feed their babies regurgitated food as they grow, assisting them until they are able to fend for themselves.
All hail the termite queen! While these pests are highly detrimental to human structures, causing billions of dollars in damage annually, there’s no denying who’s in charge of the termite colony. The termite queen is the lifeblood of any colony. Queens lay all the eggs, which become larvae. As the colony grows, those larvae will become soldier or worker termites. The focus for the first several years after a new colony is established is to grow as much as possible, creating thousands to millions of individual termites… and yes, they all come from the queen. The queen is so important to the survival of the colony that if it’s under attack, worker termites will carry her to safety and work to develop a new home for her colony. Imagine having thousands of children! Termite moms sure are tough.
We know cockroaches are one of (if not the) most hated insects, and we can’t blame anyone for that perspective. Quite frankly, they are gross. But we’re not here to talk about the ick cockroaches give us all, we’re celebrating creepy crawly moms, and they deserve some credit on that front. Millions of years ago, female cockroaches evolved to have a hard structure externally attached to their bodies to carry their eggs in called an ootheca. So, in a way, they have their own version of a baby bump! It doesn’t evoke the same fuzzy feeling going to your cousin’s baby shower does, but it’s something. Not every type of cockroach still has this evolutionary adaptation, though. Some carry their ootheca internally and others do without, carrying their eggs and giving birth without the ootheca structure.
Florida is home to quite a few different types of spiders, but wolf spider moms are particularly noteworthy. To hunt, wolf spiders will seize their opportunity when prey pass their burrows. In some cases, the wolf spider will even chase their prey down. Female wolf spiders carry their egg sacs on their backs but are still able to hunt, even while carrying their future babies. Once hatched, the spiderlings will crawl up to stay on their mother’s abdomen until they’ve grown a bit and can take care of themselves, making the female wolf spider one inspirational caregiver. Move over SpiderMan, SpiderMom is here to save the day! …Or just her babies, but it’s still commendable.
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