Invertebrates make up approximately 97% of the creatures living on Earth.
Minibeasts are a great source of protein. Many countries eat insects as part of their diet. Deep fried crickets are a popular snack in Thailand, while ant soup is a warming treat in China. Insects are a very sustainable source of food and may become more widely eaten in the future.
The colour and appearance of minibeasts are key to their survival. Many minibeasts have very good camouflage, blending them into their environment so that they can hide from predators or creep up on prey. Other minibeasts, like the monarch butterfly, have bright colours to warn predators that they are either poisonous or might taste disgusting.
Most minibeasts tend to use their senses of smell, touch and taste to experience the world around them, rather than their sight or hearing. They use features such as antennae, small hairs or taste receptors to do this.
Minibeasts are crucial for our survival: they recycle dead matter and waste products; they help with plant pollination; they are a crucial source of food in the ecosystem.
Seaside minibeasts include crabs, cockles, muscles, jellyfish, corals and starfish.
Some minibeasts produce by-products which humans use. Honey is a well-known by-product from bees, but we also get wax from them. Beeswax is used in lip balm as well as to make candles and to polish wood. Silk comes from silk worms, and scarlet-red food and cosmetics colouring often comes from a secretion produced by the Cochineal bug.
Minibeasts make their homes in lots of places, both inside our homes (spiders) and outside under logs, stones or leaves, in ponds, in trees, in grassand in soil.
Some minibeasts eat plants or flower nectar; others eat other minibeasts!
Invertebrates have been living on our planet for about 550 million years!
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