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Why do flowers have pollen?

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Every plant contains two parts; the male part is called the ‘Stamen’, which produce a sticky powder called pollen. The female part of the plant is called the ‘Pistil’ and the tip of the female plant is called the ‘Stigma’.

When the pollen from a plant’s Stamen is transferred to a plant’s Stigma, it pollinates the plant allowing more plants to grow! Without pollen, plants would not be able to reproduce!

Why do bees die when the sting you?

Not all bees sting, and not all bees die when they do sting – however if you get stung by a honey bee or a bumblebee they will die a coupe of minutes later.

The reason for this is that the bee’s stinger has little barbs on it (like tiny hooks). These get stuck in the skin and as the bee flies off the stinger stays, but not just the stinger – attached to it are muscles, nerves and part of the bees digestive system. Without these organs the bee can’t survive.bee illustration copy

There’s no need to be scared of bees though. They are really important insects for our environment and only sting if they are provoked or handled roughly.

Do ants and woodlice get on with each other?

woodlouse and flyYes! Woodlice like too feed of decaying material and do not eat any other insect, they are detritivores.

There are a certain species of yellow ants which allow woodlice to live with them inside of their nests, where the woodlice feed on their droppings. In return the ants get a clean nest! A woodlouses main predators are centipedes, toads and shrews.

Ants also build mutually beneficial relationships with other insects. They have been known to farm aphids, getting sugary sap from the small insects in return for protection.

Why is ‘Sticky Weed’ sticky?

Stickyweed

Sticky weed is actually called Galium Aparine.

Great question. I remember launching stickyweed at people throughout my childhood, and if you could get it to stick to them without them knowing it was even better!
Stickyweed is known by lots of names, but it’s proper name is Galium Aparine. The leaves and stems are covered in hooked hairs. These little hooks catch on hair, skin, clothes. Check out this photo that someone took on the Parkroscope.
Apparently you can cook and eat this plant – although I’ve never tried it! Geese love it though, which is why it is sometimes called ‘Goosegrass’.

Why are slugs and snails so slimy?

2015-05-30 17.05.58Gastropods (slugs and snails) produce two kinds of slime one is used for crawling on and the other used to coat the outside of the snail, protecting it and keeping it moist. The sticky slime which surr
ounds a snail or slug, protects the body against rough surfaces such as concrete or even glass!

The slime is made up of a kind of mucus, similar to that inside your own nose. If snails or slugs did not have this layer of protection they would end up scraping themselves on the surface they are traveling on. The slime also acts as a glue allowing the slug or snail to crawl up walls without falling off.

How come everyone’s finger prints are different?

Hands

Our fingerprints are all unique because our outer layer of skin (the epidermis) and the tissue underneath enclose the dermal cell layer between the two; acting like bread does in a sandwich.

As they squeeze together, this “sandwich filling” compresses and wrinkles, thus creating the surface patterns on our fingertips that are unique to us!

How can woodlice live under logs and rocks and not get squished?

Terminator woodlouseWoodlice live in damp, dark places like under rocks and logs. They hate sunlight and like to be in dark and humid areas. Woodlice have a hard shell-like exoskeleton, and 14 jointed limbs. This allows them to tightly roll up into a ball to protect themselves from danger, leaving the hard shell exposed. Woodlice are crustaceans which means they are closely related to lobsters and crabs, however you shouldn’t eat them – apparently they taste like strong urine!

Being small, and having a hard outer shell means the woodlouse doesn’t get squished easily – they are well adapted to those cramped conditions.

Are all feathers the same?

feather illustrationSome feathers are spectacular, others dull; some large, others small; some seem fluffy others silky smooth. So whats the deal?

Well, pretty much all feathers share some key structural features, but different types of feathers fulfil different roles, and help birds achieve different things.

Contour feathers help the bird to fly, and often keep the bird dry. Down feathers insulate the bird and filoplumes act like sensors, telling the bird what the contour feathers on top are doing.

There are other specialised feathers for individual bird species, and the size and shape of feathers varies wildly. The largest feather ever recorded was 34 ft. 9.5 in on a Pheonix Fowl – The smallest hummingbirds are only a couple of inches long, with all their feathers counted!



About

It’s great to explore nature, get your hands dirty, find intriguing things, and ask questions about them. That’s why we made the Parkroscope.

About parkroscopes:

Parkroscopes are tools that help to trigger our curiosity. They are simple, robust microscopes which are placed in parks, giving people the opportunity to look at their environment at a micro level.

The Parkroscopes have several different lenses on top including some which work with your phone camera. You simply lay your phone on top of the scope, line the camera up, zoom in and focus. The bonus of using a phone is that you can take photos of your natural wonders and upload them to this website!

The Parkroscopes project is a final year design project by Tim Powell, who is currently studying a BA in Design, Creativity and Learning at Goldsmiths, University of London. If you would like to contact Tim click here.