Small Wonders

Discover

Eye Spy

Have you ever looked a spider right in the eyes? If not, you’ve missed one of creation’s small wonders!

Spider eyes aren’t created to focus sharply, like ours. They’re created to see movement. That’s perfect for a hunter. And guess what! Spiders that hunt at night can see in the dark. Their eyes have a special lining that reflects light.

You can see for yourself. Go out at night with a flashlight. Place it on the side of your head, next to your eyes. Then sweep the beam slowly across your lawn. You’ll probably see tiny points of light shining back at you. They’re spider eyes, eyeing your “eye.” Eye spy!

Making Tracks

Have you ever really watched an ant walk? How about a centipede? Ever wondered how these creatures move all those legs together without getting them tangled up? It’s amazing!

Trust me—these little creatures can’t figure it out by themselves—their brains are too small. They just do it, because God programmed that into their genes.

Scientists haven’t figured out exactly how those programs work. But they have learned a few things from “bug watching.” Most creatures have at least two speeds—slow and fast. They do “slow” different from the way they do “fast.” But they always have at least one foot on each side firmly on the ground so they don’t tip over sideways. Also, the legs on the ground are usually moving backward, pushing the bug forward.

Watching those little wonders is way more fun than reading about them. Why not grab a magnifying glass and go out and try it right now?

Breathing Trees

Did you know that green plants breathe? They do! All living things breathe. But the way plants breathe is the exact opposite of the way people breathe. We inhale (breathe in) oxygen and exhale (breathe out) carbon dioxide. Green plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen.

That’s handy for us. With enough green plants breathing nearby, we have enough oxygen to live. Maybe that’s why God put green plants just about everywhere over the earth.

Bag Some Tree Breath

Did you know that with each breath, humans and plants lose just a tiny bit of water? If you’re patient, you can actually see a tree breathe. Try it!

Here’s what you need:

  • A clear plastic baggie
  • Some twist ties

Here’s what you do:

  • Go outside on a sunny day and find a tree that has some low branches. Figure out when the sun will hit those branches.
  • Tie the baggie over a few of the leaves just before sunlight hits them. Then go away for a couple of hours.
  • When you return, you should find little droplets of water inside the baggie. That’s proof that green plants breathe!

Bug Choir

Go outside on a hot summer day and just listen for a while. Hear that shrill buzz coming from a tree? That’s a cicada (say it sih-kay-da).

Believe it or not, that shrill call—especially when lots of cicadas are calling together—is what’s coolest about cicadas. What sounds to us like a bunch of noise is really a whole set of special signals.

Each cicada gives three different pitches—which people’s ears can’t tell apart. And different species of cicadas give different kinds of signals. So that “noise” is really a whole bunch of cicadas shouting a whole bunch of things to a whole bunch of other cicadas. And we get to listen in on the whole noisy wonder!

Fun Facts

  • One acre of grass “exhales” enough oxygen to keep one person alive.
  • Spiders’ eyes come in pairs: either two, four, six, or eight. And they’re always grouped in the way that’s just right for that type of spider. Web weavers have fewer eyes in front. Jumpers have more eyes, even some in back.
  • Male cicadas make that buzzing noise to find a mate. The females don’t buzz—they just listen. But the females are “deaf” to the calls of other species. They can only hear the calls of the males of their own species.

Your Turn

Here’s what one psalm writer said about God’s creation. Fill in the blanks. If you need help, look up the verse in your Bible.

How many are your __________, __________! In __________ you made them all: the earth is full of your __________ (Psalm 104:24).

View this article as it appeared in the print version.

About the Author

Joanne De Jonge is a freelance writer and a former U.S. National Park Ranger. She attends West Valley Christian Fellowship in Phoenix, Ariz.
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