The largest land animal in Antarctica (land animal meaning it spends its whole life only on land and not in the sea) is an insect! Sure, seals and penguins are big, but they spend most of their time in the water and so they are called marine, or ocean animals. This insect that spends its whole life on land is called “Belgica” (pronounced Belle- gi -ka). Belgica larvae are tiny, just 4 millimeters long! Can you measure that with a ruler?
One of the science groups at Palmer is studying how these insects can survive the freezing cold winters, covered in snow. I got to go out with the “Buggers” group yesterday and collect some Belgica with them. Here they are, all ready to collect bugs!
We took the Zodiac boat to Cormorant Island and it was a beautiful sunny day! We collected the Belgica by looking under the moss and rocks and scooping them up with a spoon into plastic bags. Here you can see my friend Natalie, looking for Belgica.
The view from the island was beautiful. Our boat is tied up to the rocks on the right of the picture and you can see icebergs floating on the water in the distance. The orange stuff in the picture is our Mustang suits, which we left near the boat because they are hard to walk around in. You can even see a small penguin colony on the rocks.
This was the first time that I have seen a penguin colony up close, I was so excited!! I had to get a picture with the penguins.
These penguins are called Adelie penguins. They are black and white and have funny beady eyes. The grey ones in the picture are actually baby penguin chicks. They are very cute and feathery but make a lot of noise!
I had a fun time adventuring with the Buggers. What a fun group of scientists! I can’t wait to see you and talk to you all on Wednesday!