Children’s book celebrates creepy crawly crusaders

Scientists from RMIT University have turned an insect research project into a children’s book called The Little Things That Run The City.

Creators Kate Cranney, Sarah Bekessy and Luis Mata hope the book will help people understand the important role that insects play in urban environments.

‘Insects spread seeds, pollinate flowers, produce honey, keep soil healthy, help control weeds, and are also food for other animals like lizards and birds,’ Kate said.

‘You could say that insects are Melbourne’s hardest workers,’ Luis said.

During the project, Katherine and Luis enjoyed being out and about in Melbourne’s green spaces to find and photograph ants, bees, beetles and other bugs. They even found a new species of ant living in a eucalypt in Princes Park.

‘Children swarmed to see what we were collecting. Adults were equally intrigued. It’s amazing to see what bugs live in our backyard, right in the middle of the city,’ Kate said.

‘Up close, a seemingly dull-looking insect can be surprisingly beautiful, with patterned wings, strangely-shaped antennae, and body segments that shine with iridescent colours.’

The Little Things That Run The City was supported by the City of Melbourne and will be used as a learning tool in the Junior Rangers program.

For more information, visit urban nature.

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