As we were driving through the hinterlands of Wyoming over the past few days, we were remarking on all of the bug splats on the windshield of the van. There were a few “juicy” ones– apparently pretty large bugs. I noticed that all of them had more or less clear liquid, and I commented about that to Laralee, which made us wonder (well, made me wonder, anyway) why bug blood isn’t red.
So last night at dinner I opened Wikipedia to take a look, and learned that insects don’t have hemoglobin like vertebrates do… instead, they have something called hemolymph. It’s a (generally) clear liquid that serves more or less the same purpose of distributing oxygen to the internal organs. I was fascinated to find out that insects don’t have circulatory systems, either: no arteries or veins, just an ocean of internal fluid that sort of washes around inside their exoskeleton and bathes the organs in nutrients. Their hearts slosh the fluid around a bit, and in fact they can push it into certain parts of their bodies as needed.
Science is so cool. And I love learning something new every day.