The Students in Mrs. Fridson's class asked:
Our first graders, along with Mrs. Cooperman's and Mrs. Dvorkin's classes are starting to learn about Antarctica. We also have a couple of questions. Are there many bugs in Antarctica? Over 100? What is the temperature there right now? This is their summer, but you can't stay there in June, right? That would be winter in Antarctica.Hi Mrs. Fridson's class, thanks for the questions! It seems that the number of species of insects that live on the continent of Antarctica are fewer than 10 (maybe only 3 or 4, but I don't know how many species of spring tail have been described). See my post below. As a side note, there are no true bugs in Antarctica. True bugs are insects in the order Hemiptera (like the giant water bug, a.k.a. the "toe biter"). So if you ask an entomologist about "bugs", he/she will think you are asking about hemipterans (and not beetles or ants or bees or flies, etc.).
I just left McMurdo today, and I'm now in Christchurch, New Zealand, where it is summertime! The temperature when I left McMurdo was probably a few degrees above freezing (so the 30s Fahrenheit). Still chilly, but not too bad, and probably warmer than Michigan is right now. Some people do stay at McMurdo and the South Pole during the winter, but not very many, and you have to have a good reason to be there. You're right, that is when it is really cold, and I will probably never be in Antarctica in June. There probably isn't very much biology to study then, because most living things survive by going dormant (becoming inactive) during the winter months.