Unless otherwise noted, information contained in each edition of the Kansas School Naturalist reflects the knowledge of the subject as of the original date of publication.

KSN - Vol 13, No 1 - Your Nature IQVolume 13, Number 1 - October 1966

Your Nature IQ

by Robert J. Boles

Published by The Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia  

Prepared and Issued by The Department of Biology, with the cooperation of the Division of Education

Editor: John Breukelman, Department of Biology

Editorial Committee: Ina M. Borman, Robert F. Clarke, Helen M. Douglass, Gilbert A. Leisman, David F. Parmelee, Carl W. Prophet

Online format by: Terri Weast

The Kansas School Naturalist is sent upon request, free of charge, to Kansas teachers, school board members arid administrators, librarians, conservationists, youth leaders, and other adults interested in nature education. Back numbers are sent free as long as the supply lasts, except Vol. 5, No.3, Poisonous Snakes of Kansas. Copies of this issue may be obtained for 25 cents each postpaid. Send orders to The Kansas School Naturalist, Department of Biology, Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, Kansas.

The Kansas School Naturalist is published in October, December, February, and April of each year by The Kansas State Teachers College, 1200 Commercial Street, Emporia, Kansas. Second-class postage paid at Emporia, Kansas.

The writer wishes to express his appreciation to Sandra Kennedy, elementary major at KSTC, for her suggestions as to questions to be used.

Your Nature IQ

by Robert J. Boles

What is it? Where does it live? Does it live in America? What does it eat? Does it stay around all winter?

These are but a few of the many questions boys and girls will be asking when they return to school this fall. All summer long they have seen plants and animals-at home, in the park, on vacation. Often they have seen only a silhouette, a leaf, or a track. With the insatiable curiosity of children, they want to know what the plant or animal is, and something about it. Is your knowledge of nature sufficient to provide the answers?

Most of us today have never really developed our powers of observation. Our pioneer forefathers and the American Indian needed only a few clues to draw a conclusion about, or identify, the plant or animal involved. Most often they were correct, as often their very survival depended upon their ability to observe and interpret such clues. Seldom if ever does the existence or safety of boys and girls today depend upon such knowledge. However, the great outdoors - even the street from home to school and back - can become as great picture puzzle game if only we will learn to see and recognize the clues that Nature has provided.

This issue of The Kansas School Naturalist is intended to serve as a test of your lore of nature's secrets. Most of the sketches are of common plants and animals found in Kansas. Others are of "im¬ports," or species that have, either intentionally or unintentionally, been brought into and released within the state. A few of the animals might be seen only in a large zoo.

As you read each question, write down the name of the plant or animal that fits the statement concerning it. Then write down the letter of the sketch that refers to the plant or animal in question. A name may be used from once to several times. Some questions have several answers. Some of the questions concerning the sketches are quite Simple. Others require a more extensive knowledge.

Answers to the questions will be found on page 14. Nature books, nature magazines, and an encyclopaedia will provide additional information. You will find suggestions for the use of the sketches in the classroom on page 15.


The silhouettes of birds shown on the right are species that are rather common in the state at some time of the year. They are not drawn to the same proportions, but the outline or posture should be sufficient to name them correctly. Write your answers on a sheet of paper, and compare with the answers shown on page 14.


  1. Which of the birds would you expect to find associated with people in residential districts and about our homes?

  2. Which bird might have its song described as "a jumble of squeaks, rattles, wheezes, loud whistles, and imitations of other birds"?

  3. Which is the state bird of Kansas?

  4. Which of the birds is classed as a migratory upland game bird?

  5. Which bird is found in large flocks in the fall, and may be seen in a V-shaped formation high in the sky as it moves with its neighbors south for the winter?

  6. Which bird, though not a native of the United States, has adapted to our conditions, and is now considered to be one of our important upland, non-migratory game species?

  7. Which bird is a nocturnal predator?

  8. Which bird is classed as a song bird in some states, but in eastern Kansas is one of our most valuable non-migratory game birds?

  9. Which bird feeds almost exclusively upon small fishes, and builds its home in holes in high banks along our streams?

  10. Which bird is really a thrush, but received its common name because it reminded the early settlers of a song bird of similar appearance in England?

  11. Which bird, along with others of the same species, nests in large colonies, or rookeries, often high in the branches of sycamore trees along our streams?

  12. Which bird makes a practice of impaling grasshoppers, spiders, and even small mice upon thorns and the barbs of barbed wire?

  13. Which of these birds, following its introduction into the United States, has dispersed so widely, and reproduced in such numbers, that it now often interferes with, and affects, the numbers of our native birds?

  14. Which of these birds is a close relative of the once numerous, but now extinct, passenger pigeon?

  15. Which of these birds often choose to escape danger by running, rather than by flying?

  16. Which of these birds produce precocial young?

  17. Which of these birds nest upon the ground, rather than in trees or holes in the bank?

  18. Which of these birds may often be found together in a group called a "covey"?

  19. Which birds display a conspicuous sexual dimorphism?

  20. Which bird would you expect to search for its food of small fish, crayfish, and frogs along the shallow areas of farm ponds and lakes?

  21. Which bird normally lays but two white eggs at a time in a poorly constructed, flimsy nest? (It usually nests several times a year.)

KSN - Vol 13, No 1 - pg 4



Some of the sketches to the right show true horns, some antlers, some structures that are actually somewhere between. In one case at least, the structure sketched is neither horn nor antler. Write down the name of each animal, along with the letter you think refers to the defensive structures developed by this animal. A question may have several correct answers, or an answer may be used a number of times. Compare your answers with those given on page 14.


  1. Which horns are those of a large, black, evil-tempered mammal, not native to the United States, whose common name is usually used to mean the American bison?

  2. Which sketch show s structures found on the largest member of the deer family? What is the name of this animal?

  3. Which of the sketches shows palmate antlers? What is the name of the mammal with such antlers?

  4. Which sketch shows defensive structures that are actually, from a technical standpoint, neither horns nor antlers? What animal has such "horns"?

  5. Usually only the male of the species has antlers. Which of the sketches refers to a species in which antlers are present on both sexes?

  6. Which sketch shows structures that exhibit characteristics of both horns and antlers?

  7. Which sketches show horns of mammals not found in the United States?

  8. The Indians called this majestic animal the Wapiti. Which sketch refers to this animal, and what is the common name usually used for it in this country?

  9. Which of these animals has long been used as a beast-of-burden by the Eskimos in the icy and snow-covered regions of the North?

  10. One of the animals represented by one of the sketches to the right is in serious danger of being exterminated, due to the superstition attached to its "horn." Which animal is this?

  11. Which mammal would you expect to find high in the rocky peaks and ridges of the Rocky Mountains?

  12. Which sketch refers to the speediest of North American big game?

  13. Which sketch shows the antlers of the species of deer which inhabits the eastern half of the United States? It is also most common in eastern Kansas.

  14. This brown, black, and white antelope runs in graceful bounds, and may easily cover thirty feet in a single leap. Which sketch shows the horns of this mammal?

  15. Which of these mammals was the basis of the domestic economy of many Indian tribes on the Western Plains in pre-pioneer days?

  16. Which sketch refers to a North American mammal that is more closely related to the chamois of Asia than to the other mammals of this country?

  17. Which sketch would you associate with the great cattle drives of the Old West?

  18. Which sketch shows defensive structures of a mammal often called an antelope, although it is in a family by itself, not related to the antelope?

  19. Which sketch shows the antlers of a mule deer?

  20. What mammal of northern North America has horns that meet over the head, as in sketch A?

KSN - Vol 13, No 1 - pg 7


Arthropods - animals with jointed appendages and external skeletons - include some of man's greatest enemies and some of his best friends. Below are a series of questions about the arthropods sketched to the right. The sketches are not all drawn to the same scale. Check your answers against those given on page 14.

  1. Which sketch shows a crustacean closely related to the lobster?

  2. Which sketch shows a shiny black arachnid which may be quite dangerous to man or his domestic animals, due to its poisonous bite?

  3. Which insect is highly beneficial due to its habit of eating great numbers of mosquitoes, which it catches about wet and swampy areas?

  4. Which sketch shows an insect that has complete metamorphosis, chewing mouth-parts in the larval stage, and changes from the chrysalis into a beautiful adult which can only suck nectar from flowers by means of its proboscis?

  5. Which insect builds a mud house in which to lay its eggs, and provisions each "room" with spiders upon which its young feed during development?

  6. Which insect is the infamous carrier of the dreaded Bubonic plague, or Black Death, that killed so many people in Europe during the Dark Ages?

  7. Which insect prefers to live in the homes of humans, crawling over his food, and at times spreading intestinal diseases to man?

  8. Which sketch shows one of the most dreaded insects known, as it transmits malaria, yellow fever, and, in Kansas, is suspected of transmitting a form of sleeping sickness to humans?

  9. Which sketch shows a nonpoisonous arthropod that readily "drops" its legs in an effort to escape, may give off a disagreeable odor when picked up, and may be considered beneficial as it often eats aphids, or plant lice?

  10. Which sketch shows an insect related to the grasshopper, which is valuable to man, as it diet consists of insects such as flies?

  11. What sketch refers to an arthropod that prefers to live under such objects as flat rocks, paralyzes its prey with a quick flick of its long, jointed, poison-tipped tail, and may carry its young around on its back until they are large enough to shift for themselves?

  12. Which is a many-legged arthropod that often lives in the homes of humans, and, though mildly venomous, probably does more good than harm by feeding upon insects it finds about the house?

  13. Which of these insects may be used as a "living thermometer," its rate of chirping being closely correlated with the temperature?

  14. Which insect may sometimes be found about street lights at night, though it normally lives as an active predator in streams and ponds, seizing its prey with its strong front legs and sucking the juices from its body with its sucking beak?

  15. Which insect is an excellent example of protective resemblance, escaping from its enemies because it looks like a twig with small branches?

  16. Which of the insects sketched would most likely make its home, especially in the larval stages, inside the wood of trees?

  17. Which of the sketches shows the larval stage of an insect, and into what form will it change after it emerges from its pupal case?

  18. Which sketch shows a near relative of the locusts that were involved in one of the great plagues visited upon the Egyptians during the time of Moses?

  19. What sketch shows the arthropod that serves as the transmitter of the organism causing the serious human disease known as spotted fever?

  20. Which of the arthropods sketched to the right are not insects?

KSN - Vol 13, No 1 - pg 9


Some animals are so secretive that often their tracks are our only clues as to their presence. On the right are sketched some tracks and dens of several common, but seldom seen, Kansas animals. How many of the questions can you answer? An answer may be used several times, or a question may have several answers. Write your answers on a sheet of paper, and check them against the answers given on page 14.

  1. Which of the tracks shown were made by the builder of the den shown by sketch A?

  2. What large mammal makes a surprisingly human-like track, is quite common in such national parks as Yellowstone, and has been seen in a number of places in Kansas during the summer?

  3. Which tracks are those of a long-eared herbivore that is common over the western part of the state?

  4. Which sketch shows the track of a rather large, dog-like carnivore, which has not only held its own, but has actually increased its range in North America in the face of vigorous campaigns to reduce its numbers?

  5. Which tracks is that of a cat? How can you tell?

  6. Which are the tracks of a little burrowing rodent common in the dry, sandy areas of the southwestern part of Kansas and the United States?

  7. Which track is that of a large, amphibious, flat-tailed rodent that served as one of the principal stimuli to the exploration of the Northwest?

  8. Which track was made by the most strictly carnivorous animal represented in the sketches?

  9. Which tracks are those of the most primitive mammal in the United States, a mammal that bears its young prematurely, and then carries them for some time in a special pouch, or marsupium?

  10. Which tracks are those of a strictly North American mammal that is often associated with the legendary pioneer figures of Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett? When young, they make cute, but inquisitive, pets.

  11. Which tracks are those of the most valuable wild fur-bearing animal in the United States?

  12. Which tracks are those of an ungulate that is rapidly increasing its numbers in the state?

  13. Which tracks are those of a small nocturnal rodent that makes up one of the important items in the diet of coyotes and owls?

  14. Which tracks are those of the common Kansas bird shown by sketch C?

  15. Which of the animals whose tracks are sketched might use such a den as is shown by sketch P?

  16. Which mammals might choose such a den as shown by sketch O?

  17. Which tracks are those of mammal that will, if water is present, "wash" its food before eating it?

  18. Which of the animals whose tracks are sketched on the right would find the bird shown by sketch C a choice item to include in its diet?

  19. Which of the animals that might have made the tracks sketched on the right maybe considered to be omnivorous as to its food habits?

  20. Which of these animals would be the fastest in terms of running speed to escape their enemies or to capture their prey?

KSN - vol 13, No 1 - pg 11


The sketches on the right are of several of the trees you might expect to see growing in our yards, on the school grounds, or in the parks. A typical leaf and, in most cases, the fruit of the tree is shown. How many do you recognize? Write down your answers to the questions below, and check them against the answers given on page 14. An answer may be used several times, or a question may have several answers.


  1. Which of the trees sketched produces a nut-like fruit that is relished by both squirrels and deer during the fall and winter months?

  2. Which of these trees is sometimes called the Judas tree, as an ancient rumor reports that Judas hung himself from such a tree following his betrayal of Jesus?

  3. Which is the Kansas state tree?

  4. Which of these trees may become undesirable nuisances due to their tend¬ency to grow along the water's edge of farm ponds?

  5. Which tree produces a very hard, yet flexible wood, used to make fence posts or bows for archers?

  6. Which valuable shade tree Is being killed in great numbers in Kansas, due to a foreign disease spread by a small bark beetle?

  7. Which of these trees has bipinnately compound leaves?

  8. Which of these trees is a member of the legume family, a group of plants that also includes beans, clover, and alfalfa?

  9. Which of these trees produces a nut prized for use in ice cream and candy?

  10. Which of these trees is sometimes facetiously called the "Kansas grapefruit" because of the size and shape of its fruit?

  11. Which of these trees bears large numbers of ping pong-ball sized fruits that are responsible for one of its common names, buttonwood tree?

  12. Which of these trees may often be found in considerable numbers along fence rows, due to the undigested seeds of the fruits passing through the digestive tracts of birds, who often include its purple and red berries as a part of their diet?

  13. Which of these trees produces a wood that is sometimes sold commercially under the name "yellow poplar"?

  14. Which of these trees produces great numbers of soft pink flowers that appear before the leaves in the spring?

  15. Which of these trees produces a valuable wood used in the making of expensive furniture and veneer?

  16. Which of these trees grows to be one of the most massive of all our native trees, some of which may exceed all others in the diameter of the trunk?

  17. Which of these trees was once used as a source of tannin, a dye used by the pioneers to color some of their home-spun clothing?

  18. Which of the trees possesses a light, strong wood used by the eastern Indians in pre-pioneer days to make dugout canoes?

  19. Which of these trees produces fruit that is edible by man?

  20. Which of these trees gets its common name because the female tree produces a white, fluffy parachute to permit the wind to carry its seeds to new locations?

KSN - Vol 13, No 1 - pg 13


Bird Silhouettes
1. A-robin, D-mourning dove, E-starling, I-blue jay. 2. E-starling. 3. F-meadowlark. 4. D-mourning dove. 5. K-Canada goose. 6. L-pheasant. 7. B-great horned owl. 8. G-bob white quail. 9.H-kingfisher.10.A-robin. 11. C-great blue heron. 12. J-shrike. 13. E-starling. 14. D-mourning dove. 15. G-bob white quail, L-pheasant. 16. G-bob white quail, K-Canada goose, L-pheasant. 17. G-bob white quail, F-meadowlark, K-Canada goose, L-pheasant. 18. G-bob white quail. 19. G-bob white quail, L-pheasant. 20. C-great blue heron. 21. D-mourning dove.

Horns and Antlers
1. A-(Cape) buffalo. 2. L-moose, 3. H-reindeer, L-moose. 4. G-rhinoceros. 5. H-reindeer. 6. K-pronghorn. 7. A-buffalo, E-impala, G-rhinoceros. 11. I-Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, J-mountain goat. 12. K-pronghorn. 13. B-whitetail deer. 14. E-impala. 15. D-bison or "buffalo." 16. J-mountain goat. 17. C-Texas longhorn steer. 18. K-pronghorn. 19. F. 20. muskox.

1. O-crayfish. 2. S-black widow spider. 3. F-dragonfly. 4. G-butterfly. 5. P-muddauber wasp. 6. J-flea. 7. K-cockroach. 8. M-mosquito. 9. H-daddy long legs. 10. Q-praying mantis. 11. L-scorpion. 12. R-house centipede. 13. A-cricket. 14. C-water tiger, or giant electric light bug. 15. N -walking Slick. 16. D-long-horned wood beetle. 17. E-grub worm, larva of June beetle. 18. B-grasshopper or locust. 19. I-tick. 20. H-daddy long legs, I-tick, L-scorpion, O-crayfish, R-centipede, S-black widow spider.

Animal Tracks and Dens
1. B-muskrat, M-beaver. 2. L-bear. 3. D-jackrabbit. 4. H-coyote. 5. G-claw marks do not show on cat tracks, as they have retractile claws. 6. J-kangaroo rat. 7. M-beaver. 8. G-cat. 9. K-opossum. 10. E-racoon. 11. B-muskrat. 12. I-deer. 13. F-deermouse. 14. N-quail. 15. E-raccoon, K-opossum. 16. D-rabbit, E-raccoon, F-deer mouse, K-opossum, L-bear (if a large tree). 17. E-raccoon. 18. G-cat, H-coyote, K-opossum, L-bear. 19. E-raccoon, K-opossum, L-bear. 20. G-cat, H-coyote, D-rabbit, I-deer.

Common Trees
L F-pin oak. 2. K-redbud. 3. G-cottonwood. 4. H-willow, G-cottonwood. 5. C-osage orange or hedge. 6. D-American elm. 7. A-honey locust. 8. A-honey locust, K-redbud. 9. E-black walnut. 10. C-osage orange or hedge. 11. J -sycamore. 12. B-mulberry. 13. I-tulip tree. 14. K-redbud. 15. E-walnut, F-oak. 16. J-sycamore. 17. F-oak. 18. I-tulip tree. 19. B-mulberry, E-walnut. 20. G-cottonwood.


The drawings have been placed upon separate sheets so that they may be used in classroom activities. Some suggestions of activities in which the student may become actively involved are listed below.

1. Remove the plates of pictures and, by use of an opaque projector, project them upon the screen.

a. See how many of the children can answer the questions asked in the text material concerning each set of sketches. After doing some of the activities suggested below, retest to see how much the students have improved their know ledge.

b. Permit the children to ask you questions about the pictures.

c. Have the children ask each other questions about the plants and animals shown on the plates.

d. Have the children tell of their experiences with those plants and animals they recognize and with which they are familiar.

2. Assign the pupils reports about the various plants and animals. Encourage them to bring additional pictures of these organisms from other sources, such as current magazines.

3. Have the pupils prepare a list of plants and animals they would like to see included in another issue devoted to the same theme as this one. Better still, let the pupils assemble the pictures (from magazines, newspapers, etc.) and write the text for a "Nature IQ" booklet of their own. The pupils could work individually or as small committees. You may wish to send a copy of the pupils' work to the Editor of the Naturalist. He always welcomes ideas and suggestions from readers. Perhaps your pupils might see some of their work appear in a future issue.

4. Remove the picture plates and place them on the bulletin board. Have the pupils watch for, and record, actual observations outside the school room of the plants and animals pictured. Provide a "record sheet" for them to record their observations.

5. Keep a record, not only of the different plants and animals seen, but the condition and behavior of these organisms. For example, when did the trees turn color? When did they lose their leaves? Did they all change color at the same time? Did they all lose their leaves at the same time? When did new leaves appear? Were the same birds present in the fall, winter, and spring? Record the fluctuations in the numbers of these birds throughout the year. Does this tell you something of their migratory habits? Prepare graphs to show the changes in numbers more clearly to the class.

6. Have each pupil watch for, and record, as many of the pictured plants and animals as he can observe on his way to and from school.

7. Take your class on a field trip. How many of the birds, tracks, mammals, and trees can the pupils identify in the field? Challenge another class to a contest to see which is the most observant, and can find and identify the largest number of plants and animals shown in the sketches in a given period of time.


The Department of Biology presents the tenth Audubon Screen Tour Series in 1966-67. This series consists of five all-color motion pictures of wildlife, plant science, and conservation personally narrated by leading naturalists. All pictures are presented in Albert Taylor Hall at 7:30 p.m. on the dates listed below. Both group and single admission tickets are available; for further in formation write Dr. Carl W. Prophet, Department of Biology, KSTC, Emporia, Kansas, 66801.

Walter Berlet, The Untamed Olympics, October 12, 1966

Charles Hotchkiss, Tidewater Trails, November 16, 1966

John Bulger, Wild Rivers of North America, January 31, 1967

Albert Wool, Ranch Life and Wildlife, March 20, 1967

Patricia Bailey Witherspoon, Colorado Through the Seasons, April 20, 1967.

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