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MINIA    3' Mini-mysteries for the mouse detective

Michaela Mouse lived in a hole under the roots of a large tree.
One day she heard a tiny tap,tap,tap at the door. When she
opened it, noone was there.

"Down here!" said a tiny voice below.

It was a tiny fruit fly. Next to her were at least ten other
small insects of all kinds.

"You have to help us, Michaela Mouse! You have to!" exclaimed
the fruit fly.

"What's wrong?" asked Michaela Mouse.

"Some of my brothers and sisters have just disappeared! They
just vanished!" exclaimed the fruit fly.

"Mine too!" exclaimed the lady bug.

"Mine too!" exclaimed the sow bug.

Michaela asked, "Do ALL of you have missing brothers and
sisters?"

"Yes!" exclaimed all the other insects.

Michaela remembered her previous detective cases where insects
disappeared.

(Can you guess her first suspect?)

Her first suspect was the web spider who abandoned his web and
hid inside a flower until a bee or butterfly stopped in to sip
nectar from the flower. But those flowers were down by the
creek.

So, Michaela asked, "Where did you last see your missing
brothers and sisters?"

To Michaela's surprise all of the missing insects were last seen
by the wall at the edge of the park, not by the creek. But the
spiders were still her prime suspect.

So, she went over to the flower beds next to the wall. She
inspected the spider webs and the flowers.

"They did it! Didn't they?!" exclaimed the fruit fly. "Those
spiders can't be trusted!"

"No." replied Michaela, "None of these spider webs have a large
number of insects wrapped up, ready to be eaten by the spiders.
And I couldn't find any spiders hidden in the flowers."

(Can you guess Michaela's second suspect?)

"What about the crows then?!" exclaimed the fruit fly, "They eat
insects and I know they can't be trusted!"

Michaela visited many of the birds nests in the park, asking
"Have you seen any crows in the park lately?"

"Not since the magic show." replied all the birds, "The crows
know that they're not welcome here anymore. And we would have
seen them if they came here again."

Michaela inspected the entire park all day but came up with no
clues.

"I couldn't find anything unusual or new in the park that would
explain the missing insects." explained Michaela, "The only
thing new in the park in the last few days are the new flowers
that were just planted in the flower beds."

"What are we going to do?!" exclaimed the fruit fly, "We're
afraid to go near the flower beds for fear we too will disappear
like our brothers and sisters did!"

Michaela thought for a moment, then replied, "I have solved this
mystery!"

"You have?!" asked the fruit fly.

"Yes!" replied Michaela, "You may return to the flower beds near
the wall at the edge of the park, but don't drink the nectar
from the newly planted flowers."

"Why not?" asked the fruit fly.

"Because," replied Michaela, "Those new flowers are
insectivores."

"Insecta... what?" asked the fruit fly.

"Insectivores." explained Michaela, "Insectivores are plants
that eat insects."

"How can a plant EAT an insect?!" asked the fruit fly.

"The blossom opens up like one of those tiger lilies down by the
creek." explained Michaela, "But when an insect lands inside of
the blossom, the petals of the flower close in around it,
trapping it."

(Can you name an insectivore flower?)

Answer: Venus fly trap.

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