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Plants and Animals in the Meadow


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Basics on the topic Plants and Animals in the Meadow

Plants and Animals in the Meadow

Which animals and plants can you find in a meadow? Lie down in a meadow in the summer and observe which animals live in the meadow (e.g., in the flower layer) and which plants grow there. You will be amazed at the diversity of this habitat.

But what lives in the litter layer of the meadow, for example? What other layers are there, and what are the characteristics of meadow animals? In this video and overview, you will learn more about the animals in the meadow, also called meadow creatures – a popular topic in elementary school.

The meadow consists of different layers that divide the habitat of animals and plants. With the help of these layers, you can assign where different animals in a meadow live.

The Soil Layer

The soil layer is like the basement of a house, at the bottom. Can you imagine which parts of the plant are located here?

  • The roots of the plants lie here, through which the plants are supplied with water and nutrients. In addition, the roots give plants stability as they anchor them in the ground.
  • In the soil level, you can find animals such as moles, earthworms, ants, and bumblebees.

The Litter Layer

Above the soil level is the litter layer.

  • It mainly consists of dead plant remains, such as leaves and broken bits of plants.
  • Animals such as snails, beetles, and crickets live here. Some birds also spend time here, especially those that build their nests on the ground, such as the Whinchat.

The Leaf Layer

Directly above the litter layer is the leaf layer.

  • As the name suggests, you'll find mainly leaves and stems of flowering plants here.
  • Creatures that live in the leaf and stem layer include spiders, grasshoppers, and ladybugs.

Flower Layer

The top layer of the meadow is like a roof. The four meadow layers are completed here, just like on the top floor of a building.

  • Often the flowers of meadow plants rise above everything else, forming the top of the meadow. Many insects enjoy the nectar of flowers during blooming season.
  • Above all, flying insects are found here, such as bumblebees, bees, or butterflies.


Animals In the Meadow – Example

Do you remember which layer the butterfly is typically found? Butterflies typically fly around at the tops of flowers.

Look at the illustration of the butterfly: Can you recognize the individual body parts? Butterflies have antennae, wings, and a body. The body is divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen, with three pairs of legs attached to the thorax. Have you ever admired the wings of butterflies?


Imagine, each species of butterfly has a unique pattern, and there are over 180,000 species of butterflies worldwide. Just as varied as the wing patterns are the names of butterfly species, such as the Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Small Tortoiseshell, Purple Emperor, Small Copper*, and many others.

Plants On the Meadow – Example

Do you know any native meadow plants? Maybe you have already seen daisies, bellflowers, dandelions, buttercups, clover, yarrow, or primroses in a meadow.

In the illustration, you can see the structure of a daisy. Many other flowering plants are structured similarly from bottom to top: roots, leaves and stem, flower.


Meadow layer Typical animals Plant part
Flower layer Bumblebees, bees,
Leaf and stem layer Spiders, grasshoppers,
Leaves and
Litter layer Snails, beetles,
crickets, birds
Dead plant
Soil level Moles, earthworms,
ants, bumblebees

Transcript Plants and Animals in the Meadow

Plants and Animals in the Meadow What a beautiful meadow. Look at all the pretty flowers! Researcher Newton is on a journey of discovery here in zir home where zirs friends and neighbors live too! Did you know that a meadow is made of different layers? Each layer is like a floor in a house and animals live in all of them! Let's take a look at the layers together. At the very bottom is the soil layer. It's like the basement of a house. Do you know the name of this animal that's made a home in the soil? A mole! Earthworms and ants also live in the soil layer. Did you know that earth bumblebees, relatives to Newton, also live in this layer? This layer is also important for plants: they absorb water and important nutrients from the soil using their roots. Roots also keep plants attached to the ground. Above the soil layer is the litter layer. Snails, beetles, and crickets live in the litter layer. Birds can also live in the litter layer, especially the ones that build their nests on the ground and lay eggs there, like the whinchat. Above the litter layer is the leaf and stem layer. Can you guess what parts of the plants are here? The leaves and stems of course! Do you recognize any of the creatures that live here? Spiders, locusts or even ladybugs. The last layer of the meadow is the blossom layer. It's like the attic of a house, at the very top. That is where a plant's flowers and blossoms are. You can also find some creatures here like bumblebees, bees and butterflies who all love the sweet nectar of the flowers. Let's take a closer look at this butterfly. Do you know what these parts of the butterfly are called? These are the antennae and this is the body of the butterfly. It has three parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. The butterfly's three pairs of legs are attached to the thorax. Do you already know what we call these? These are the wings. The wings of this butterfly are very colorful. Each species of butterfly has a different pattern. There are almost eighteen thousand different butterfly species in the world! In the United States, however, there are only about seven hundred and fifty species. Let's also take a closer look at a plant now. This is a daisy. Have you ever seen one in a meadow? Down here are the roots. They absorb water and nutrients. Do you know what these are? These are the leaves and here you see the stems. And what is at the top of the daisy? Flowers. Many other flowers are formed the same way. Let's think about what we learned! A meadow is made up of different layers. The bottom layer is the soil layer where we find the roots of the plants and the homes of creatures like moles and earthworms. Above the soil layer is the litter layer. Snails and various beetles live here. And, above the litter layer is the leaf and stem layer where we find spiders, grasshoppers, and even ladybugs. The last layer of the meadow is the blossom layer. Here at the top, you can see bees, butterflies or bumblebees. Newton loves the meadow! Let's see what's waiting for zir over in the next one!


Plants and Animals in the Meadow exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Plants and Animals in the Meadow.
  • What are the different layers of a meadow?


    Here, you can see all of the layers put together. Which ones make sense with the different layer names?

    Each of these animals lives in a different layer of the meadow from the lowest layer to the highest.

    • worm, snail, grasshopper, and bee

    Remember that there are some hints in the names of the layers that may help you match the layers.

    Where is the soil? Where are the stems? Where are the flower blossoms?


    Here are our layers from bottom to top:

    - Soil layer

    - Litter layer

    - Stem & leaf layer

    - Blossom layer

  • Which animals do not live in the soil layer of the meadow?


    Remember to choose all of the animals that apply! There are many animals that live in the soil layer, but also some that live in a different layer of the meadow.

    Think about what animals do in the soil layer. Do they fly? Dig? Walk? Which animals here do those activities?


    The mole, earthworm, and ant all live in the soil layer, as we can see in the picture above. The bumblebee lives in the blossom layer and the snail in the litter layer.

  • What layer of the meadow does Newton like to hang out in?


    Remember, Newton is a bumblebee.

    What do bumblebees like to take from plants? Nectar. Which layer gives a bumblebee access to that?


    Newton belongs in the blossom layer because he is a bumblebee. Bumblebees collect nectar from flowers, which can be found in this layer of the meadow.

  • What are the parts of the butterfly called?


    Remember that the body is separated into 3 parts. The other two parts can also be seen in the image below, but they are not parts of the body of the butterfly.

    Other insects also have some of the same parts of the butterfly. They usually make up the body.


    The butterfly has 5 different parts: the antennae, the body, which consists of the head, thorax, & abdomen, and the wings.

    The five parts are:

    1. antennae
    2. head
    3. thorax
    4. abdomen
    5. wings

  • What are the different parts of a plant?


    Remember the different functions of the plant parts to help you.

    • Roots: absorb water and nutrients
    • Flower: attract insects
    • Stem: supports the flower
    • Leaves: absorb sunlight

    Here is a sunflower that has the same 4 parts. See if it helps you complete the labeling.


    Here we can see: roots, leaves, stem, flower.

  • Animals in the different layers of the meadow.


    There are at least 2 animals for each layer of the meadow.

    Look at the layers all separated out. Think about what the different animals you can see do. Which layer do they best fit into?

    • Soil layer is the home of the mole and earthworm.
    • Litter layer is the home of the snail and beetle.
    • Leaf & Stem layer is the home of the ladybug and grasshopper.
    • Blossom layer is the home of the butterfly and bee.