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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

Plants and Animals in the Meadow exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? 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 live in a different layer of the meadow, from the lowest layer to the highest.

    • Worm
    • Snail
    • Grasshopper
    • Bee

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

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

    Here are the layers from top to bottom:

    • Blossom layer
    • Leaf and stem layer
    • Litter layer
    • Soil layer
  • Which animals do not live in the soil layer of the meadow?


    Remember to choose all of the animals that do not live in the soil layer.

    Think about which animals do live 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.

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


    Remember, Newton is a bumblebee. What do bumblebees take from plants?

    Bumblebees take nectar from flowers. 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 of a butterfly is separated into three parts.

    We can see all five labels in this image but two of them are separate from the central body.

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


    Above we can see the butterfly correctly labelled.

    • The antennae at the top.
    • The central body which consists of the head, thorax and abdomen.
    • The wings on each side.
  • 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. The roots and flower have been labelled. Can you use this image to help you label the snowdrop above?


    Here we can see the four parts labelled correctly.

  • Where do these animals live?


    Look at the layers separated out.

    Think about the different animals you can see and what they do. Which layer do they best fit into?

    There are 2 animals for each layer of the meadow shown above.

    • The soil layer is the home of the mole and earthworm.
    • The litter layer is the home of the snail and beetle.
    • The leaf and stem layer is the home of the ladybird and grasshopper.
    • The blossom layer is the home of the butterfly and bee.