Archive for the 'Insects' Category

Spiny Orb Weaver – a.k.a. Araneus cavaticus

spiny-orb-weaver-e28093-aka-araneus-cavaticusThe famous spider from Charlotte’s Web is a barn orb-weaver spider, Araneus cavaticus. Orb weaving spiders produce the familiar flat, ornate, circular webs usually associated with spiders. Orbweavers come in many shapes and sizes, but the brightly colored garden orbweavers, Argiope spp., are the largest and best known. Continue Reading »

Spinybacked Orbweaver – a.k.a. Gasteracantha cancriformis

spinybacked-orbweaver-e28093-aka-gasteracantha-cancriformisscientific name: Gasteracantha cancriformis (Linnaeus) (Arachnida: Araneae: Araneidae)


One of the more colorful spiders in Florida is the spinybacked orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis (Linnaeus) 1767. Although not as large as some of the other common orb weavers (e.g.; Argiope, Levi 1968; Neoscona, Edwards 1984), the combination of color, shape, and web characteristics make G. cancriformis one of the most conspicuous of spiders. Continue Reading »

The Invisible Glasswing Butterfly

the-invisible-glasswing-butterflyA butterfly with transparent wings? Surely not. Yet there is a species that exhibits this trait. Take a close look at the incredible Glasswing, an enchanting species that confounds science.

Greta oto may sound like the name of a silent movie star from Eastern Europe but is, in fact, the scientific name for one of the most exquisite – and little known – species of butterfly on the planet. This butterfly’s claim to fame is that its wings, spanning up to six centimeters, are almost completely transparent. That’s right, you can see just about right through them. Continue Reading »

Odd Wasps Known as Tarantula Hawks

odd-wasps-known-as-tarantula-hawksSeveral species of the wasps known as “tarantula hawks” inhabit the desert lands of the southwest. Pepsis formosa and Pepsis thisbe are probably the two most common. Wasps in the genus Hemipepsis are also known as “tarantula hawks.” The species are difficult to distinguish. Continue Reading »

Giraffe Weevil - a Long-neck Insect

giraffe-weevil-a-long-neck-insectGiven the name, you might think that the giraffe weevil is a very large insect, but that is not the case. The name says more about the relative length of the bugs neck than about its height or body weight.

The insects live in warm climates where their diets consist of plant tissues, seeds and leaves. That may not sound particularly appetizing to you and me, but the bug is an herbivore, which means it chooses to feed on grass and other plants products. Continue Reading »

The Weta - New Zealand’s Weird Creature

the-weta-new-zealands-weird-creatureLots of people really don’t like creepy, crawly things but they can be pretty groovy.

Look at them up close, REALLY close and you may discover where movie directors get some of their ideas for weird creatures!

• the weta is only found in New Zealand and is sooooo old, it has outlived the dinosaurs!
• Weta are large by insect standards but some of the giant weta are ENORMOUS and are amongst the heaviest insects in the world
• The weta is sometimes known as the dinosaur of the insect world
• The weta is more primitive than the tuatara
The weta has changed very little in the past 100 MILLION YEARS! Continue Reading »

The Dangerous Bullet Ant

the-dangerous-bullet-antThe bullet ant ~ Paraponera clavata is native to the rainforests of Southern Nicaragua and can also be found in Paraguay. They are quite big at around 1 inch long, they are a very dark red-black color and are said to resemble a wasp without wings.

This ant has the reputation of being the holder of the worlds worst most painful sting that can be administered by any insect on the planet. The bullet ant gets its name from the fact that a sting from it has been described as identical to the pain and trauma associated with a bullets gunshot wound.
The pain will last for over 24 hours and the natives of Nicaragua actually call this ant the hormiga veinticautro or the 24 hour pain ant ! Continue Reading »

Brief Description of the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect

brief-description-of-the-lord-howe-island-stick-insectThe Lord Howe Island Stick Insect was listed as presumed extinct in the IUCN Red List and is now listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. The adults measure up to 15 cm long, weigh up to 25 g and are a glossy black colour. Neither sex can fly. Unlike other stick insects that hang upside down and move slowly, the Lord Howe Island Stick Insects can walk and even run along the ground. The females have strong hooks on their legs and have a thicker, heavier body than the males.

Their large size has given the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect the nickname of ‘land lobsters’.
The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect was thought to be extinct for the past 80 years. It was rediscovered by a ranger who was rock climbing on Ball’s Pyramid in February 2001. Continue Reading »

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