Does This Bug You? + Pictures

I should actually be sleeping right now, but instead I'm doing this journal because I thought it would be cool.
My last journal was of places I wanted to visit and the things I wanted to see there, this is of a similar ilk, this is on all of the insects I want to see.
Everyone has their interests, and one of mine is entomology. I know, weird.
So first I'm going to show a few of my favorite insects, and then I'm going to show a few that I want to see.

These guys quickly became favorites of mine as a kid. They make a rather fascinating sound, and are relatively large, generally ¾" to 1" in length.
There is a larger variety called the Empress Cicada with a body length of 2¾" and wingspan of about 7-8".
They are non-aggressive insects, and when handling, their legs sort of grip your skin giving you a grip-release feeling which is interesting.
Also, they have 5 eyes. Two set far apart, and three smaller eyes of the same color which set between them. Observe.

Boxelder Bug
These, along with cicadas, are "true bugs" which basically means that they have a mouth specially designed to tear through tissue (plants generally) and suck out liquid (sap usually).
They only get to be about ½" long, but the red and black is kind of beautiful, and I have fond memories to associate with them.
Also, their diet is bizarrely precise, they seem to feed almost exclusively on boxelder trees (name sake) and ash.

Violet Ground Beetle
First off, the electrical purple these guys have going on is insane.
They grow to between ¾" to 1⅛", they're nocturnal, live off of slugs and worms and the like.
Generally, I just love to see them. Their shell is incredibly hard, I often find them with dented shells but without injury. Impressive.

Generic? meh. I have a crazy fondness for bees, and bumblebees are awesome. They're ecologically useful, and generally pleasant to see. They can be quite large, too, for instance I had one land on me this summer that was close to an inch long.

Also bee swarms are an amazing sight.
I saw this as a kid, it was fascinating. My brother was terrified.

Desert Locust
I grew up with these guys, and I've always kind of lamented moving to the coast and never seeing them (the coast has very few bugs).
I used to catch them a lot as a kid, I loved the thump, thump, thump of them leaping across the grass, I thought their tabacco was fascinating. Yeah... I miss them.

Jerusalem Cricket
I'm not going to lie, when I first saw one of these I was pretty uneasy, but I caught it because I wanted to identify it.
They bite, by the way. Though my wound was nothing like the horror show you'll find on Google images.
Anyway, though this isn't perhaps the insect I'm most fond of, it is definitely one of the most interesting I've found.
Ironically, the Jerusalem Cricket is neither native to Jerusalem or a cricket. Go figure.

Banana Slug
Not a bug, call it "honorable mention", kay?
I know, they're slimey and slow, and leave trails of goo, and it's bad, right? But they're fascinating. First off, it's bright yellow, and slugs are hermephrodites.
These guys are the second largest slug in the world, coming in at about 9¾" in length and weighing 4.1oz.
They have a teeth on their tongue which they use to scrape food off of surfaces, and that "slime" is actually a genius adaptation which keeps them moist in dry environments, also it protects them from injury and infection.
Changes in diet result in changes in coloration, and they move a wapping 6½" per minute. Sexy.

Praying Mantis
Probably the most expressive insects in the world (I feel like he's saying "Whaaaat?") the Praying Mantis is immediately recognizably, it has this guru like presence, and I was always stupidly happy to find them as a kid (actually, that never changed, but you get weird looks for ogling them in parking lots).
These guys come in a variety of different sizes, small enough to feed off of gnats, and large enough to eat the occasional lizard, frog, snake, fish... you get the idea.
These insects have been long revered for their shear efficiency in killing. Whereas most predatory insects liquify the tissue of their prey, the Praying Mantis generally hooks it's spiked foreleg between the head and thorax and uses the other to slice bites off. They also prefer to eat their prey alive, but if they struggle they simply decapitate them.
But gore aside, they are seemingly very intelligent creatures (and intelligence could just be for any living thing, the ability to adapt and react efficently) They generally fly at night to reduce the amount of predators, and are even able to detact a bat's echolocation and evade it. Genius.

Wooly Bear Caterpillar
Honestly, who doesn't love these guys? Besides being cute, they are actually pretty cool, for instance, in the caterpillar stage it winters over and freezes solid, the way it survives this is by producing a cryoprotectant in it's dissue. Evolutionary adaptations are groovy.
Beyond that, they are completely harmless, having no defense by to do this:
After they winter over and finally become moths, they look like this:
Isabella Tiger Moth

Now for the insects I want to see/handle.
I'm not going to lie, most of these are giant sized. Bare with me.

African Goliath Beetle
These are considered among the largest insects in the world according to body mass, Goliaths weigh about 3.5oz to 4oz, and are on average 4.5" long.
Native to the tropical forests of Africa, they are very strong, capable of lifting 850 times their own weight.

Australian Leaf Insect
Because they curl their back end up like this people assume they are scorpion like, but they are leaf insects, and actually very gentle. They are around 6" long, and sway gently on branches to imitate leaves in the breeze. When threatened they produce a scent that to humans smells... well, like peanut butter.
My mom actually has a friend who keeps them, and when he has eggs he says he'll send me some. I'm excited.

Atlas Moth
These are said to be the largest moths in the world according to the surface space of the wing which is around 62 sq in, the wingspan itself is generally a solid 10".
They are known for the snake head design on the wings which help deter predetors.
Sadly, Atlas Moths don't have mouths, but instead live off of fat storage. They're lifespan is very short once emerged from the cocoon, only 3-4 weeks.

Giant Weta
Native to New Zealand, are among the largest insects, at about 4", and 2.5oz.
Yes, actually they do seem kind of intimidating, but are reportedly very gentle, and are often kept as pets.
I'd love to see one "irl".

I should be sleeping right now, so I'm going to throw out another "honorable mention" to the...

Giant Isopod
Relative of the common potato bug/pill bug/rolley poley, these are... amazing.
They are crustaceans, as are pill bugs, and live at considerable debth in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans.
They are between 7.5" and 14.3" with a maximum weight of 3.7lbs.
Their eating habits are odd, they are able to go for years without food, usually though they eat between 1 and 10 times a year.
One famously went on a "hunger strike" for five years before passing, though the otopsy showed no sign of starvation, it felt uncomfortably like Gregor in Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis.

And that's it kids!
I spend time I should have been sleeping, talking about bugs.
Comments? Reactions?

[NOTE: Any typos are the direct result of sleep deprivation]
August 22nd, 2014 at 09:42am