Archive | September, 2014

Giveaway Reminder!

30 Sep

Hey all, really quick post (before a follow-up later) to remind everyone about the September giveaway.

To catch you up,  you must be a follower of the blog (by email or as a WordPress blogger) to be eligible. At this point I’m not going to be fussed about whether or not you share this post but a kind share of the blog from time to time would be appreciated. 

And here are the three fabulous prizes you get to choose from should you win!!

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Real cicada framed picture.

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Dragonfly bracelet

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Real scorpion cuff links

So, come on! What have you got to lose? Draw will be in just a few hours. 

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What is it?

28 Sep

Quick post to ask if you can teĺl me what is in this picture.  There are actually a couple of things going on here but I’ll post the answer and more pictures tomorrow.

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Rookie mistake…mind blown.

22 Sep

What’s arachnophobia?

Fear of spiders, right?

Okay, now what’s an arachnid?

A spider, right?

Wrong!  Well, sort of wrong…and right.

According to Dictionary.com, arachnid is defined as: “any wingless, carnivorous arthropod of the class Arachnida, including spiders, scorpions, mites, ticks, and daddy-longlegs, having a body divided into two parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen, and having eight appendages and no antennae.”

Now, I’m sure there are plenty of you out there that are like, “Duh, Lisa, we knew this.” But I didn’t!  I thought spiders were arachnids and arachnids were spiders. Period.

See, I love spiders.  So, in turn, I thought I loved arachnids. But, for those of you that know me, I despise ticks.  I can deal with the rest but ticks…no.  So, sadly, I suppose I’m not actually also, in addition to a wannabe entomologist, a wannabe arachnophile.

We learn something new (hopefully) every day.

The naming of the Spiny’s!

21 Sep

So, quick post to update everyone on what I decided to call my three gorgeous Spiny Leaf’s. I’d like to thank everyone who had suggestions, either here or on Facebook, but I’ve decided on the following:

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This beautiful girl will be called Lucy. Partly because my daughter Charlie came up with it on her own and also, to pay homage to an Aunt of mine (yes, named Lucy) who is the polar opposite of me when it comes to insects.  So, what’s funnier than naming one after her?

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This guy will be named Ricky. And for those of you old enough, you’ll know why. But as a funny aside, my uncle, who is married to my Aunt Lucy, is also named Rick! Funny, huh?

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And, last but not least, this guy shall be named Groot.  Thanks again to my pal Michael on this suggestion. If you’ve seen the movie Guardians of the Universe, this choice will be a Keanu Reeves ‘whoaaaa’ moment.

So, there you have them.  All named and feeding happily on eucalypts in their home in my office.  And besides probably being annoyed with me for wanting to hold them a hundred times a day, they seem to be relaxing into their new space.

Introducing, my Spiny Leaf Insects!

18 Sep

Hi everyone!  I am SO excited to introduce you all to our three new family members!

Introducing…………

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#2

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and #3 (Hallelujah!)

and #3

What are these beautiful, crazy-looking creatures, you ask?

These are Spiny Leaf insects from the insect order Phasmatodea.  These guys feed on a variety of eucalyptus leaves, as well as wattle trees and rose bushes.  Apparently, if you feed them the latter two, they will turn a beautiful shade of green whereas, the eucalyptus, will keep them brown.

When faced with  a ‘predator’ (like me) they will sway their body to resemble a leaf blowing in the wind.  It’s kind of cute, that even when I’m holding them, they will do it.  And as you can see from picture #2, they are dedicated to their role; sometimes freezing in pose for quite some time.  I noticed, that even while at rest in the cage, they will have one or two legs up in the air as if it were a branch.

The female has the ability to bear offspring even without the help of a male companion.  This is called parthenogenesis.  I discussed this topic, regarding Goliath Stick insects, in a blog post HERE.  So, even when they do not actually mate, the female will still be able to have babies– although they will all be female and clones of the mother.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about these insects is that when the female lays eggs they look like seeds with a knob on the end. Then ants, thinking they are seeds, carry them to their nest, eat only the knob and leave the rest.  When the babies hatch, they even resemble ants and are able to move amongst the colony unnoticed and eventually leave.

The adult of this species can reach anywhere from 15 to 30cm!  So, stay tuned to see the progress of these little babies.

And just in case any of you are ‘insectphobic’, here are a couple pictures of my girls holding them.  😉 (Please ignore the blur, they were being ‘leaves’.)

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Before I go, I want to ask for your help to name these three.  At this point, I’m assuming two males and a female but hey, maybe we can come up with some neutral names to cover all three.  Think outside the box.  Sure, Larry, Moe and Curly (get it, Curly?) are good but I like the unique…obviously.

Also, to support my Insect Education program for local schools, please visit this link and donate whatever you can to bring insect education to local Queensland schools.

Now you see me…

15 Sep

See anything? 

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No? How about now?

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Yes, there’s a rock but anything else?

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How about now?

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Ok, now there’s something.

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Hello there!

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So, what were they?

14 Sep
Goliath Stick insect

Goliath Stick insect

Australia’s largest Phasmid (leaf/stick insect), this baby can top out at 25cm (9+ inches!).  The females are larger than the males and although they have wings, they’re not very useful, unlike the males. Perhaps the coolest fact about these creatures is that the female doesn’t even need a male to have babies; a type of reproduction called Parthenogenesis (from the Greek parthenos, meaning ‘virgin’ and genesis, meaning ‘birth’.)  All eggs, however, will hatch into female clones of the mother, whereas if she were to mate with a male, the offspring can be male or female.

Mole cricket

Mole cricket

So, although when I first saw one of these I thought it was in fact my worst nightmare…it is simply a mole cricket.  In the same family as your average cricket, this guy looks more like an alien cousin.  And if you can actually get past its creepiness and hold one (which I have) you’ll be simply delighted to find out that those strong little paws (more like hands, if you ask me) are quite strong and they will persist in trying to dig free. Or they may just give you a quick little (harmless) bite. Fun.

African Cave spider

African Cave spider

Okay, I admit, even being a spider-lover, this guy could easily be categorized under ‘Worst Nightmare’.  Even more so when you watch Fear Factor and people actually had to eat them…alive.  Not enough money in the world…

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Anyway, this African Cave dweller can range from 7.6-60 cm (that’s 3-23.6 inches) in size and its pedipalps (one of the second pair of appendages near the mouth of a spider or other arachnid that are modified for various reproductive,predatory, or sensory functions. – thefreedictionary.com) act like those of a mantis and help them to grab and hold onto prey.  But here’s the clincher-they don’t have any venomous fangs and are harmless to humans.  Which is why people do this…

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Next, is this little anomaly…

So, here’s what I’ve discovered on this little guy; it may or may not be a leafhopper, it may or may not be a shield bug.  Nymph? Adult? The site I found this on had no further information and when I went to research it, I couldn’t find much.  So, this will be one for either my insect friends to help on (wink, wink) or I’ll have to put in some late nights at the library.

To be continued…

Now, I know most of you will think that this is a totally Photoshopped image of a spider but how do you know spiders don’t have great teeth close up?  The answer to this one is, clearly, the look my friends give me when I say I like spiders.