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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
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.
So, this time I decided to do a multiple What is it? post. Trust me when I say that there are many strange and wondrous creatures out there and here are just a few.
a. My worst nightmare
b. Goliath Stick insect
c. Amazonian tree grasshopper
a. Mole cricket
b. My worst nightmare
c. Burrowing Southern cockroach
a. Belthar’s Dark scorpion
b. African Cave spider
c. My worst nightmare
a. A pumpkin seed
b. A leafhopper
c. Early instar (development stage) of a grasshopper
a. My mother when I told her I was moving out.
b. Totally photoshopped image of jumping spider
c. The look my friend gives me when I say I love spiders