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The Isle of Man

27 Sep

Every once in a while I decide to look through my blog stats. I like to see what search terms were used to find the blog (I use this info for future posts), how people find me (i.e. search engines, facebook, etc.), and where the traffic is coming from, as in country.

Recently, I had a hit from The Isle of Man. Some (or a lot) of you may know where that is, but I had never even heard of it. So, I decided to do some research on it.

image

Yep, that little red circled island is it. Here’s what wikipedia tells us about this tiny isle:

“The Isle of Man, otherwise known simply as Mann, is a self-governing British Crown dependency located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is represented by a Lieutenant Governor, but its foreign relations and defence are the responsibility of the British Government.”

So then I thought I’d look up what insects were known to be on The Isle of Man. There weren’t too many out-of-the-ordinary ones, but I did find one that is definitely worth a mention. (Plus, it happens to be a part of one of my top four favourite orders of insects…Orthoptera. (Katydids, grasshoppers, and crickets.)

Meet the Speckled bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima).

image

Photo cred: insektoid.info

And perhaps the most intriguing thing about these creatures, and I’m sure the reason for their common name, is the look of the nymphs of this species. How amazing is this?

Now, Im not sure why someone on Mann happened to cross paths with my little blog, but it sure was interesting getting to know more about it, and its lovely inhabitants.

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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…

eating spider

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…

Cavespider06

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.

What is it?

13 Sep

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.

 

goliath

Photo credit: amazingamazon.com.au

1.

a. My worst nightmare

b. Goliath Stick insect

c. Amazonian tree grasshopper

Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org

2. 

a. Mole cricket

b. My worst nightmare

c. Burrowing Southern cockroach

3. 

a. Belthar’s Dark scorpion

b. African Cave spider

c. My worst nightmare

Photo credit: orionmystery.blogspot.com

Photo credit: orionmystery.blogspot.com

4. 

a. A pumpkin seed

b. A leafhopper

c. Early instar (development stage) of a grasshopper

5. 

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