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Crazy Camouflage

8 Sep

Lots of insects and animals are skilled at camouflage but this Spiny Leaf insect (Extatasoma titarum) has taken his disguise to another level.

Can you spot it?

spiny leaf lichen

Spiny Leaf insect on lichen.

Photo credit:

Quiz answers and bug nerd shout outs

14 Aug

So what were your answers?

















The answers are as follows:

1. F, 2. H, 3. B, 4. G, 5. A, 6. E, 7. C, 8. D

1. Bird-dropping (Death’s head) spider

2. Ladybug (beetle) larvae

3. Rhinoceros beetle larvae

4. Mountain katydid

5. Pollen and nectar feeding katydid

6. Whip spider

7. Early instar of an owfly

8. Giant huntsman on my face

Okay, so maybe you were only able to get #8…I did put it in there for a freebie.  (And in case you think I’m completely crazy, you should know that the huntsman was dead…so I’m only half crazy.)

And don’t feel bad, I did not know 1-7 myself before researching them.  But that’s the fun, isn’t it?

We had a couple of people guess all of them correctly, so a special WE shout out to Marc at entomacrographic and to Drhoz.

**Be sure to click on the above links (1-8) to find out more about the featured creatures.**

(All photos property of Lisa Vankula-Donovan unless otherwise stated.)

Strange Insects — Quiz

11 Aug

Every once in a while, I’ve come across something that just baffles me. (I mean besides why they don’t put more jam in jam doughnuts.) But, without having a background in anything related to entomology, it’s sometimes a challenge to figure out what it is.  See, those experienced in the field can look at a number of things to at least narrow it down to an order.  I’m getting better at it but, as you’ll see, some are just plain confusing.  (But, if you’re a follower of the blog, these might not be that hard 😉 )

Can you guess what is what?









Now, match these letters up to the picture you think belongs with it.

A. Pollen and nectar feeding katydid

B. Rhinoceros beetle larvae

C. Early instar of an owl fly

D. Giant huntsman on my face

E. Whip spider

F. Bird-dropping (Death’s head) spider

G. Mountain Katydid

H. Lady bug (beetle) larvae

Post your answers in the comments below or on Facebook.  Answers will be revealed in tomorrow’s post.  I will announce the person(s) that got the most correct.

*All photos property of Lisa Vankula-Donovan unless otherwise stated.**

Hello out there, there, there…

9 Jan

So, I know, it’s been a while.  Look, I am sooooooo not a fan of bloggers who blog and then don’t, and blog and then don’t.  And I honestly never thought I’d go this long without posting but if you must know, I’m a woman of many, many, many interests-too many, if you ask my husband.  Sometimes, others take precedence and right now I happen to be training for my first (tiny, beginner, don’t get too excited for me) triathlon.  And let me tell you that between three children and swimming, running or cycling 5-6 days a week, (oh yeah, there is all that laundry and cleaning and shopping and sleeping) I just could not have been bothered to sit down and post a darn thing.

But here I am.  Because I’m a glutton for punishment…from myself.  What does that make me?

Anyway, I wanted to share a few pictures I’ve taken over the last few weeks-don’t get too excited, I used the iPhone.  But, now that we here in the Land Down Unda are in summer, there are more and more things to find.  I’ll let you know what everything is but I’ll leave the last picture a mystery for another post.  Any guesses?

Just a hole, right?

Just a hole, right?



Well, hi there!

Well, hi there!

I’m guessing (well, hoping)  the above is a Trapdoor Spider.  (Yes, they’re as cool as they sound.) He looks a bit different from the ones I’ve seen so I’m not sure if he’s a juvenile or something else altogether.  There is one that looks sort of like this that I found in the US and is named after the singer Neil Young, true story.  How cool would that be? Find a new species and get to name it after something you love!  My find would be something like, Insecta Wineandpickles.  Anyway, I’ll do more on this guy as I find out more.  Stay tuned!

Blue Eyes Damselfly

Blue Eyes Damselfly

Shield/Stink bug.

Shield/Stink bug.

That Shield bug actually fell out of a tree and into the inside lens of my sunglasses.  My friend I was with remarked how insects were even falling out of the trees for me…they know me too well.

photo (2)

And here’s the mystery insect.  I found this guy near drowning on the side of the kids’ pool.  I wish I had a better picture than this but when he finally came to and started moving, he was quick, and very cooly robotic!  Not smooth movements but a bit punctuated.  His hind legs, as you can see are much longer and when properly standing, sit like a grasshopper’s.  I will tell you this is not related to a grasshopper but I’ll leave the rest up to you to find out…if you can.  Otherwise, look for my post on it.  And yes, I had to ask for help.  I couldn’t figure this guy out, although I did guess the correct type of insect and family.  

So, good luck!  I’ll try to do another post in a couple of days in between reality shows, I mean, naps, no, I mean after my training.  😉