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Sub-adult Goliath stick insect

9 Oct

Hey everyone! Just wanted to share a video of me holding (just one of) my beautiful sub-adult female Goliath stick insects. These gals will get quite a fair bit larger after their next molt, and be a beautiful green! 

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Holding my Holconia immanis huntsman

22 Jul

Hello all!

Life’s been absolutely crazy lately, between work, school and kids, and unfortunately that leaves little time for much else.  But I really wanted to share my video with you of me FINALLY holding my beautiful Cuddles, the Holconia immanis (or Banded) huntsman.  I’ve had her for a couple of years now, and before she passes, I wanted a chance to hold her.  I know to you arachnaphobes out there, that sounds absolutely insane.

But I love spiders, especially large ones (not the deadly ones exactly), and I guess I built up my confidence holding my Nephila species Golden Orbs.  Neither species are known to be aggressive, though they are both venomous (although they don’t possess ‘medically significant’ venom), and have very large fangs that are not a problem to see.

I started slowly, with coaxing her onto the lid of a container where she nearly walked onto my hand.  Some of you long-time readers may remember I was bitten by a large huntsman (same species) back when I lived in Byfield Rainforest.  And yes, I remember the pain. So, although I really, really wanted to hold her, I prepared myself for the worst…just in case. A few tries later and I was able to get the following video.  Enjoy!

 

Green-headed ant (Rhytidoponera metallica)

10 Sep

The Green-headed ants (not to be confused with the Green Tree Ant-Oecophylla smaragdina) although beautiful close up, are not a lot of fun for people like me. I’m allergic to all sorts of things from antibiotics, to some plants, to apparently ant bites! Although I don’t get full anaphylaxis with ant bites (like I do with antibiotics), I do react to them more than the average person. Especially these guys.

I’ve been bitten on three different occasions by them, and every time a tiny little bite turns into a huge, swollen ordeal.

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Back of my thigh from one bite.

This time, while walking through the front yard, I got two bites on my foot. One I actually felt, and when I looked down an ant was in another spot on my foot still biting.
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So, I decided to investigate what it is about these guys that make me react so badly to them.

First of all, these ants don’t actually cause reaction from their bite. They have a stinger in their abdomen, which injects a
venom. Most of what I read, aside from the Queensland Museum site, made the effects from the sting seem very benign, with reaction lasting at most a day. My foot was swollen for at least 3 days, and even now (9 days later) it still itches near the stings.

The pain I would liken to a shot from a needle, than a burning sensation. It feels similar to a bee sting. After that, it’s painful with the swelling, feels very hot, and the true itching starts when the healing starts… and boy is it bad.

So, what in the venom causes all of this drama? Formic acid-a naturally occuring organic acid used in many applications. But most notably, the main ingredient in ant venom. 🐜

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Formic acid

These ants are common in yards,
so (needless to say) I’m going to be a lot more careful going shoeless, or sitting, in the grass from now on.

Winners announced!

9 Sep

And the winners are…

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Thanks to all that played in the giveaway. The hubby was kind enough to do the hat draw for me.

Be sure to stick around. More awesome insect features to come, with more giveaways in the future!

Giveaway being drawn today!

9 Sep

Hey all! Last chance to get in on the draw for a Carim Nahaboo print!

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Here are the rules to get you in the drawing for either one A4, signed and numbered, limited edition @carim_nahaboo print of one of the following: **Brachypelma smithi (Mexican red knee) Pepsis grossa (tarantula Hawk Wasp) Thysania Agrippina (white witch moth) Bombylius major (Bee-fly)** OR
an A5, sepia toned invert compilation print. (Not signed or limited edition.)
RULES:
1. Like this post
2. Be a follower on Instagram and/or here on the blog.
3. Repost this post on Facebook, and let me know in the comments below that you did so.
And while you’re at it, be sure to go give Carim a follow and check out all of his amazing artwork at http://www.carimnahaboo.com

Contest closes in a few hours!!! (Open worldwide.)

Time for a Giveaway!

2 Sep

Okay, you’ve waited long enough. Here are all the details for the giveaway!

For this contest, we are giving away either one A4, signed and numbered, limited edition Carim Nahaboo print of one of the following:
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**Brachypelma smithi (Mexican red knee) Pepsis grossa (tarantula Hawk Wasp) Thysania Agrippina (white witch moth) Bombylius major (Bee-fly)**

OR

an A5, sepia toned invert compilation print. (Not signed or limited edition.)

RULES:
1. Like this post
2. Be a follower here on the blog and/or on Instagram at Wannabe_Entomologist. 
3. Share this post on Facebook BUT you must mention in the comments here that you did so!

And don’t forget to mention which Carim Nahaboo print you would like most!

And while you’re at it, be sure to go give Carim a follow on Instagram (@carim_nahaboo) or check out his blog at http://www.carimnahaboo.com and check out all of his amazing artwork.

Contest closes September 9th, 2015. (Open worldwide.)

It’s giveaway time again!

1 Sep

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It’s giveaway time again! Details coming tomorrow on the website and on Instagram. Follow me on Instagram at @Wannabe_Entomologist and come back tomorrow for full details!