Tag Archives: amateur entomologist

Giant Waterbug/Toe Biter

15 Jan


Like my new hair accessory? Now, before anyone goes warning me about this bad boy “biting” me, I’ll let you know it’s dead. I found it that way. And if you don’t know what this beautiful creature is, it’s the Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus insulanus). Or more commonly known as the Toe Biter, in many parts of the world.


These guys feed in water (although they can fly)on small fish, tadpoles and your toes, should you step in the water. Just kidding…sort of. 


As you can see in the picture, their front legs have a small hook like claw, helpful when pulling in prey. They feed (put simply) by sticking their mouthpart, known as a rostrum, into their prey,  injecting a saliva that helps liquify it, and then sucking it up.

And I’ve heard rumor that a piercing from one of these guys is quite painful. But aren’t they stunning to look at?

Giant Northern Stick Insect

24 Nov

My female Giant Northern Stick Insect finally molted to adult. Also known as the Wuelfing’s Stick insect (Acrophyllas wuelfingi), this big beauty is one of Australia’s largest stick insects, with the female of the species reaching up to 210mm (8+ inches)!

Here’s  a picture of her when I first got her. I’m guessing she was at least 3rd instar (3rd stage of development after two molts).


And here she is now, just 5 short months later…


Just like other stick insects, Wuelfing’s are parthenogenetic, which means the females do not need a male to lay viable eggs. All offspring from these eggs will, however, be clones of the mother.


These beautiful creatures will live for up to a year, and can produce hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. I will be doing a follow up post addressing stick insect eggs and their care.

Any questions? Email me at wannabeentomologist@gmail.com


Neuroptera larvae

22 Sep

I won’t even try to guess whether these alien beings are owlfly or antlion larvae, but consider that two years ago my discovery of these made me think aliens had in fact landed, and I’m just happy I can ID these weird suckers…to a point.


I was doing my nightly “flip everything over to see what turns up” rounds when I stumbled on these guys. They looked like chunks of dirt,  but those gorgeous mandibles were a dead giveaway.

So, although these things seem to have just landed from somewhere in outerspace, they are just the larvae of lacewings, antlions, and owlflies in the order Neuroptera. (More on that later ;))

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.


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.

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. 🐜


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.

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:

**Brachypelma smithi (Mexican red knee) Pepsis grossa (tarantula Hawk Wasp) Thysania Agrippina (white witch moth) Bombylius major (Bee-fly)**


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

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.)

Can you see me?

29 Aug

Went for a family trip yesterday to a beautiful place called Rainbow Beach. We stopped a few times along the way, and I was able to get a lot of great pictures of many interesting things. I’ll post more of them tomorrow, but for now can you spot what’s in the picture? The camouflage is incredible!


Spring has sprung!

23 Aug

Spring is definitely here in Australia! So far I’ve had my Spiny leaf (Extatosoma tiaratums) eggs start hatching.


Then a praying mantis ooth I’ve kept finally hatched into around 20 tiny, adorable baby mantids.


And now my Goliath Stick insect (Eurynema goliath) eggs have begun to hatch. What an exciting week!!