Tag Archives: deaths head spider

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.**

So, what was it?

22 Nov

Yesterday when I did the research on this thing and found out what it was, I had a very nerdy moment of excitement.  Sure, most people get excited over things very different from this, but hey, a chacun son gout.

So, let me just get straight to it.  This funny little mystery is called…

The Bird-dropping Spider!!

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Once again it appears I’m a huge lover of spiders, and I guess I am, but they just seem to find me.  You’ll have to forgive the quality of the pictures.  This little guy was dedicated to his role as poo.  It took a lot of coaxing to get him to move enough just to get a few snaps before he went back into character.  And honestly, had I not prodded so much, he’d have never moved at all.  Great camouflage to fool predators and surprise unsuspecting prey.

The male of this species tends to be on the smaller side at around 3mm.  I’m guessing this one was either a male or young spider because that’s pretty much exactly how big it was.   If you zoom in on one of the pictures you can see some web, and apparently only the young of this species actually make web.  The females of the species are quite large and grow to about 20mm in length!  Oddly enough, it’s the females that are usually found with the males and young being seldom seen.  So this was quite a treat indeed!

My two guesses were a tiny frog and then when I noticed the “legs” had separate fingers, that it was some sort of spider.  I guessed a spiny orb type because of the cream/white “skull” part.  So I was partly right. 🙂

Back view

Back view

The pic above sort of looks like the front view of a tiny frog.

Front view

Front view

The picture above looks like the back of a tiny frog with its legs/knees along its sides.

Fun Facts:

These spiders are also known as Death’s Head Spider because from the top they resemble a skull.

Commonly found in orchards, they are also called Orchard spiders.

Like the Australian Huntsman, the female of this species attack their prey directly and do not build a web.

Adult bird-dropping spiders only capture one species of moth, the Lawn Armyworm.

The male of this species gives off a scent that mimics the scent of the female Armyworm moth.