Tag Archives: entomologist

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…


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.

Superhero Insects and Animals

20 Aug

We all know the story of Spiderman. Well, I don’t know every detail (don’t tell the hubby) but I know that he got super powers after being bitten by a genetically modified spider…or something.

Anyway, it got me thinking, do insects, spiders and some animals really have super powers? Well, apparently some do.

Can you match the ‘superpower’ to the ‘superhero’?


1. Pulls 1,141x its own body weight.
2. Uses a form of morse code communication. 
3. Use photosynthesis for energy.
4. Resistant to high level radiation.
5. Can jump 100x body length.
6. Can fly 20 miles per hour.
7. Can glow in the dark.
8. Can beat its wings 1,046x per second.
9. Run at 50 body lengths per second.
10. Can convert their prey into zombies.


Now, match the above qualities with the super creature.

A. Locust
B. Wasp rider
C. Flea
D. Fireflies
E. Cockroach
F. Parasitic wasp
G. Pea aphid
H. Dung beetle
I. Scorpion
J. Species of midge


As always, answer below in comments or on facebook. 

Photo credits: http://listverse.com/2013/07/27/10-insects-with-abilities-straight-out-of-a-comic-book/

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.)

Hello world!

8 Jan

Well, I did it.  I started my “bug blog”.  I have such a fascination with not only bugs, but animals of every kind.  And honestly, I think I’ve worn out my welcome posting about this stuff on Facebook.  People on Facebook only really want to hear about nice things — not Giant Golden Orb Spiders the size of your hand.

I suppose the funniest comment I ever got was when I was likened to Ross from friends and his obsession with dinosaurs…and of course, his complete blindness to the fact that no one really cares about them as much as he does.  But strangely, I’m okay with that. Because the people that do get it, the people that do enjoy it, are who I’m aiming for.

This blog is a venture of love.  My love for all things creepy crawly….and even sometimes furry and feathered.  I know, that doesn’t fall under the Entomology umbrella, but this is my blog, so there.   And believe it or not, there are a handful of creatures I find absolutely no redeeming qualities in; flies, ticks and cockroaches.  I may possibly be able to be swayed by the giant hissing cockroaches, but the other two will meet the business end of whatever’s handy if they come across my path.

So, I hope you enjoy  yourself.  Take a look around, tell me what you’d like to see and be sure to send me all your buggy and animal photos so I can post them on the site.  If you have any questions, be sure to email me and if I can’t find the answer, I’ll find someone who can.  The email address is wannabeentomologist@gmail.com.

Until next time,