Tag Archives: insect blog

Violet-winged Stick insect (Didymuria violescens) emerging from egg!

25 Sep

Tonight I was in the insect room (yes, I have an entire room for them) cleaning the cages and making sure everyone was fed.  I decided to move my “video” cage full of various eggs to a smaller container to move a huntsman to the larger one.  I wasn’t really expecting anything to hatch at 9pm at night (they usually hatch between 5-10am) so, imagine my surprise when I looked down and saw a Violet-winged Stick insect hatching!  I quickly grabbed my phone and started video taping.  The video is nearly 3 minutes long, and at the very end I switch it off to help the insect get loose of the egg casing (per my worried daughter’s wishes), so rest assured, everything turned out okay.

This is what the Violet-wing (also known as the Spur-Legged Stick insect) looks like as nymph.


And this is what they look like as adults.

These stick insects, like most, feed on eucalyptus leaves.  The males are able to fly, but the females do not. These insects occur on the east coast of Australia.  They get their common name obviously from the colour on their wings, but their other common name ‘spur legged’ is from the distinctive spurs on the male’s thicker hind legs.

Plume moth-Family Pterophoridae

25 Sep

Plume moths are one of the most unique moths, in that when they are at rest, they hold their wings (which they roll up) lateral to their body, creating their signature resting ‘T’ shape.

I found this large plume moth resting on my kitchen window.

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.

Giveaway being drawn today!

9 Sep

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


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.)
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.)

My aphid annihilator

7 Jun

So, while stalking my veggie garden for creatures to photograph ( I should have been weeding instead) I found this little guy…

Ladybird Beetle

Ladybird Beetle

And besides being a lazy gardener, I’m a very uneducated one as well.  So, after I noticed a couple of my tomatoes had holes in them, I looked up whether these cute little buggers were to blame.  I found out that not only are they innocent but ladybugs actually EAT the guilty!  In their lifetime, these guys will eat up to 1,000 aphids-little bugs that suck the life force (sap) from your tomato plants!

So, I guess he’s staying…