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October 8, 2007 5:54 PM   Subscribe

A few weird and interesting insects
posted by Brandon Blatcher (19 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love this post! I'm going to have to go with the Goliath beetle as the most beautiful, though; orchid mantis not withstanding. And they can be kept as pets? *plots*

I was bitten by an assassin bug as a small child; it left me with a hard, raised - not scar, but something, which disappeared and reappeared on my hand with declining frequency all the way through my teens. I've often wondered exactly how that was caused; extreme toxicity alone doesn't really seem to explain it.

They left out my favorite though - the insanely mechanistic sphex wasp:

Before taking provisions into the nest, the Sphex first inspects the nest, leaving the prey outside. During the wasp's inspection of the nest an experimenter can move the prey a few inches away from the opening of the nest. When the Sphex emerges from the nest ready to drag in the prey, it finds the prey missing. The Sphex quickly locates the moved prey, but now its behavioral "program" has been reset. After dragging the prey back to the opening of the nest, once again the Sphex is compelled to inspect the nest, so the prey is again dropped and left outside during another stereotypical inspection of the nest. This iteration can be repeated again and again, with the Sphex never seeming to notice what is going on, never able to escape from its genetically-programmed sequence of behaviors.

I like insects.
posted by frobozz at 6:27 PM on October 8, 2007


Yow! That assassin bug sucking the blood out of a vampire bat (poetic justice, eh?) was a sight to see, what with its little see-through belly filling up with red blood and all. And I say to myself, wonderful world!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:48 PM on October 8, 2007


A stinkbug brought me flowers today. They're the most thoughtful.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:07 PM on October 8, 2007


You've probably all heard about zombie snails before. If you haven't, then what the hell are you doing with your life?
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:11 PM on October 8, 2007


Seed beetle, meet Martin. I think you two
may have common interests. Enjoy yourselves, and don't forget to put some ointment on that afterwards!
posted by i less than three nsima at 7:15 PM on October 8, 2007


After all those exotic bugs, I like how it ended with the Western honeybee. What a crazy creature.
posted by ageispolis at 7:24 PM on October 8, 2007


Hot damn. That assassin bug lives up to its name.

I'll have to agree with frobozz -- the Goliath Beetle is beautiful.
posted by spiderskull at 8:00 PM on October 8, 2007


None of the links work for me. My computer wants to be the Alpha insect. I hat it.
posted by Huplescat at 8:02 PM on October 8, 2007


Cool post. All of those insects are really interesting in a scary fascinating kind of way. That "unstoppable swarmers" video was mesmerising. Poor male ant getting his wings cut off, yikes.

When I was living in Northern India I saw lots of bugs I'd never known about in the USA. One afternoon sitting in my small house in the monsoon season (June to September) I looked behind me on the wall and there were millions, literally, of ants, swarming. The rain had driven them from their nest and they were on the move en masse. It was incredible. On the wall it was liike a rippling, moving black sheet that went on and on and on.

In Japan they have vending machines where one can get a live rhinoceros beetle. to keep as a pet.

Quite amazing sex between slugs. Such sensuality! They have male sex organs but impregnate each other.
posted by nickyskye at 8:54 PM on October 8, 2007


That's right, nickyskye: beetles are HUGELY popular here in Japan. Kids try to find them in the wild, or they buy them at pet shops and whatnot. It's a whole culture. And there's tons of beetle toys and models and origami... inflatable beetles (I've got a couple of those!), there's photo books of them, you see them on t-shirts, comic books... It's a thing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:31 AM on October 9, 2007


That's right, nickyskye: beetles are HUGELY popular here in Japan. Kids try to find them in the wild, or they buy them at pet shops and whatnot. It's a whole culture. And there's tons of beetle toys and models and origami... inflatable beetles (I've got a couple of those!), there's photo books of them, you see them on t-shirts, comic books... It's a thing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:31 AM on October 9, 2007


As we speak, someone, somewhere, is appropriating the information on the seed beetle by drawing this getting crammed into an anime girl.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:39 AM on October 9, 2007


Great post, and the link to the zombie snails was also very interesting.

If your interested in more of that kind of stuff, Carl Zimmer (the guy over at The Loom) has a sweet book called Parasite Rex which is a popsci book all about really freaky (COOL!) parasitic animals/bacteria/etc.
posted by rosswald at 6:54 AM on October 9, 2007


p.s. I now want a pet beatle, is this appropriate for an NYC dweller? Easy to care for?
posted by rosswald at 6:55 AM on October 9, 2007


Well, I dunno rosswald, John and George are dead, and I hear Paul needs a lot of care and feeding. Ringo might be your best option.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:12 AM on October 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh man, loved this post. Thanks BB.
posted by msali at 10:10 AM on October 9, 2007


Could you repeat that flapjax dear, didn't quite get what you said.

ps, any sites you know that have beetles as pets in Japan images/info? Sounds like fun looking/learning.
posted by nickyskye at 10:29 AM on October 9, 2007


Oh dear. I meant BEETLE!
posted by rosswald at 12:03 PM on October 9, 2007


any sites you know that have beetles as pets in Japan images/info? Sounds like fun looking/learning.

The most popular beetle in Japan for having as a pet is the kabuto mushi. Here's some sites I came across, a mixed bag of all sorts of beetle-related stuff:

B
E
E
T
L
E
S

Here's some info in English on beetles as pets:

*

And, the ever-informative Wikipedia.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:50 PM on October 9, 2007


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