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Xilaa's Insects

Discussion in 'Congregation of the Masses' started by Rawbi, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. ChristovaOnIce

    ChristovaOnIce

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    Mantises are my very favorite insects. I had no idea they were so vicious until I saw one ripping apart a Brown Recluse Spider.

    The Widow really creeped me out. There's something so classically sinister about her shape.

    Anyway, these are all excellent, and, as usual, I have some questions!

    1) How long do tarantulas usually live?
    2) I've never seen a Death's Head Cockroach. Where are they found in the wild?
  2. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    Tarantulas typically live between 15-25 years. They have pretty slow metabolisms.

    The death's head cockroaches come from Cuba and Central America. No wonder you've never seen one!

    Oh, and I didn't take this picture, but I'm impressed by it and I think everyone will too!

    [​IMG]
  3. gvmgvm40

    gvmgvm40 formerly Plopper

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    Awesome. I wish I could work in such a job. It'd help me overcome my mild arachnaphobia as well. Do you have ladybugs, ant-spiders or longhorn beetles?
  4. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    Sorry, none of those. If it isn't in a picture, we probably don't have it. :(
  5. Bug Maniac Marc

    Bug Maniac Marc

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    Oh man, this is really awesome. I wish i lived anywhere nearby
  6. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    More pictures!

    [​IMG]

    A closer shot of two baby Vietnamese stick bugs. I'm willing to bet these two aren't quite a month old. As you can see, the topmost nymph is missing one of her front legs. This is pretty common amongst the babies. It'll grow back by the time she molts again. The bottom nymph has some green coloration on it that is indictive that she recently shed her skin.

    [​IMG]

    One of our tarantulas. This is the biggest of all the ones we have so far. These fellows aren't in my jurisdiction, but I do know they're pretty easy to take care of. They only eat once a month, they live away from the sun, and they have little bowls of water to drink from. I give them space, since they seem to get stressed easily.

    Excuse the poor quality of the next two pictures. My iPhone's camera isn't the best.

    [​IMG]

    I fed the praying mantis today! I dropped in one medium-sized cricket. It took the mantis a moment, then slowly but surely, it crept down from the top of the tank...sized up its prey...then whack! Captured the cricket in one blow. Then it immediately started to chow down, head first.

    [​IMG]

    Afterwards it took its meal back onto the top of the tank and proceeded to gobble it up alive. Even when the cricket's head was gone, its legs still twitched. Got to watch it devour the cricket's organs. Mmmm, organs. It took about an hour for the mantis to catch and completely eat its lunch.

    Oh, and the mantis is apparently a boy. While both sexes have wings, the male's are larger. The female's wings are reduced, because when she's mature, she's heavy with eggs. Over time, her wings shrank until the females can no longer fly. Boys can, however. An easy way to tell if a mantis is male or female is if the wings extend over its abdomen. If they do, it's a boy.

    ...I think I'll name him Scyther.

    As always, I'll answer any questions as best as I can.
  7. dtrain

    dtrain

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    Cool thread!
    I look forward to more bug pics ;)
  8. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been busy.

    Insect-a-Palooza was a great success. There were tons of people there. I hope I inspired some of the children who visited the insect zoo. Call me sentimental, but I was overjoyed when a little girl who held one of the stick insects exclaimed, "This is so cool!"

    This is the only planet we have, so it's good to know the next generation will have some love for it.

    Anyway, without further ado, I have more pictures!

    [​IMG]

    This is one of our Chilean rose-hair tarantulas. A co-worker and I cleaned out all the tarantula tanks yesterday and gave them new "furniture", including petri dishes of water. This little one was so thirsty she dunked her entire body into the dish! If she could speak, I'm sure she would have gone: "Aaaah...~"


    Remember that sort of tannish colored praying mantis in the last post that I explained was a male? Well...

    [​IMG]

    He laid eggs. (my fingers make a cameo appearence here)

    The sort of brain-shaped thing attached to the top of the tank is what's called an egg case, or oothica. Inside that are many, many eggs. I'm talking about 400 total.

    We were so sure he was a boy mantis too... It's funny. The girl who brought the mantis in called it "Penelope". I told her it was a boy and it was renamed "Penn". And now it's a girl again. Can't the mantis make up its mind? ...oh well.

    On top of it all, those 400 babies are going to have cousins.

    [​IMG]

    Different container, same thing. Another oothica, laid by another mantis.

    [​IMG]

    The proud momma. She actually laid TWO egg cases, so there could potentially be 1200 babies hatching. Oh man...that's gonna be a lot of mouths to feed.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, one of the death's head cockroaches is doing something odd. Compared to its friends (of which there are two, one to the left and one sort of underneath), it is very light-colored. It's almost ghostly in appearence, and certainly startled me when I noticed the change. Do the bugs somehow know Halloween is coming?

    Anyway, I think it's changed this color because it's getting ready to molt. We'll keep an eye on it and make sure it's okay.

    As always, I'll answer any questions to the best of my ability.



    Oh. Unrelated to insects, but this was on a poster for the Computer Science Club's LAN Party, and since it's a cute drawing and I love TF2, I'll post it here for your enjoyment as well.

    [​IMG]
  9. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    It's been a long time since the last update, but now I have some news worth reporting upon. The picture quality didn't turn out so well, but the zoom program I have on my iPhone doesn't play nice with my computer.

    [​IMG]

    Here we have two of our three scorpions. These guys are simple desert scorpions. What I suspect, however, is that the topmost one is gravid. That means she might be full of eggs. We keep the girl and the boy together due to lack of space -- we keep them fed often enough so they won't eat each other -- and I think that they decided to continue the circle of life. Look how fat she is!

    No way of telling until later if she really is going to be a momma or if she's just big-boned. Big-exoskeletoned? I don't know.

    What I do know is that lots of things are going to have babies come spring, including the Aussie sticks, the Chiltagongs, and potentially 1600 little praying mantis nymphs. That's right, the egg case count is now up to four.
  10. Xaqwais

    Xaqwais

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    Haha, 1600 nymphs! You'll be needing some more space.

    Good pics and info as always.
  11. Deschain

    Deschain

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    i think this is the most terrifying of all insects ever.

    Show Hide
    [​IMG]
  12. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    Oooh, is that a Jerusalem cricket? Wonder how high that can jump...

    The giant New Guinea sticks I have are probably about that size. There are going to be some of their babies around come spring too, I wager.
  13. Flamewheeler

    Flamewheeler

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    I got the goosebumps from some of these. I think the only things I cannot handle are large spiders and roaces...ewww......
  14. Xaqwais

    Xaqwais

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    The scariest insect is definitely the bullet ant.

    Please don't get those in your lab, Xilaa :3
  15. Bug Maniac Marc

    Bug Maniac Marc

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    Do you know what kind of conditions the oothica need to hatch?
    I don't mean to ask a stupid question, but my family had taken care of praying
    manti (s?) on a number of different occasions in the past, and our egg sacks never seemed to hatch...
  16. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    I'm not quite sure what the requirements for the eggs hatching are. They can take several months to hatch. Since the egg cases overwinter, they hatch in the springtime. Maybe the hatching process is tied to the heat and humidity of wherever the oothicae are placed. I learned the hard way that was how the stick bug eggs worked...brrr....

    I'm pretty sure you can actually get "mantids-in-a-can", quite literally, young mantids contained in a little, er, container. You can find them at gardening stores. That could be an option if you'd like some little mantids to take care of, but be warned, they are cannibalistic and will eat each other if given the chance.

    I once had "ladybugs-in-a-can". I spilled them all out on my hand and had a ladybug glove for a few seconds before they flew away.
  17. Deschain

    Deschain

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    it's a fucking Giant Australian Weta...the goliath form of the only insect that makes me scream like a little girl...

    Show Hide
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    i nearly had a panic attack googling for those...
  18. DCJ

    DCJ

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    Ack.

    Insects give me the most peculiar mixture of fear and fascination. If I was in the lab I could probably watch them scurry about in their homes for hours, but don't let them out with me around.

    Fun thread, awaiting more skin crawling photos.
  19. BigPDaMonsta

    BigPDaMonsta

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  20. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    It's a little sad that the two were put together in order to fight... I realize that giant wetas probably don't eat dead food, but are camel spiders really an appropriate food source? I'm sure those can fight back...

    DCJ: I could watch them for hours too. I also talk to them. I'm sure the people who also work in the lab think I'm crazy. "Aww, you're such a good eater, Ms. Praying Mantis!" "Look how big you're getting, little extatosoma tiaratum!"
  21. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    More pictures!

    [​IMG]

    This is our dune scorpion. I don't know much about it, as I give the biting and/or stinging bugs a wide berth, but I do know that this little one is shy and would rather hide under a piece of bark than pose for a picture. It came out when I gave it a cricket though.

    Fun fact: you can get an estimate of how potent a scorpion's venom is by looking at its pincers. If the pincers are thin, that means it has some tough stuff locked in its stinger. Thin pincers mean the scorpion doesn't rely on its brute strength, and instead will be more likely to sting.

    I'm pretty sure you guys already know that scorpions glow under UV light, but if you didn't, there you have it. No one's sure why they glow, but they do.

    [​IMG]

    One of the baby stick bugs shedding her skin. This is how they usually do it, hanging from the top of their tank, and just pop right out. The skin is hanging onto the stick bug just by one leg. The leg seems to be out, but if it ends up coming off with the dead skin, there's really no loss. The nymph will just grow a new one.

    In other news, remember that jumping spider? The one I referred to as male, even so far as going to call him Houdini?

    ...he laid eggs. No pictures, since she laid them in a web and I didn't want to disturb them. Really, I ought to just assume all of the bugs I get are female. That way they can't have babies and prove me wrong.

    Feel free to ask questions, as usual. I'm going to go on vacation in a few days, so there will be no news for a while.
  22. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    Quick little update. Today I went to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and visited their insect zoo. They had a bunch of bugs that I already take care of! They had a vinegaroon, a black widow (which I think had eggs in her web :3), and Aussie sticks! I was so happy to see some of my bug friends. They also had a big exhibit on diving beetles, which are very awesome insects.
  23. Rawbi

    Rawbi

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    I've been back from DC for a while, but didn't have anything worth updating for. I do now, though!

    This morning I went out to get more leaves for the stick bugs. That took me about an hour. Then I come back to the science lab, look into the Australian stick bugs' tank, and immediately go "Whoa!"

    [​IMG]

    I see this hanging from the underside of a branch. It's an empty skin. There is no insect inside, just the remains of one. It's a testament to the little suction cups they have on their wrists -- they can stick on even when there's nothing to them. The skin is paper thin. If you look closely, you can even see the shed antennae.

    To escape, the stick insect basically climbed out of her own head, hanging upside down like that. I wish I could have seen her do it!

    [​IMG]

    The shed and the shedder. You can see how dramatically she's grown compared to her old skin! I bet she's reminiscing about the days she could fit into that...

    As always, taking questions to the best of my ability.

    EDIT: Thanks to whoever rated this 5 stars! :D
  24. Tenzuku

    Tenzuku

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    Really awesome bugs it looks great, thanks for sharing it. Please share more.
  25. Bam

    Bam

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    Wow, first time I've ever looked at this thread.

    I really like it because it reminds me a lot of morm's old paleontology thread: very informative, some decent humor, lots of good pictures, etc.

    Keep up the good work!

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