White Eyed Assassin Bug
Scientific Name: Platymeris biguttata
Range: White-eyed Assassin Bugs are found in the drier regions of southern Africa
Diet: Preys on soft-bodied insects and occasionally vertebrate blood
Bio:The Reduviid family of bugs, commonly called Assassin Bugs, prey on soft-bodied insects and occasionally vertebrate blood. They have piercing mouthparts that are shaped into a beak and deliver a paralyzing bite to invertebrate prey (caterpillars are especially favored). The two large white spots on their wing cases give them their common name. White-eyed Assasssin Bugs hide in groups under peeling bark, logs, and rocks. They emerge at night to feed. In Central America, the Kissing Bug (Triatoma sanguinea), a closely related species, feeds on human blood and may carry Chagas Disease. They get their name for their habit of biting on the lips of their victims to drink their blood meal.
Scientific Name: Baculum extradentatum
Range: Encountered in the rainforests of Vietnam and Southeast Asia
Diet: Foliage of various rainforest trees; here at the Butterfly Pavilion they feed on bramble
Bio:These walking sticks are approximately 4-5 inches in length and tan in color. They are nocturnal and use pro-cryptic behavior, blending into their environment and staying still, to help them blend into their habitat. Most of their reproduction is done through parthenogenesis or asexual reproduction. Females will produce several unfertilized eggs to produce more female walking sticks; male Vietnamese walking sticks are rare.
Scientific Name: Dasymutilla sp.
Range: This insect’s range is throughout the United States, southern Canada, and Mexico.
Diet: Feed on flower nectar
Bio:Velvet ants are not ants, but wasps; they get their name from the hairs that cover their bodies. Sometimes called cow killers, these insects have a powerful sting that was once mistakenly believed to be toxic enough to kill a cow. These animals use warning coloration to protect themselves from predation and to warn others of their powerful sting. Velvet ants are most active in the early morning, feeding on nectar flowers then seeking shelter from the hot sun during the rest of the day.
Pink Wing Walkingstick
Scientific Name: Sipyloidea sipylus
Range: Southeast Asia and Madagascar
Diet: This species can be reared on blackberry, rose, or oak, although its diet differs in the wild
Bio:The female pink wing stick insect reproduces mostly by parthenogenesis, without mating, and her eggs will hatch into females also. Males are very rare in the wild (and there are none in captivity), but when they do mate with females, the eggs will be males and females. Pink wings fly well and give off a defensive chemical similar to that of lady beetles; this probably tastes bad to birds and mammals. The eggs look like caraway seeds and the females stick them to twigs and leaves
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Scientific Name: Gromphadorrhina portentosa
Range: This species lives off the eastern coast of southern Africa on the island of Madagascar.
Diet: Feeds on decaying leaves, soft fruit, etc.
Bio:Madagascar originated by splitting off of the continent of Gondwanaland (of which Africa was a large part) more than 120 million years ago. This separated the animals from all other contact with Africa. A common result of island biogeography (the study of the distribution of living things) is that many of the species that fly secondarily lose that ability. This species is a good example of that phenomenon. Hissing Cockroaches get their name from the ability to forcibly eject air out of the large thoracic spiracles (openings to the respiratory system) with audible results. A predator scratching through leaf litter hearing this hissing noise would be startled long enough for the roach to escape.
Leaf Insect Walkingstick
Scientific Name: Phyllium bioculatum
Range: Leaf insects occur mainly in the Indo-Australian region.
Diet: Foliage of many shrubs and small trees; seems partial to guava leaves
Bio:Leaf insects differ from most stick insects in that the forewings are useless for flight. Excellently camouflaged, leaf insects look identical to leaves, complete with veins. The legs may also bear leaf-like expansions. All phasmids (walking sticks) are predominately vegetarian and live in dense shrubbery where they remain immobile during the day. In some species, males are rare or entirely absent. As a result, reproduction is parthenogenetic, that is, the eggs do not need fertilization to develop.
Scientific Name: Apis mellifera
Range: Every continent except Antarctica
Diet: Pollen and nectar
Bio:Often feared for their sting, honey bees are very passive animals; only stinging to defend their hive, which contains food stores and their young. They recognize other honey bee individuals by scent. It is estimated that honey bees are responsible for pollinating $14 billion worth of agriculture, which makes them important not only environmentally, but economically.
Hercules Beetle, Elephant Beetle
Scientific Name: Dynastes tityus
Range: Occurs in southwestern US (Arizona, western New Mexico, southern Utah) and northern Mexico
Diet: Larvae live in rotten logs and will eat organic matter, adults will feed on leaves or rotten organic matter.
Bio:These beetles are often called elephant beetles because of their large size and horns; males have three large horns while females have none. The Hercules beetles are the largest North American beetle growing to 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches in length and are yellow to green in color with mottled brown or black spots. These beetles will release a foul odor to deter predators like large insects or birds. These beetles are harmless to humans, and help to break down decaying wood and vegetation to help clear the forest floor and add nutrients to the soil.
MacLeay's Specter Stick Insect
Scientific Name: Extatosoma tiaratum
Range: East Coast of Australia and New Guinea and Tasmania
Diet: In their natural habitat this species feeds on eucalyptus but can be reared on blackberry, rose, or oak.
Bio:The MacLeay's Specter inhabits the eucalyptus forests of its native Australia. It is sexually dimorphic, meaning that the females and males differ in appearance. The females have large, heavy bodies, and tiny nonfunctional wings. The males are slender, have long antennae, and can fly. The eggs look like seeds, and one species of ants bring them to their nest where the stick insects hatch. The newly hatched nymphs look and act like the ants that have collected the eggs.
Giant South American Cockroach
Scientific Name: Blaberus giganteus
Range: This is a common inhabitant of the northern half of South America.
Diet: Giant South American Cockroaches are general scavengers of decaying vegetation.
Bio:Additional Information: This is one of the largest species of cockroach. Cockroaches have been around virtually unchanged since the Pennsylvanian Period some 323 million years ago. Like most of the 4,600 species of roaches, this species does not infest homes. Adults are fully winged and are excellent fliers. This cockroach's mottled brown coloration allows it to blend in with tree bark to protect it from predators.