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Archive for the ‘Insect Links’ Category

The magical mystery lump from last night? As many astute readers noted, they are insects in the enigmatic order Strepsiptera.  They live as parasites in the bodies of other insects. Considering the host species (Isodontia mexicana, a sphecid wasp), the streps are probably in the genus Paraxenos.  Here are a couple more shots:

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Timema sp. stick insect, California

I’ve created a new gallery to hold my photographs of stick insects.  Check it out here:

Stick Insect Photos

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Monday Night Mystery

What’s going on here?

Five points for naming the organism, and five points for the behavior.

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From the amazing BBC series Life in the Undergrowth:

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Monday Night Mystery

What’s this charming creature?

Ten points for the first person to get the family name right, too.

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hexapod haiku

fierce competition
on wings and chitinous legs:
hexapod haiku!

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Termite mounds visible in Australia's Northern Territory- I've circled three, but dozens are in the image.

Central Illinois still resembles the frozen lifeless tundra, so to get my bug-hunting fix I’ve been surfing about on Google Earth. Here at -13.066783, 130.847383 I’ve found something: Australia’s magnificent magnetic termites. The green things are trees, but the little black pimply bits?  Those are the termites.  On the ground they look like this:

A magnetic termite mound in north Queensland, Australia.

Why “magnetic”?

The mounds are shaped as thin blades along a north-south orientation as though following compass direction.  The reasons for this odd architecture are still a matter of research, but the general view is that the shape helps termites avoid the heat of the tropical midday sun, and the extra surface area allows for more efficient respiration.

The density of termite mounds can be impressive.

More insects in Google earth here and here.

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