After some silence on my part, it was time to get back into the hobby of raising insects. I started with a beautiful ghost mantis female and obtained a male for her pretty quickly thereafter. We are going to make pictures of both of them and breed them. The life stages after that will all be photographed and published here on the blog. Here is already a small start:
Mantis ID in South Africa
I got a question to ID a mantis found in South Africa.
Good day Can you be so kind to tell me what species of mantis this is found it in my yard in Richardsbay it looks like the Indian flower mantis but this one has a different face and legs
Well it was a delight to email back what species it is, as the mantis is a very beautiful adult female Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii – Spiny Flower mantis. I wish I lived somewhere where these gorgeous insects would just show up in my yard.
With permission I am sharing the pictures that where taken before she was released back into the wild.
You can read more about this praying mantis species here: Spiny Flower Mantis. You can notice that the eyes of this mantis are very light colored, almost white, at daytime in the bright light, but turn purple in less bright conditions.
A beauty in Croatia
I got a question this week about a mantis that was found in Croatia.
“I was on your site and I came across this mantis but I couldn’t find the name of it! I saved your photo (below) and below that is what I think is the same kind of mantis I found yesterday (in a Croatia) just wondering if you can tell me the name of it 🙂 thank you !!”
The mantis she was referring to is Empusa pennata. The one she found was a subadult female. Here are the pictures of this gorgeous mantis.
Pictures published with permission.
Below are some other pictures of the same species.
A nice video about bees – what would happen if all the bees died?
I stumbled upon this video about bees. It looks a big sensational, about the end of the world, but it turned out to be actually very nice. It answers the question about what would happen if all the pollinating insects died. Not just bees but all kinds of species.
Honeybees are domestic animals, they do not occur in the wild anymore. I think there is a lot of interest about the honeybee, while actually people can manage them quite well. They are domestic and all of them are kept by a bee keeper. The other insects and the wild bees are more interesting in my option. Many other species of bees, solitary bees, humblebees and other pollinators that will pollinate our food plants.
Dead Leaf Mantis
Amazing video of young Orchid Mantis nymphs
An Orchid Mantis is something else. White and pink in color, with big petal like lobes on its body. It mimics a flower. But did you know it starts life mimicking an ant? The newborn nymphs are bright red in color with a black hat and black legs. They are shiny and bright and look simply amazing.
This BBC video shows them in stunning close up detail:
I love the video except the ending, I think that was totally unnecessary.
The Latin name of an Orchid Mantis is Hymenopus coronatus. You can read all about them on this page.
From egg to bee in 60 seconds
This video shows the development of a honeybee from egg to adult bee. This takes 21 days, but the timelaps shows it in just 60 seconds. It’s really amazing to see how it works. Worth the watch!
Hercules beetle lifecycle
You have beetles and you have BEETLES. The Hercules Beetle is definately of the latter kind. The Hercules beetle Dynastes hercules hercules is a species of beetle from is a large native to the rainforests of South America, Central America, and the Lesser Antilles. The species is part of the rhinoceros beetle species. The males grow a huge horn on their head, which is used to fight other males. Females lack their horn, making them appear much smaller. Male Hercules beetles can grown up to 17,5 cm in length including their horn. That makes them definately a BEETLE.
To be able to be this big as an adult beetle, the beetle larva (grub) has to get huge as well. It starts as a tiny egg and hatches into a tiny grub. But then it eats and eats, for one to two years. It lives inside rotting logs and feeds of the rotting wood. The grub can get up to 100 grams in weight. After it is done eating it will mold into a pupa. This life stage hardly moves and stays in the log until the pupa has developed into an adult beetle (imago). It then emerges from the pupa and comes out of the log. It will live for a couple of months. When adult a Hercules beetle eats fruits and in captivity it can also be fed with beetle jelly and other food sublements.
Hercules beetles are being kept as pets by insect ethousiasts. I never had one, but more patient people have reared them succesfully from egg to grub, pupa and finally adult beetle. The following video shows the entire list of stages. I’m especially impressed with the huge grub and the moving pupa!
I’m happy to see that quite a few people are able to breed beetles succesfully. One female can produce around 100 eggs, making one succesful breeder a huge supplier of new grubs and beetles. This allows insect enthousiast to purchase a captive bred larva or beetle, sparing the ones in nature. Rearing beetles can give us fascinating new insights in the life of beetles and will motivate us more to preserve their habitat.