Peanut-head Bug - Fulgora laternaria
Fulgorids stand out among the Hemipterans for its unique head shape. Among the neotropical species Fulgora laternaria is perhaps the most striking, with its head resembling a big unshelled peanut.
Fulgora laternaria grows to about 8 cm long and its mouth is like a straw; it can not bite, so all it can do is suck juices from plants. In the rainforest from Mexico to Argentina where this bug is found, there are so many things that want to eat the Peanut-head Bug that it needs a lot of defenses. Scientists think that the head is supposed to imitate a lizard’s head, a complex anti-predator scheme the bug uses. The Peanut-head Bug has large spots on its underwings that look like large eyes when the bug spreads its wings. If these don’t scare away predators, the bug releases a skunk-like spray.
Other common names: Lantern fly, Peanut bug, Peanut-headed lanternfly, Alligator bug, Jequitiranaboia, Machaca, Chicharra-machacuy, Víbora voladora, Mariposa caimán, Cocoposa.
One of my fave bugs: peanutheads!
You can’t hear it over the noise of London’s traffic. But it’s there. That faint, whining hum. Right under my feet, thousands of mosquitoes are dining on human blood.
To visit them, you have to go through a sliding glass door into the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This school started as a hospital on the Thames River, where doctors treated sailors returning from faraway places with strange parasites.
Today, the building holds countless exotic diseases that you hope you’ll never catch. The mosquitoes carry just a few of them, and their keeper is an entomologist named Dr. James Logan.
To get to them, you have to go underground, then through two sets of doors and a net, and into the restricted access room.
"We don’t want any mosquitoes to escape onto the streets of London, obviously, because we’ve got tropical mosquitoes here," says Logan.
On the side of the net with the mosquitoes, it feels like the worst kind of August afternoon. Humid, hot and still — just the way mosquitoes like it. We’re in low caverns that were built almost 100 years ago, and we have to duck so we don’t hit our heads.
"Luckily we have quite short people who work in our insectaries," Logan says. "But these rooms are part of the vaults of the building. At one time during [World War II], for example, they were used as shelters."
Clear plastic boxes line the walls, each one holding hundreds of mosquitoes. Some are from Pakistan, others from Tanzania. There are mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus and dengue fever.
The really dangerous ones live in a different room, though. When you jostle a box, the mosquitoes go crazy, hungry for blood.
Photo: Dr. James Logan, an entomologist, studies mosquitoes from around the world in an effort to make them less dangerous. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine keeps them in a cavern beneath the streets of London. The bowls contain mosquito larvae in water, while the boxes are where the adults live. (Ari Shapiro/NPR)
Wilhelm C. H. (Wilhelm C. Hartwig) Peters
Naturwissenschaftliche reise nach Mossambique, auf befehl Seiner Majestät des königs Friedrich Wilhelm IV, in den jahren 1842 bis 1848 ausgefḧrt, von Wihelm C. H. Peters. Zoologie , 1852-
Parure (jewellery set) consisting of tiara, earrings and necklace mounted with beetle wings, 1884-85, by Phillips of Cockspur Street made for Countess Granville. The beetles had been given to Earl Granville as a gift by the Portuguese ambassador of the day.
The colorful grasshopper that remained incognito for over 100 years
Petasida ephippigera (Orthoptera - Pyrgomorphidae) is an endemic Australian species with striking appearance. Commonly named Leichhardt’s Grasshopper, after explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, this grasshopper is brilliant orange-red, navy blue, and black over the whole body and wings.
Besides being one of the most spectacularly colorful of the Australian grasshoppers, it is truly remarkable because until the 60’s the genus Petasida was known from only five specimens of the single described species, three in the British Museum (Natural History) and two in the Geneva Museum.
Petasida ephippigera remained without being collected for about 120 years, and was rediscovered on 30 July 1971, when it was found a single male nymph. This discovery was soon followed by a number of others.
Unlike some other grasshopper species that have varied diets, the Leichhardt’s grasshopper prefers a plant called Pityrodia (Lamiaceae), and nothing else (specimen shown is on a Pityrodia plant). This species occurs in the rugged country of Kakadu, in the Northern Territory of Australia, wherein said plant is distributed.
Photo credit: ©Jon Clark | Locality: Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia (2009)
Neat colors and story!
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There is an entire post of insects from medieval manuscripts from the British Museum! Go check it out!