Posts tagged Insects

wapiti3:

Johann Eusebius Voets descriptions and illustrations hartschaaligter insects, Coleoptera on Flickr.

Publication info Erlangen, JJ Palm ,1793-1802.
Contributing Library:
Cornell University Library
BioDiv. Library

do you know where a good place to find scientific illustrations of flies would be? specifically their faces? I am making an art piece and I need some good refs to use — Asked by cicadachirps

That’s…very specific?

Outside of Wikimedia Commons, I can’t find a good source for scientific illustrations of their faces, but if you have a solid internet connection, there’s always the CSIRO fly atlas, at least for, like, houseflies. Wait for the lens to load up and click on Calyptrate, and click on “anterior” after the lens loads again.

There’s almost certainly something at Diptera.info, but I don’t really wanna go through allllll the damn flies. THERE ARE TOO MANY FLIES.

I assume you’re talking about Cordyceps? There are many species of Cordyceps, each very specialized to the species that they infect.

Carl Zimmer has a great quick write-up on them on The Loom, and wrote about them extensively in his book Parasite Rex (which is a great book, even outside of cordyceps).

For a quick and graphic explanation of the fungus, Sir David Attenborough had the most well-known Cordyceps genus (that which infects jungle ants) featured back in 2008. The clip is available on YouTube.

biomedicalephemera:

Death’s-Head Hawkmoth - Acherontia atroposThere are three species of Death’s-Head Hawkmoth, all of which raid the hives of honeybees for their honey. They mimic the scent of their target bee, and this prompts the members of the hive to not attack the intruder. A. atropos targets the Western Honey-Bee, and is the only species of Death’s-Head Hawkmoth in Europe. Aside from their ominous markings, these moths can “scream” when threatened. The “scream” is really a loud squeak, emitted by pushing air through the pharynx. Accompanied by flashing their contrasting colors, the unique screech is enough to scare off most predators.The Naturalist’s Library Vol. VI: Entomology - Bees and Related Species. James Duncan, compiled by Sir William Jardine, 1840.

biomedicalephemera:

Death’s-Head Hawkmoth - Acherontia atropos

There are three species of Death’s-Head Hawkmoth, all of which raid the hives of honeybees for their honey. They mimic the scent of their target bee, and this prompts the members of the hive to not attack the intruder. A. atropos targets the Western Honey-Bee, and is the only species of Death’s-Head Hawkmoth in Europe.

Aside from their ominous markings, these moths can “scream” when threatened. The “scream” is really a loud squeak, emitted by pushing air through the pharynx. Accompanied by flashing their contrasting colors, the unique screech is enough to scare off most predators.

The Naturalist’s Library Vol. VI: Entomology - Bees and Related Species. James Duncan, compiled by Sir William Jardine, 1840.

wallacegardens:

Microscopical:  Plate L1.   and 3. Scales of various butterflies2.   Eye of Hemerobius4.   Wing of Peacock Butterfly5.   Poppy Seeds6.   Wing-case of Green Weevil 7.   Egg of Red Underwing Moth8.   Egg of Small White Butterfly9.   Egg of Tortoiseshell Butterfly10. Egg of Lathonia Butterfly  Common Objects of the Country (1894) by Rev. J. G. Wood, illustrations by W. S. Coleman.

wallacegardens:

Microscopical:  Plate L
1.   and 3. Scales of various butterflies
2.   Eye of Hemerobius
4.   Wing of Peacock Butterfly
5.   Poppy Seeds
6.   Wing-case of Green Weevil 
7.   Egg of Red Underwing Moth
8.   Egg of Small White Butterfly
9.   Egg of Tortoiseshell Butterfly
10. Egg of Lathonia Butterfly  

Common Objects of the Country (1894) by Rev. J. G. Wood, illustrations by W. S. Coleman.

biomedicalephemera:

The Naming of Beasts: Adam, in the Garden of Eden
An angel holds a scroll with the title of the book and points toward Heaven, as Adam points toward a Hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules).
An Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) rests on the side of the rock Adam sits upon, and a Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor) and white dragonfly (subfamily Anisoptera) are depicted aside the scene.
Entomologie, ou, Histoire Naturelle des Insects: Coleoptera. Antoine Guilame Olivier, 1808. [Fourth edition, original publication date 1798.]

biomedicalephemera:

The Naming of Beasts: Adam, in the Garden of Eden

An angel holds a scroll with the title of the book and points toward Heaven, as Adam points toward a Hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules).

An Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) rests on the side of the rock Adam sits upon, and a Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor) and white dragonfly (subfamily Anisoptera) are depicted aside the scene.

Entomologie, ou, Histoire Naturelle des Insects: Coleoptera. Antoine Guilame Olivier, 1808. [Fourth edition, original publication date 1798.]

The Naming of Beasts: Adam, in the Garden of Eden
An angel holds a scroll with the title of the book and points toward Heaven, as Adam points toward a Hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules).
An Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) rests on the side of the rock Adam sits upon, and a Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor) and white dragonfly (subfamily Anisoptera) are depicted aside the scene.
Entomologie, ou, Histoire Naturelle des Insects: Coleoptera. Antoine Guilame Olivier, 1808. [Fourth edition, original publication date 1798.]

The Naming of Beasts: Adam, in the Garden of Eden

An angel holds a scroll with the title of the book and points toward Heaven, as Adam points toward a Hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules).

An Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) rests on the side of the rock Adam sits upon, and a Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor) and white dragonfly (subfamily Anisoptera) are depicted aside the scene.

Entomologie, ou, Histoire Naturelle des Insects: Coleoptera. Antoine Guilame Olivier, 1808. [Fourth edition, original publication date 1798.]

Someone told me that bees are the only insects which can regulate their own body temperature - via shivering! Were you aware of this? Is it true? :) — Asked by Anonymous

This is true, though the “shivering” is actually internal, so one would not be able to detect it while watching a bee from the outside. Bees can raise their temperature from 13 C to 37 C in just six minutes, which is incredibly fast in the insect world.

However, there ARE other insects that regulate their own body temperature - many moths will vibrate (“shiver”) their proximal wing muscles to warm up their thorax and abdomen, before they take off. This is a mechanism very similar to the internal warming of the bees, and is required in order to “start up” at night, when the ambient temperature is often low enough to keep most insects and other cold-blooded animals in a state of torpor.

Ornithoptera urvilliana (now Ornithoptera primus urvillianus) - D’Urville’s Birdwing
Like all birdwing butterflies, the D’Urville’s Birdwing is considered endangered, and threatened by their beauty. Serious collectors have caused the extinction of one species of birdwing already, and one other is critically endangered.
While once considered a distinct species, D’Urville’s Birdwing can interbreed with other members of Ornithoptera primus, and produce fully fertile and viable hybrids, and as such is now generally considered a subspecies, instead of a distinct species.
Dictionnaire universel d’histoire naturelle. M. Charles D’Orbigny, 1848.

Ornithoptera urvilliana (now Ornithoptera primus urvillianus) - D’Urville’s Birdwing

Like all birdwing butterflies, the D’Urville’s Birdwing is considered endangered, and threatened by their beauty. Serious collectors have caused the extinction of one species of birdwing already, and one other is critically endangered.

While once considered a distinct species, D’Urville’s Birdwing can interbreed with other members of Ornithoptera primus, and produce fully fertile and viable hybrids, and as such is now generally considered a subspecies, instead of a distinct species.

Dictionnaire universel d’histoire naturelle. M. Charles D’Orbigny, 1848.

Red Locust (Nomadacris septemfasciata)
The red locust is a sub-Saharan grasshopper in its gregarious phase. Unlike desert locusts, red locusts have not caused any devastating crop destruction since the 1940s. However, the last mass gregarious infestation lasted from 1930-1944 in Chad, the Sahel, and almost all of southern Africa, and was as devastating as the Rocky Mountain locust was in the United States in the 19th century.
Fabre’s Book of Insects. Illsutrated by E. J. Detmold, 1921.

Red Locust (Nomadacris septemfasciata)

The red locust is a sub-Saharan grasshopper in its gregarious phase. Unlike desert locusts, red locusts have not caused any devastating crop destruction since the 1940s. However, the last mass gregarious infestation lasted from 1930-1944 in Chad, the Sahel, and almost all of southern Africa, and was as devastating as the Rocky Mountain locust was in the United States in the 19th century.

Fabre’s Book of Insects. Illsutrated by E. J. Detmold, 1921.

do scorpion have wings ? — Asked by Anonymous

Nope! However, some of the scorpionflies (a minority) have well-developed wings.

There are also other species that mimic a scorpion tail or stinger on their body that have wings, and there are a couple pseudoscorpions that hitchhike (phoretically) on flies, which can make a fly appear to be scorpion-like.

Ornithoptera victoriae - Queen Victoria’s Birdwing - Adult, Caterpillar, and Egg
This butterfly is a close relative to the largest butterfly in the world, Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. The birdwing genres are noted for their bird-like flight, angular wings, bright colors, and exceptional size.
Like many Lepidoptera (the order containing moths and butterflies), their caterpillars are toxic, owing to the plants they consume, and are not commonly  eaten in their natural habitat. The butterflies retain this toxicity through adulthood.
Proceedings of the General Meetings for Scientific Business of the Zoological Society of London. 1888.

Ornithoptera victoriae - Queen Victoria’s Birdwing - Adult, Caterpillar, and Egg

This butterfly is a close relative to the largest butterfly in the world, Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. The birdwing genres are noted for their bird-like flight, angular wings, bright colors, and exceptional size.

Like many Lepidoptera (the order containing moths and butterflies), their caterpillars are toxic, owing to the plants they consume, and are not commonly  eaten in their natural habitat. The butterflies retain this toxicity through adulthood.

Proceedings of the General Meetings for Scientific Business of the Zoological Society of London. 1888.

Ammophila urnaria acquiring caterpillar to stock egg burrow

The thread-waisted wasps are all known as “predatory” wasps, and are classified as “parasitoids”. Females dig a burrow with several chambers, and collect caterpillars to fill each chamber. They then lay an egg on the top caterpillar, and permanently seal the burrow. This is generally repeated several times, with between 2 and 13 burrows filled with caterpillars.

Thing is…the caterpillars aren’t dead. They have to manage to not become dessicated or decayed for the entire period between the laying of the egg and the pupation of the juvenile, a period sometimes longer than several weeks, during the summer. The female wasp stings the caterpillar around the abdomen with a nerve-destroying paralytic poison, and while paralyzed, the caterpillar body automatically utilizes the stored fat (normally used to metamorphose into a moth or butterfly) to stay alive and not rot. Occasionally the caterpillars have been found to die, or not be paralyzed the entire period prior to their becoming food, but the female wasp has an extremely efficacious venom. The caterpillars almost always remain in their chamber until they’re eaten alive by the juvenile.

After it pupates, the adult wasp is capable of digging out of the burrow from the inside.

Wasps, Social and Solitary. George Peckham and Elizabeth Peckham, 1905.

Hyperparasitism: Parasites that are parasitic to parasites!

The wonderful world of entomology - parasites within parasitoids all over the place! Though parasites are found throughout the natural world, insects have some of the most interesting examples found between (and sometimes within) the families of the order, including many hyperparasites.

At top, you can see the parasitoid (a parasite that generally consumes or intentionally leads to the death of the host - long-term survival within the host is not the goal) burrowing-wasp parasitizing the rhinoceros beetle larva. Once the female burrowing-wasp “smells” out the location of the larva, she burrows down to it and lays an egg on the body. After her egg hatches, it feeds on the larva. When the beetle larva is consumed, the burrowing-wasp pupates, and forms a chrysalis underground. After metamorphosis, it digs its way up and out, and feeds on pollen or nectar while searching for a mate.

But the insect world does not always let one get away with that sort of parasitoid behavior for free! Many members of the Hymenoptera, including the burrowing-wasps, are in turn parasitized by Strepsiptera, formerly known as the “twisted-winged parasites”. This parasitism of parasites (or parasitoids) is known as hyperparasitism, and is mostly found in entomophagous (insect-eating) insects.

As larva, Strepsiptera are free-roaming insects, looking for a host. Once the appropriate host is found, the larvae will enter the insect (using various mechanisms) and take up residence in its abdomen, as can be seen in the image on the bottom-right. Both sexes go through the last instars (moults) of their larval stage within the host. After this stage, there is a vast difference between the females and the males - the males pupate, go through a complete metamorphosis, and emerge from the host as adults (of course, killing the host in the process). The females become neotenous adults (adults capable of reproduction, but with juvenile forms - axolotls are another example), and stay within the host for their entire life. The male mates with them while they’re within the host, and their eggs hatch inside their bodies.

Fun fact: When the Strepsiptera larvae emerge from the host, the brood canal they come out of is generally at the top of the abdomen, just below the head, so the host ends up having babies coming out of its “neck”. This doesn’t kill them, and some hosts end up sustaining three or more broods of its parasite. Cool stuff!

Top: Burrowing-wasp parasitizing rhinoceros beetle. Marvels of Insect Life. Edward Step, 1916.
Bottom Right:
Adult male Strepsipteran (Stylos dalii), free of host. British Entomology. John Curtis, 1823-1840.
Bottom Left:
Adult female Strepsipteran and adult female Strepsipteran within host. Applied Entomology. H.T. Fernald, 1921. 

Anonstostoma australiasiae - The Giant King Cricket
A member of the same family as the Giant Wetas of New Zealand, the Giant King Cricket is the heaviest cricket in Australia, and is one of the largest in the world. Living in the rainforest environments of Queensland and New South Wales, these Orthoptera emerge only on wet nights, and eat slow-moving insects and rotting fruit.
King Crickets aren’t threatened or endangered, though they’re not exactly easy to find. As burrowers, the only real chance for an inexperienced explorer to find one is under significant piles of leaf detritus. But hey! If you’re ever stranded in the Queensland/NSW rainforest and come across one, they apparently make as good a meal as the New Zealand wetas! They might not taste great uncooked, but they’re not deadly, and aren’t especially skittish critters, at the least.
The Naturalist’s Library: Introduction to Entomology. James Duncan, Edited by William Jardin, 1840.

Anonstostoma australiasiae - The Giant King Cricket

A member of the same family as the Giant Wetas of New Zealand, the Giant King Cricket is the heaviest cricket in Australia, and is one of the largest in the world. Living in the rainforest environments of Queensland and New South Wales, these Orthoptera emerge only on wet nights, and eat slow-moving insects and rotting fruit.

King Crickets aren’t threatened or endangered, though they’re not exactly easy to find. As burrowers, the only real chance for an inexperienced explorer to find one is under significant piles of leaf detritus. But hey! If you’re ever stranded in the Queensland/NSW rainforest and come across one, they apparently make as good a meal as the New Zealand wetas! They might not taste great uncooked, but they’re not deadly, and aren’t especially skittish critters, at the least.

The Naturalist’s Library: Introduction to Entomology. James Duncan, Edited by William Jardin, 1840.