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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Monkey grasshopper

Not exactly a commonly seen grasshopper belonging to the Eumastacidae family. This colorful grasshopper commonly lives in tropical rain forest and has rather short antennas. Long hind legs are a characteristic of monkey grasshoppers giving them a powerful leap whenever the need arise.

Being colorful mostly but specimen that are somewhat plain can be found as shown in the first photo, it is most probably poisonous, the color being a warning that it is not safe to be eaten. When observe closely their body shape certainly stands out from the common grasshoppers we often see.

There are more than 1,000 different kinds of monkey grasshoppers. Generally, grasshoppers are scientifically categorized into two main groups. Long horn and short horn and this refer to the length of its antennae. The long horns have antennae that are about the length of their body while the short horns have it with less than half their body length. Grasshoppers are than further classified into their respective specific types.

While searching for information on grasshoppers, I have come across some interesting facts which some of you may find interesting.
1. Like all insects they are cold blooded, that could explain why they are more active during a warm sunny day.
2. They breathe through tiny holes called spiracles, in their abdomens as they do not have lungs.
3. Each individual has five eyes, two large compound and three simple eyes. Till today no one is sure how the tree simple eyes are used.
4. The antennae or feelers besides helping it to feel its way around are also used to smell things.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Spider of Malaysia - 1

St. Andrew’s Cross Spider (Agiope Versicolor)

A colorful spider with a reputation of building an attractive web with an extra structure called stabilimentum. This structure helps to attract more prey and perhaps also explains the hypothesis of it being bigger than a normal spider due to its ability of catching more food.

The extra web structure also resembles a cross which explains the common name, unfortunately the photo I have taken do not show the web in great detail.

Wide-Jawed Viciria (Viciria praemandibularis)

I am not too sure if I had identified this spider correctly but comparison of photos available of this species of spider with the specimen I took pictures of seem to suggest it at least comes from the genus Viciria.

According to Wikipedia, Viciria is a spider genus of the Salticidae jumping spider family