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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stick Insect

I had read and seen pictures of it but this is my first physical encounter with a Stick Insect, it was so well camouflage it would not surprise me if I had encountered it in the past but not took notice of it. It looks exactly like a twig and if this particular specimen wasn’t spook by me and attempted to fly off, I would not have seen it.

With a body shape that mimics the twigs of plants including matching its colors, it is among the best camouflaged of all creatures.

Stick insects are strictly vegetarians and feeds on leaves, generally nocturnal it would remain motionless, hidden under plants during the day. There is another variety of Stick insect that resembles a leaf, I am sure I will come across one someday.

Interesting facts about Stick Insects:
1. There are more than 3,000 types of Stick Insect identified worldwide.
2. Stick insects can reproduce without a mate and if there are no males, the females will lay eggs resulting in a population consisting entirely of females.
3. It has the ability of partial regeneration, for example regenerating a lost leg after several successive molts.
4. The Malaysian stick insect, Pharnacia serratipes, maturing to about 13 inches, is known to be the longest insect in the world

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dung beetles

All Dung beetles consisting of more than a few thousand species are from the Scarabaeoidea family and from here splits into a few other subfamilies. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. The following photos are of a Malaysian dung beetle (Gymnopleurus sp.) in action.
Their source of food consists partly or exclusively of faeces. Those that eat dung exclusively do not need to eat or drink anything else, because the dung provides all the necessary nutrients. Making the name, Dung Beetles somehow very appropriate, they are also known as Scarab beetle.
When Dung beetles comes across a piece of dung, it will roll the dung into a spherical ball which are then used as food, some species will bury the dung while another will just stay put where the dung is, living literally on it or in it.
It is truly amazing to observe how dung beetles roll its dung, without looking where it is going it somehow manages to roll the dung in a straight line with its hind legs. It is reported that some dung beetle navigates by using polarization patterns in moonlight but the example shown was rolling its dung in broad daylight. There is much to learn on how straight line navigation was achieved without the benefits of front sight.
Dung beetles, plays an important ecological role in nature by reducing fecal material in nature and in turn reducing the habitat for filth-breeding flies and are considered beneficial insects.