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Bug Collection - 10/12/01
There are 210 bugs displayed here (shown at 45 dpi).
Click on a picture for an enlarged view with description.

See also my Old Bug Collection (1990) and bug artwork.
Tarantula Hawk Wasp, Pepsis toppini
Ouch! I wouldn’t want to get stung by this guy! These wasps are called “Tarantula Hawks” because they kill tarantulas and bury them for their young to feed on. They are arguably the largest wasps. This is a pretty big one with a 6.75 inch legspan. Thanks to David Williams for helping me correctly identify this species. You can also see this picture here.

Madagascan Sunset Moth, Chrysiridia rhiphearia (shown at 71 dpi and 600 dpi)
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful butterfly in the world. Ironically, it is not a butterfly! It is a moth that can only be found on the island of Madagascar, off the coast of Africa.
Iridescent Scales (shown at 7700 dpi)
This high resolution image was taken with the Intel Play Computer Microscope which can zoom up to 14400 dpi (dots per inch).

Bird Eating Spider, Pamphobeteus antinous, Peru, 8/97
I saw an interesting special about these tarantulas at the Annual Bug Fair. The tribal people refer to these spiders as “the gift of the gods” because they make great traveling snacks. A pregnant spider is considered to be a special treat because the eggs can be made into an omelet. Nothing goes to waste; even the fangs are used as toothpicks.

Tailess Cave Whip Scorpion, Amblypygid - Peru, 7/7/99
This thing has an incredible leg span of 22 inches! It uses it’s long legs to feel around in caves. Those jaws look absolutely medieval.

Links
Medieval Pedipalps - close-up photo of Damon variegata, by Igor Siwanowicz

Praying Mantis, Virginia, 8/16/06
Praying Mantis’ make great pets. They seem to have lots of personality. I found this one in Virginia.

Links
Praying Mantis videos - snake, mouse, goldfish
Praying Mantis Animation - impressively realistic-looking rendering by Grzegorz Jonkajtys

Beautiful Beetle, Euchroea clementi, Moramanga, Madagascar
The colors on this beetle remind me of the Sunset Moth. It’s also from Madagascar.

Links
Living Jewels - some of the most breath-taking beetle photos I’ve ever seen by Poul Beckmann. Here are some of my favorites: red, green, and blue, tiger-striped, rhinoceros beetle, longhorn beetle
Pheromone - beautiful insect photos by Christopher Marley

Metallic Dung Beetle, Phanaeus vindex, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 8/8/01
This beetle is metallic green with a purple thorax and a gold head. Most metallic beetles are green, but they come in all different colors including gold, silver, blue, red, and purple. Some of these beetles are very expensive.

Links
Scintillatrix dives - metallic beetle with rainbow colors, perhaps the most beautiful I have ever seen, photo by Igor Siwanowicz

Katydid, Orthoptera sp. - Chiang Mai, Thailand, 6/05
Here’s a nice big one.

Hercules Beetle, Dynastes hercules
I think these are the world’s longest beetles.

Goliath Beetle, Goliathus goliatus; Zilo Shaba, Zaire; 6/97
These are the world’s heaviest beetles. This one is a female (the males are a little bit bigger). Look at that face; looks like something from Star Wars.

Links
Goliath Beetle X-Ray
Remote-Controlled Cyborg Beetle - by DARPA
Here is a rough 3D scan of this beetle, created by my coworker Joseph Mancha using a Vivid 9i Non-contact 3D Digitizer. He is planning to clean it up and add textures to it. I look forward to seeing his finished product.


Harlequin Longhorn Beetle, Acrocinus longimanus
These long-legged beetles look like painted African tribal warriors. Can you imagine what it must look like to see this thing flying?

Emperor Scorpion, Pandinus imperator - 7/7/99
These are the world’s largest scorpions. They also make nice pets. This one was my youth pastor’s pet. She couldn’t sting because her stinger was too blunt. The poison is not very strong.

Wasp Megascolia procer - Indonesia, 7/7/99
These are another one of the largest species of wasps. This one is a female because it has curled antennae. Thanks to David Williams for helping me identify this species.

Clipper, Parthenos sylvia, Indo-Australia
This is probably my second favorite butterfly or moth, after the Sunset Moth. It has transparent windows in its upper wings. Not all Clippers have this iridescent blue color.

Giant Agrippa (White Witch), Thysania agrippina
These moths have the largest wingspan of any butterfly or moth in the world.

Atlas Moth, Attacus atlas, Indo-Australia
These moths have the largest wing area of any butterfly or moth in the world. They also have triangular-shaped transparent windows on their wings.

Golden Orb Spider?, Papua New Ginea
Not a tarantula, but certainly big enough! These are the world's largest web-building spiders and they build the largest and strongest webs, capable of catching small birds. The silk has been used by natives to construct fish nets.

Link: Banana Spider

Walking Stick
Walking sticks are the longest insects.

Link: Goliath Stick - cool picture

Blue Beetle, Torynorrhina flammea

Giant Water Bug, Malaysia?
I used to catch these swimming in a pond at my grandparent’s house in Washington. Giant Water Bugs are sometimes called “Toe Biters”. They inject acid into their prey and suck out their insides. If biten by a Giant Water Bug, a frog sitting on the edge of the water will shrivel up before your eyes. Some people in China like to grind them up and use them for spices.

Stag Beetle, Dorcus titanus, Palolo Palu, Indonesia, 1/28/00
The males have bigger jaws than the females. They use their jaws to fight over the females.

Links
fighting stag beetles - very large mandibles, photo by Igor Siwanowicz

Lamellicorn Beetle, Chalcosoma atlas, Indonesia
This one has three big horns like a triceratops.

Links
Proud and Horny - close-up photo by Igor Siwanowicz

Birdwing Butterfly, Ornithoptera priamus urvillianus
This is my largest butterfly so far. Some butterflies grow even bigger.

Antimachus Swallowtail, Papilio antimachus
I don’t know if this it true or not, but this site claims these are the world’s most poisonous butterflies. I’ve also read that they are rare.

Lantern Fly
These bugs have really weird looking heads. They are called “Lantern Flies” because people used to think that their heads could glow.

Fiddle Beetle
Here’s another strange one. It’s pretty big, but very flat, resembling a huge seed. They are carnivorous and found under loose bark.

female Comet Moth (Madagascan Moon Moth), Argema mittrei

Pyralis Fireflies, Photinus pyralis, Virginia, 7/10/05
One night when I was biking with my Dad, we saw a valley filled with a vast number of glowing fireflies. The valley looked like a sky filled with moving stars. Even the distance mountains were covered with glittering lights. It was a very beautiful sight to see.

Starburst Baboon Tarantula
A friend gave me this one as a pet because his wife wouldn’t let him keep it. It was very poisonous and had a serious attitude... It liked to hiss at me and bite its cage.

Link: Cobalt Blue Tarantula - another mean tarantula with a beautiful blue color

Elephant Beetle, Megasoma elephas

Cicada; Pomponia imperatoria; Cameroon Highlands, Malaysia; 9/03
These are the world’s largest cicadas. Cicadas are known for their loud buzzing sounds. One interesting species is the 17-year cicada, which comes out in droves once every 17 years. When I was in Virginia 8/8/04, there were so many, it was almost impossible to avoid stepping on them. In somes places, they were piled 3 or 4 deep!

Grasshopper, Tropidacris dux

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, Cicindela sexguttata, Virginia, 7/25/05
These beetles are voracious predators. They are very fast runners and can be difficult to catch.

Link: Closeup photo - by Igor Siwanowicz

Metallic Wood-Boring Beetles, Chrysochroa Rajah, Catoxantha Opulenta

Green Bottle House Fly, Phaenicia sericata
These common pests can be quite beautiful on closer inspection. This picture is a composite of pictures from my microscope.
Here is a close-up of the fly’s compound eye (7700 dpi).

Centipede, Scolopendra
Centipedes are poisonous and aggressive.

Links
giant centipede videos - mouse, tarantula, bat, Grasshopper Mouse

Green Millipede, Class Diplopoda
Millipedes are not poisonous. Millipedes have more legs than centipedes.

Links
Prehistoric Giant Millipede - ridiculously huge millipede on the Discovery Channel's Prehistoric Park series
Carboniferous Millipede (Arthropleura) - largest land invertebrate ever discovered

Orchid Bee, Exaerte frontalis
These wasps are absolutely gorgeous.

Wasp Mimic
This is actually a small butterfly that looks like a wasp. It has transparent wings.

Thistledown Velvet Ant, Dasymutilla gloriosa - Murrieta, California
Check out this hairy white ant. Velvet ants are actually classified as wingless wasps. Only the females are wingless, but compensate for it by having a long stinger.

Sow Bug (a.k.a: Pill Bug, “Roly-Poly”), 600 dpi
I am amazed by the intricate mechanics of a simple roly-poly. I used to see these all the time as a child and they would roll up in a little ball to protect themselves.

Link: Giant Isopod - very cool

Blind Snake; Tucson, Arizona; 8/02
OK, well technically this is not a bug, but I thought it was too cool to pass up. It looks like a worm, but it’s really a snake and it feels like a snake.

Cockroach, Blaberus giganteus

Female Black and Yellow Garden Spider, Argiope aurantia - California; 8/19/08

Jumping Spider, Phidippus audax - California; 5/4/12
These jumping spiders have excellent vision and beautiful metalic blue mouthparts.

Links
Peacock Spider - amazingly beaufiful jumping spider from Australia

Bug Links

Bug Fairs
  • Annual Bug Fair - usually meets in May at the L.A. Natural History Museum. I got most of my exotic bugs from here. The bugs are much cheaper at the fair because they are not packaged into nice display cases. All you pay for is the bug. I also like to see the “Master Bug Chef” while I’m there. It’s great fun to watch him serve up his cricket salad, fried scorpion, and locust shish kebab.
  • Cal Poly Pomona Bug Fair - meets some time around the third weekend of October
  • Great Insect Fair - meets in September at Penn State University

    Specimen Suppliers
  • Insect World - based in San Diego
  • Ianni Butterfly Enterprises
  • BioQuip Bugs - large selection listed by scientific name (no pictures), formerly owned by Insects International
  • The Bone Room - amazing specimens but some are expensive

    Other Bugs Links - please email if you have more recommendations for this list
    prehistoric giant dragonfly - amazing 32 inch wingspan
    What’s That Bug - very informative site, a great place to identify your mysterious bug photos
    BugGuide - another great place to identify your bugs
    highly detailed and realistic bug models - by Julia Stoess
    InsectNet - one of the premier insect sites, see their 2001-2 and 2003-4 event galleries
    List of largest insects
    Virtual Insects - nice 3D animations by Alexei Sharov

    See also my shell collection.