Creepy Animals

…they're really interesting.

Jan 27 2013

Lobster Moth Caterpillar

lobster moth caterpillar on leaf

Bone-chilling...

They say people get more boring with age. The same holds true in the insect kingdom. The Lobster Moth is an incredibly ordinary moth whose larval form is anything but. The caterpillar features spindly forelegs and a swollen abdomen that curves up at the end, resembling a lobster tail. If the Lobster Moth Caterpillar is provoked, it spreads its front legs and arches its head back, possibly spraying formic acid. As an adult moth, it simply flies away.

Lobster moth caterpillar hanging off leaf

Hair-raising...

 

Lobster moth caterpillar with legs raised up

Blood-curdling...

 

Lobster moth on white background

The Lobster Moth as an adult. Yawn.

Photos via FlickrBogleech

Special thank you to Alyen Bird, who notified us with the existence of this creepy creature.

Aug 15 2011

Metallic Beetles


Super shiny gold and silver beetles

Shine on.

These radiant gold and silver beetles (Chrysina aurigans [left] and Chrysina limbata [right]) live in the dense rainforests of Costa Rica. And they’re gorgeous. We only wish we could wear precious metals from head to toe. Shamefully, these insects actually use their reflective bodies to hide amid vegetation by replicating shiny surfaces like beads of water.

What? How? Why?

The beetle’s wings manipulates light. According to NewScientist, ‘Light travels at different speeds through each of the 70 or so layers of exoskeletal chitin. Part of the light is reflected off each layer, and the intensity of the reflections is amplified as they constructively interfere with one another, creating an opulent sheen.’

Photo via Eduardo Libby. Want more bling? We do too:

Shiny blue beetles on leaf.

The lustrous blue of the Green Dock Beetle.

Photo via MObugs

Green metallic scarab beetle on flowers.

The green sheen of the Metallic Scarab Beetle.

Photo via What’s That Bug

Iridescent metallic beetle on flower.

The iridescent opalescence of Chrysolina Fastuosa.

Photo via Jaap Polak

Purple metallic beetle eating leaf.

The glitzy gloss of the Purple Metallic Beetle.

Photo via Bugguide.net

Aug 1 2011

Honeypot Ant

Honeypot Ant filled with liquid food.

Gluttony.

 

Two Honeypot Ants in habitat.

Greed.

 

Honeypot Ant in underground colony.

Sloth.

The Honeypot Ant is the perfect metaphor for how to survive in the post-consumer world: save and spend when needed. Just two easy steps.

1. SAVE

When food is abundant, the honeypot ant gets it’s nom on courtesy of other worker ants that feed it till it’s nearly bursting at the seams. The ant converts the food into a sweet liquid-y substance which is stored within the swollen abdomen. In this state the ant can balloon to the size of a grape, unable to move much within the colony walls.

2. SPEND WHEN NEEDED

When food is scarce, the honeypot ants regurgitate their stored nectar to feed their nest mates. According to Wikipedia, ‘in certain places, they are eaten by people as sweets and are considered a delicacy.’ Who’s hungry now?

Special thanks to dear reader Marcie for sending us this little treat. “Sloth” photo by Greg Hume.

Sep 17 2010

Unapologetically Creepy: Cyclocosmia Spider

Cyclocosmia trapdoor spider.

The trap door spider = abomination of mother Earth and scourge of the insect world.

Cyclocosmia trapdoor spider bottom.

Wow. Seriously, Nature? You've really outdone yourself with this spider.

Love strange creatures? Hungry for more? Try this recipe for the creepalicious Cyclocosmia Spider:

Ingredients:
- 1 small size spider
- 1/2 fresh coconut, flesh removed
- 1 large ancient Andean coin
- secrets

Directions: Select a location in the Florida Panhandle. In a large hole, combine ingredients and let sit for awhile. Carefully remove top soil. The Cyclocosmia Spider should be firm to touch and ready to scare the bejesus out of you. Serves 1.

Enjoy!

Jan 15 2010

Underwater Curiosities: Green Sea Slug

Green sea slug underwater.

Half animal, half plant, 100% creepy.

This Green Sea Slug (Elysia chlorotica, specifically) is the official Underwater Curiosities category challenger on Creepy Animals. We ask:

It is Underwater?   Yes.

A Curiosity of sorts?   Why yes.

Creepy?   Most definitely.

An Animal?   Hmm. Not exactly.

That’s because Elysia chlorotica creates chlorophyll, just like a plant. It accomplishes this task by harvesting the genes and photosynthesizing organelles from the Vaucheria algae it ingests. This means the slug is fully equipped to manufacture it’s own food via photosynthesis, which has never been observed in the animal kingdom. It also means that once a young slug eats its first full meal, it never has to eat the algae again.

Dec 27 2009

Unapologetically Creepy: Vegetarian Spider

We never thought the words creepy and vegetarian could ever be used in the same sentence in a contextually sound way. But really, this Vegetarian Spider (the only vegetarian spider) is very seriously creepy. The Vegetarian Spider is a species of jumping spider that favors the buds of acacia plants, among other green items in tropical southeastern Mexico and Costa Rica where it lives.

Vegetarian spider with many eyes.

"I spy with my many eyes...vegetables!" - the spider above

Oct 5 2009

Unapologetically Creepy: Assassin Spider

Assassin spider with prey.

Alien or insect?

In spite of being just 2mm in length, a super long neck and even longer jaws make this arthopod very creepy. This spider species was discovered in Madagascar in 2006 – while it is one of a family of known Assassin Spiders (those that kill and eat other spiders), it is the only one with dare we say…comically distorted proportions.

How it works:

1. The Assassin Spider uses its elongated jaws to capture prey.

2. Venom in the fangs at the end of the jaw effectively kill the prey.

3. Dinner is served. No webs needed.

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