Here is an incredible and rather gruesome example of camouflage that I recently came across. This was on the shore of Lake Victoria, among the buttress roots of a fig tree…
What are these mysterious creatures?
As you can see – there was a small group of strange beings shuffling along on the bark of the tree. A closer look revealed that these insects were dressed up in one of the most bizarre costumes! They were wearing a suit of DEAD ANTS!! Yes, the ‘cloak’ covering the insects’ body is made up of dead ants. These are ants that this Assassin Bug nymph has captured and then glued to its back after killing them and sucking out their body fluids.
Living among the young Assassin Bug nymphs was a single adult, who is likely the mother of some of these young killers. She was brightly coloured, but did not wear a coat of ants.
More from the wonderful (and bizarre) world of insects soon…
Dear All, while watching a trail of ants walking up the trunk of a tree I noticed a tiny piece of dirt moving among the ants. At first I thought that it was just a stray bit of bark blown in, but a closer look revealed that it was moving purposefully with the ants. It was so tiny that I couldn’t get photos of it with the ants and had to put it on a sheet of white paper to actually see it…
Is this a speck of dirt or a bug?
Turning the speck of dirt over reveals that it is indeed an insect wearing a cloak of bits of dirt and bark. Here you can see the legs and body segments more clearly…
'Speck of dirt' turned over to reveal an insect beneath!
Not sure exactly what this bug is or is doing with the ants, but no doubt it is a ‘myrmecophile’ which means an ‘ant-lover’ that lives with the ants and exploits them…
Truly a wonderful disguise!
Have been watching some bees visiting wildflowers and trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to get a photo of one extremely beautiful and fast-flying bee – a long-tongued Amegilla bee with a shiny blue abdomen..
Beautiful and elusive Amegilla bee
As I was waiting patiently for the bee, I noticed some of the flowers twitching. A closer look revealed this unbelievable master-of-disguise!
Can you spot the Flower Mantid?
Here is a closer look at this creature who is the emperor of the tiny world on the flowers… Even the eyes, and the grappling-hook fore-legs are beautifully sculptured to fit in with the sinister illusion
Flower Mantid - Master-of-Disguise!
One of the most remarkable insects I came across in Borneo was this consummate master of disguise
Can you spot the large insect in the picture below?
Can you spot the insect?
Ok – here is another picture where it is a little easier…
Now can you see the insect? (It's right in the middle of the picture!)
And here is a view of this amazing ‘phantom’ – this is an unidentified kind of stick insect…
The Master of Disguise!
More from the wonderful world of insects soon…
More from my travels in the bush. At a spiny succulent euphorbia in Laikipia the other day I was looking at some Groove-winged Flower Beetles. These are tiny beetles who feed on flowers, often in groups. Here are a couple pictures of the beetles – and what I took to be a happily visiting fly as well. On peering closer I noticed the fly wasn’t really moving even when I accidentally bumped the plant. Then I looked closer (as one always should with insects) and guess who was sitting there !?
Can you spot the interloper in the pictures below?
Groove-winged Flower Beetles and someone else - can you see her?
Here's a closer view - now can you see her?
Yes – this was an amazing flower spider beautifully camouflaged to look just LIKE the euphorbia flowers!
The flower spider with her lunch!
Even more amazing – the fat yellow one is the female, she is much larger than the male, who rides around on her back – you can see him here – the reddish brown one sitting on her! This difference in sizes is not unusual in spiders where females are typically the big beefy ones and males are tiny and weak…
Close-up: you can see the tiny male sitting on her back!
More from the wonderful world of bugs soon!