Tag Archive: insects

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae

Genus/species: Catonephele numilia

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:The males are dark brown on the upperside with dazzling reflective orange patches which vary in size and shape from species to species. Females are entirely different in appearance. In most species they have dark brown wings marked with linear rows of cream spots.
Both sexes of all species have cryptic undersides in shades of brown.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: C. numilia breeds in wet rainforest and cloudforest at elevations up to about 1800m (5900 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Adults feed on rotten fruits, while caterpillars feed on Alchornea species.


Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/35513496662/in/album-72157608449327886/

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

EOL eol.org/pages/164956/details

Learn About butterflies  http://www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/Amazon%20-%20Catonephele%20numilia.htm

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Mantodea
Family: Mantidae
Subfamily: Deroplatyinae

Genus/species: Deroplats desiccata

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: D. desiccata is brown in color with “leaf patterns” on its wings and has a broad prothorax that looks ripped and crumpled like a dead leaf. When threatened it drops to the ground with all legs folded resembling a dead leaf.
It can also react with a threatening display consisting of “black underwings” splayed out, with large eyespots, frightening away unsuspecting predators

Length females up to 80 mm
Length males up to 70 mm

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indonesia and Malaysia in trees among leaves.

DIET IN THE WILD: Prefers flying insects like moths.


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

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Animal Diversity Web   animaldiversity.org/accounts/Deroplatys_desiccata/classif…

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda (Jointed Legged Animals)
Class: Insecta  (head, usually with two antennae. The thorax, has six legs and usually four wings. The abdomen, is used for breathing and reproduction.)
Order: Lepidoptera (most butterflies and moths)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Caligo eurilochus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color of the top (dorsal) wings is blue-gray.   Its ventral (bottom) wing surface is brown and tan with many lines and two large eye spots.

Wingspan up to 12.5 cm (5 inches). 

Wing bottom

Giant Owl Butterfly Caligo sp.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Mexico south to Amazonia in rainforests and secondary forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: Adults feed on rotting fruit, sipping liquids through their proboscis.

Wing Top

Giant Owl Butterfly IMG_0008

REPRODUCTION: The five larval instars each take a week to moult from one form to the other and the process therefore lasts about five weeks. The last instar moults to the chrysalis form which can be found hanging before the butterfly emerges at the end of five weeks

LIFESPAN: Up to seven weeks

PREDATORS: Fly at dusk to avoid avian predators.

Parasitized by tiny wasps known as Trichogrammatid which are parasitoids meaning that they kill their host

Giant Owl Butterfly 3175391673_2e6880dc85_b

REMARKS: Giant owls larvae are large and voracious, and one individual can consume an entire banana leaf more than 3 feet long!

The common name is derived from the large “eyespots” on the underside of wings, thought to be deterrents to bird predators.

Rainforest butterflies


California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute biogeodb.stri.si.edu/bocas_database/search/quick/open/?se…

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/137994/details

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Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera (Beetles)
Family: Scarabaeidae  (Scarab Beetles)
Subfamily: Dynastinae (Rhinocerous Beetles)

Genus/species: Chalosoma caucasus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Males have large curved horns which are used when fighting other males for a female. The smaller females do not have horns but are covered with fine tiny hairs called setae. The male female differences are an example of sexual dimorphism.

It is the largest of the genus Chalcosoma and one of Asia’s largest beetles. Length up to 90–120 millimetres (3.5–4.7 in)

DISTRIBUTION: Found from Malaysia south into Indonesia

DIET IN THE WILD: Feed on compost from decaying logs and wood.

REPRODUCTION: Larvae emerge from eggs and grow through 3 instar stages, then a pupal stage in a papery covering (7.5 inches in length) followed by emergence of the beetle after several months


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017 Vetting Tim Wong

EOL eol.org/pages/10753705/overview

Natural Worlds.org www.naturalworlds.org/scarabaeidae/species/Chalcosoma_cau…

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Saturniidae

Genus/species: Argema mimosae

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color is emerald-green with yellow and red eyespots on wings. Larvae are green with thin white bands and rows of long projections on back. The cocoons are silvery and pitted with small holes. This Moth has no moving mouth parts. Its one week adult life consists of living off stored fat, mating and laying eggs.
Females release pheromones which are detected by the males large feathery antennae.

Wing Span 10-12 cm (4-5 inches)

African Moon Mothimg_0654

DISTRIBUTION: Eastern and Southern Africa


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

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reimangardens.com/  www.reimangardens.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/african_…

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Mantodea
Family: Hymenopodidae
Subfamily: Epaphroditinae

Genus/species: Phyllocrania paradoxa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: This is a miniature species of leaf mantis, growing to under 5 cm (2 in). Theses mantids exhibit sexual dimorphism with females being longer and having a wider abdomen than males. Colors can vary from grey/green to dark brown or almost black. Colors are dependent on humidity and light levels. Ghost mantids have leaf-like head and shoulder shields, and leaf-like protrusions hanging from their limbs. This “dead-leaf” appearance makes it very difficult to see. The scientific name is probably derived from Greek for “leaf “(phyllo) and Latin for “head” (crania).

Phyllocrania paradoxa6319511720_e34688f6b4_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: P. paradoxa are found in the warm, highly humid tropical forests of Tropical Africa including Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, and Somalia.

DIET IN THE WILD: This species will eat almost anything that moves, and it is very, very fast. When another insect comes within striking distance, the mantid flicks out the long front legs, and grabs it in a fraction of a second. They are remarkably patient, and will sit in the same position for weeks, just waiting for something to land near them.

DIET IN CAPTIVITY: Drosophila (fruit flies), houseflies, crickets, and flour worms.

MORTALITY and LONGEVITY: Generally a long-lived species.  Molt every 3–5 weeks, until the 4th and final molting.  Life span: up to 14 months in captivity.

REPRODUCTION: In general mantids reproductive organs are found at the tip of their abdomen. Females attract males with pheromones, there is a brief courtship dance, and the male alights on the female’s back. After delivering sperm, the male usually hurries away as females are known to consume their mates! After fertilization the female deposits batches of eggs, using an ovipositor at the tip of her abdomen. The eggs stick to stems and leaves, and each batch is housed in an egg case made from an abdominal secretion that hardens to protect the eggs from birds and other predators. After about a month the nymphs hatch and then molt several times, each time becoming more like the adult form. 

Juvenile below

Color of Life Note: Ghost mantids exhibit cryptic coloration (conceals or disguises an animal’s shape). They look like a vine draped on tree and bush branches.


LOCATION: Madagascar Rainforest


References. California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual.

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4333501334/in/set-72157620708610230/

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Encyclopedia of Life  http://eol.org/pages/3489690/details

ADW Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phyllocrania_paradoxa/classi…



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda (insects, arachnids, and crustaceans)
Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea (cockroaches and the termites)
Family: Blaberidae (giant cockroaches)

Genus/species: Blaberus giganteus 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have three pairs of legs, and two pairs of wings, the forewings being light brown in colour. Largest neotropical cockroach by weight. A giant cockroach has a flattened, oval body, about 9 cm (3.5 inches) long and 4 cm (1.5 inches) wide. Females are slightly larger than males. They commonly run along the ground, although the adults have wings that are rarely if ever used for flight. They have long, very slender antennae and two sensory organs, called cerci, at the tip of the abdomen.

Blaberus giganteus 3445478500_7a02fcb067_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Central and South America. They prefer dark, damp locations such as caves, rock crevices, tree hollows, and spaces under loose tree bark.

Blaberus giganteus 3775296951_fd8e873273_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Cockroaches are omnivores and detritivores. Common diet includes bat guano, rotting wood, fruit, seeds, decomposing vegetation, dead insects, and other animals. They help recycle decaying matter on the ground into useful nutrients for plants. 

REPRODUCTION: Females emit a pheromone that induces males to mate. Male courtship rituals include raising wings at right angles to abdomen and making trembling movements with abdomen. After mating, the female B. giganteus will be pregnant for life producing eggs which turn into nymphs which later become adults.

Blaberus giganteus 3779077163_a2d1b493c7_b-2

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: They can live about 20 months as adults.

PREDATORS:  Army ants kill and eat nymphs.

CONSERVATION:  IUCN: Not Listed; CITES: Not Listed  

Cockroaches dates back over 200-300 million years, and are very adaptable and resilient animals.

REMARKS:  The leg bristles and antennae are used for seeing and feeling, in their dark habitat, while their flat bodies enable them to hide in crevices and underneath rocks. Cockroaches do not have lungs to breathe, but instead they take air in through spiracles, which are tiny holes on the sides of their bodies, and are used to send oxygen to other parts of the body. This allows the cockroach to survive for a period of time without its head, until it dies of infection, starvation or dehydration. When threatened, the giant cockroach is able to produce a foul smell to ward off predators. 

Location: Rainforest Costa Rica CR04 


Toronto Zoo http://www.torontozoo.com/ExploretheZoo/AnimalDetails.asp?pg=445

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1075061/details

Sreng, L. 1993. Cockroach Mating Behaviours, Sex-Pheromones, and Abdominal Glands (Dictyoptera, Blaberidae). Journal of Insect Behaviour. 6: 715-735.

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, katydids, and their relatives)
Family: Tettigoniidae

Genus/species: Copiphora rhinoceros

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF KATYDIDS: They are usually green and have a thick body, usually taller than it is wide, and long thin legs. The head has chewing mouthparts and long thin antennae that reach back at least to the abdomen of the insect. The front wings have special structures that can be rubbed together to make sounds. They hear these sounds with flat patches on their legs that act as ears.

Tettigoniids may be distinguished from grasshoppers by the length of their filamentous antennae, which may exceed their own body length, while grasshoppers’ antennae are always relatively short and thickened.

C. rhinoceros uses the horn like projection on their head for protection from hungry bats.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Central, North and South America. Found in the forest canopy.

DIET IN THE WILD: They use their powerful jaws to subdue prey such as small invertebrates and consume plant material.

REMARKS Use sound to communicate across distances. Sometimes nearby males will all call together, trying to attract females. They also use their antennae to touch and smell each other.

Copiphora rhinoceros15949749665_c2933568be_k



Encyclopedia of life  eol.org/pages/972/details

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Copiphora_rhinoceros/classif…

California Academy of Sciences Exhibit. San Francisco CA

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Order Coleoptera

The largest of insect orders, currently about 350,000 beetle species are known.  One of every five animals on earth is a beetle!  The name coleoptera or “sheath wings” derives from sheath-like wing cases, called elytra, that provide protection to a second, underlying pair of more delicate flight wings. The elytra are not used to power flight, but help stabilize the beetle as it flies.  Some beetles, such as various ground beetles, have lost the ability to fly.

Stag, Hercules, and Rhinoceros Beetles

Family Lucanidae and Family Scarabaeidae (Subfamily Dynastinae)

DISTRIBUTION: Worldwide distribution.

HABITAT: Mostly woodlands. Adults live and breed in damp, rotting wood.

APPEARANCE:  Medium to large beetles, males of some species have spectacularly large jaws. Females are considerably smaller in size, and lack the impressive “horns.”

DIET: Larvae feed on decaying wood, probably getting nutrition not just from the cellulose, but from the fungi and microbes decomposing it. Adults of most species feed on sugary liquid food, such as sap from wounded trees, aphid ” honeydew” secretions, and ripe fruit. Adults are unable to chew.

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Males use their huge jaws to fight for access to females. Individual males play “king of the hill,” only in their case they are fighting to win access to control a dead stump or tree that a discriminating female will find highly suitable as a residence to feed and protect her offspring. The male-male contest involves each trying to maneuver his huge mandible underneath and overturning his competitor, ideally knocking him to the ground. Injuries are rare, but the victor, who is typically the largest and strongest, gains the female, or often multiple females, as he controls the best breeding property.

Stag beetles evolutionary development of sexual dimorphism, with males being significantly larger than females, repeats a miniature version of a sexual strategy familiar in the animal kingdom: to the victor (the largest male) belongs the spoils (reproductive rights to pass along his genes). Even better, this strategy is most often found in haremic groups, where the male wins not only one female, but many.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Larvae live 3-5 years, adults a few months.

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Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, Order Mantodea, Family Empuisidea

Genus/species: Idolomantis diabolica

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Its leafy color and leg flaps make this flower mimic a master of disguise.  Females, like this one, have straight antennae; males have feathery antennae.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Grasslands and savannas in Tanzania

DIET: flies, other flying insects

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Its leafy color and leg flaps make this flower mimic a master of disguise.  Females, like this one, have straight antennae; males have feathery antennae.

Devil’s Flower Mantid IMG_6834

REPRODUCTION:  Like other mantids, this species is a voracious predator. It’s a cannibal as well. After mating, a female sometimes eats her partner.  If you’re afraid your mate might devour you after sex, you want to be careful. Male mantids seem to heed the dangers they face when mating. They seek to avoid detection by sneaking up on females from the rear or very, very slowly from the front.

REMARKS;  If threatened, this mantid rises up and spreads its arms to frighten predators.

Ref. California academy of Sciences, Animal Attractions 2012


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