Saturday 26 February 2011

USC Cockroach Webcam

The University of South Carolina cockroach webcam.

Cockroaches on the radio

Judith Marshall talks cockroaches on XFM with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington.

Shame they got her name wrong.....

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Orthopteroid Internet Resources

I have made an Orthopteroid Internet Resources page on my website. This is based on a list I wrote a while ago that was published in the AES Bulletin and Metaleptea.

If there is anything missing then give me a shout - either leave a comment on the blog, on Facebook or use the contact form.

Monday 21 February 2011

Preserving Orthopteroids using Borax

I had an e-mail exchange with a few colleagues this morning about the use of Borax powder to preserve the green colour of some orthopteroid insects. This was (I think) first described in Rentz, 1985, and has been reported subsequently by various authors (including in Marshall & Haes).

The basic procedure is as follows:

  • Dissect the majority of the internal organs, being careful not to scrape the cuticle as the outer layers are transparent.
  • Dust the inside with Borax crystals and stuff with cotton wool to retain shape.
Judith Marshall offered some pointers to do with the dissection:
With slim phasmids the abdomen may have to be slit to remove gut etc., but with saltatorial orthopteroids and chunky phasmids the best appearance is maintained by slitting behnd the headcapsule and removing contents from there. 
As well as some changes to the method suggested by Rentz:
 I find the talc too fine and dusty so use only boracic acid crystals, which are easily brushed off after stuffing.
So there you go - hopefully of use to somebody.

There are also methods involving the use of 'embalming' fluids - which are pretty nasty cocktails of chemicals and probably best avoided.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Music Ant Anatomy

Thanks to Rolf for the link.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Not Devon.....

I was rather surprised to see that this insect (it's Acrophylla wuelfingi) was found in Torquay: Monster insect invades Torquay.

 It turns out however that there is another Torquay, in Australia. Which makes a bit more sense given that this species is known from Australia.....

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Man arrested on charges of purchasing 500 illegal exotic roaches online

Female Guyana Orange-spotted Cockroach - Blaptica dubia
The topic of sending non-US native species to the states (or across state borders) comes up regularly on a variety of mailing lists.

The laws against this are there for the protection of the native ecosystems and should be respected. I have had several arguments with people over the years about how stick insects are harmless and should be allowed free transit. In fact they can cause a huge amount of damage (I have been compiling a list of the damage they can do for publication in a future Phasmid Studies).

Don't do it!