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Old Jul 18, 2010, 2:12 PM   #1
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Default Strange Insect

Just what is this ? I found it in the garden today. It's about a little finger thumbnail size. It reminds me of some hermit crabs that decorate their shells as camouflage but I'm not sure if these strange adornments are actually part of the insect itself or decoration ? Any ideas ?

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Old Jul 18, 2010, 8:45 PM   #2
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You arent making this up?
Hah,
This is insane, Ive never seen anything like this before. Spider frog hermit crab? Have you seen many of these before? It would be interesting if youve discovered something here
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Old Jul 18, 2010, 9:41 PM   #3
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Head on it looks like a cross between a bulldog and a peacock.

Interesting bug and well photographed.

Lou
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 2:24 AM   #4
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I saw a documentary about something *like* this. It might be a fungal infection of a more normal looking insect which produces these growths.

[Edit] I found a few other pictures like this so it looks like that's how this thing looks naturally. CCouldn't find a name though: http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/2292149 [Link to someone else's site]
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 3:30 AM   #5
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NMR - no this isn't made up or PS'd ! I carefully returned it to where I found it (it doesn't seem to be able to jump or fly - some type of aphid perhaps). Since this doesn't seem to be anything anyone recognises it might well be quite a rare species so I'll go back and try and find more of them.

Lou - Thanks ! I thought the mouth really interesting too. Using underwater analogies I thought it's mouth is actually very similar to that of a Frogfish - and they feed by snapping up small passing fish (actually having the fastest mouths in the ocean, open and closed in 6 milliseconds, so fast that the target prey just disappears and other fish around don't even notice what happened, they can pick off a whole school like that ! They can also open their mouths up to 12 times it's normal size) and therefore I surmised it may not feed on vegetation but on minuscule flying insects.

Martin - thank you for the link. They certainly look similar and maybe these are usually a tropical insect. Shanghai can get very hot and humid for months on end (like now) so not improbable that something from Vietnam could survive here. Is your AutoHDR only for Windows ? Doesn't mention which operating system in the blurb.

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Old Jul 19, 2010, 4:08 AM   #6
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wow, nice insect! it is very strangem never seen it before either...

great shot though
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 5:23 AM   #7
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Yes, AutoHDR is for Windows but I think you can run Windows software on Macs? I'll put something on the webpage to make it clearer.
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 12:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
I saw a documentary about something *like* this. It might be a fungal infection of a more normal looking insect which produces these growths.
I would have thought so too. It certainly looks to me to have been parasitized, and I'd be surprised if it were "natural," but stranger things have occurred in nature.

And I wish you would work up a Mac version of your HDR program, Martin - having been "sensitized" against it, I have a "thing" about Windows. What else do you have to do in your spare time?
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 12:39 PM   #9
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I've found two possibilities so far, the first also had a photo of an aphid that looked vaguely familiar to the one above :-

1. It's a wooly aphid of some sort. They exude a waxy substance from pores in the abdomen as a defence against predators. If you caught one and carefully brushed off the waxy stuff, you'd find a fairly familiar-looking aphid underneath. (this stuff is white but otherwise they look very similar).

2. The aphids on the link Martin put up bear some resemblance too http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/2292149

This creature also moved unlike any aphid I've seen before ... it would fairly scurry from one side of the leaf to the other when I used a blade of grass to 'coax' it to pose in the direction I wanted !

Thanks for your comments Tom & Penolta !

Yes Martin, I'm sure that as far as graphics & photography go a much higher proportion of users have Macs than there are mainstream general use Mac owners !

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Old Jul 19, 2010, 1:22 PM   #10
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Hmm someone on another forum has just said :

It looks like a member of the order Homoptera (or Hemiptera, depending on whose taxonomy you follow), possibly an aphid. They often produce these waxy filaments, apparently for protection against predators

I'm going to have to look that up.
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