The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Beautiful freaks

It’s Saturday, and I’m YouTube-ing again. 

Video #1: Freaky wasp

Props to Ted for turning me on to Tarantula Hawk Wasps

Wooooooowww.  These are some bad-ass bugs for sure.   Taratula Hawks (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae) stalk, grapple with, and (if all goes well) paralyse their large spider prey with a painful sting rivalled only by that of the dreaded Bullet Ant.  The stunned spider, still alive, is dragged into a dugout nest, where the female wasp lays a single egg on the body of her victim.  When the egg hatches, the tarantula is eaten alive by the voracious young larva.  Don’t parasitoids just freak you right out???  Despite the ferocious feeding habits, these wasps are actually quite docile, and really rather stunning – gorgeous deep blue-black body highlighted by glinting rust-coloured wings. 

Video #2: Freaky diva

Because today I am totally obsessed with Lady Gaga (why did I not know how freakin’ COOL she is until recently?  Huh?  Why did no one TELL me???) you get the way-over-the-top-bloody-über-drama spectacle that was her rendition of Paparazzi at the VMA awards…

The theatre geek in me simply adores her edgy drama, her huge stage presence, the use of costuming,  makeup, lighting, good sets and props to set a tone…the fact that the woman can hella sing is just gravy.

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2 responses to “Beautiful freaks

  1. Ted C. MacRae December 2, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    Now you know why tarantula hawks are such a reliable “gross out” story for the uninitiated.

    Speaking of bullet ants, I was once stung by one.

    • The Geek In Question December 2, 2009 at 3:39 PM

      Ow ow owie ow. But LOL @ impaling the bastard with a #2. (Fantastic post btw. DAMN, NATURE, YOU SCARY!)

      I have been EXTREMELY fortunate to avoid most stingy stuff (I too prefer beetles to the pointy-ended bugs)…although I did discover the hard way that the business end of a praying mantis means business (ow ow owie ow…but being the good little park naturalist I was at the time, I valiantly managed not to flick my hand and fling the rotten jerk-bug clear across the room – only because I was busy trying to show it to enthralled kids as part of a mini-lecture).

      The first time I came across an oil beetle (a simply gorgeous blue Meloe angusticollis) I was working on an experimental dairy farm spending most of my time sorting through cow poop for bugs (good times). I was walking through a hay field, saw this glistening jewel of beautimoniousness and then freaked out because I DID NOT HAVE A COLLECTION VIAL. I had visions of immediate and large and painful blisters…and picked it up with my bare hands anyways. It promptly oozed at me, but b’gosh if it didn’t bother me in the slightest. I fear that this benign experience has set me up for future pain and suffering by dulling my sensibleness.

      The only truly evil plant I’ve run into shall have to remain nameless (because I honestly don’t know what it was called). Whilst on a field course in Belize, I started to shimmy up a half-fallen tree to better snap photos of a troupe of Howler Monkeys. I don’t know what kind of bastard tree it was, but my arms broke out in welts and burned and stung for the next 24 hours. My oh-so-sympathetic PI just shook his head at me (he did that a lot) and said “the trees in this country have no sense of humour”.

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