Our Bug Ambassadors are a great way to engage kids of all ages in the fascinating world of insects and their close relatives. Below are some of the ambassadors you’re most likely to see if you visit the Missoula Insectarium.
Morticia – Black Widow Spider- Home Range: Five different species of widow spiders are found throughout the U.S. and southern Canada. Habitat: Found in dry, sandy, or rocky areas. Wild Diet: Will eat almost any insect they can catch in their web. Interesting Facts: The Black Widow is the most venomous spider in North America. However, only the female’s bite is […]
Dump Truck, Backhoe, Dozer, Hard Hat, & Shellman – Hermit Crabs- Home Range: Hermit crabs are found worldwide. Habitat: Coastal areas Wild Diet: Hermit crabs are omnivores and will eat just about anything.
The K-diddies – Long-Legged Katydids- Home Range: Southeast Asia Habitat: Subtropical forests Wild Diet: Eats a variety of fresh leaves Interesting Facts: Katydids “hear” using a special membrane found on their foreleg called the “tympanum.” The tympanum acts similarly to a human eardrum, and katydids use it to listen for mating calls and other acoustic signals; maybe even the signals of predators like bats!
George – Giant Water Bug- Home Range: Northern U.S. and Canada Habitat: Lives in freshwater ponds and slow moving streams Wild Diet: Will eat any small animal they can handle: other insects, tadpoles, salamanders, aquatic invertebrates, and small frogs and fish Life Span: Can live for over 1 year Interesting Facts: Despite spending much of its life underwater, the giant water bug needs air […]
Polly – Goliath Birdeater Tarantula- Home Range: Northern South America Habitat: Upland rainforests Wild Diet: The Goliath birdeater’s wild diet consists of small herpetofauna and arthropods, with the occasional small rodent, bat, or young bird, though – despite its name – this is rare. Interesting Facts: One the world’s largest spiders, the Goliath birdeater’s leg span can reach to more than 10 […]
Alan – Tailless Whipscorpion- Home Range: Southern and Eastern Africa. Habitat: Savannas and semi-arid habitats in rock crevices and under bark. Wild Diet: This is a “sit and wait” predator that eats other invertebrates but may eat small frogs and lizards. Life Span: Approximately 5 years. Do you know? Whipscorpions are arachnids, meaning they have 8 legs, but don’t […]
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches- Home Range: Madagascar Habitat: Moist tropical forests; found under dead bark and in decaying vegetation Wild Diet: Opportunistic scavengers Life span: Usually 2-3 years; occasionally up to 5 years
Ripley – Giant Vinegaroon- Home Range: Southern United States and in Mexico Habitat: Underground burrows that are dark and damp; in rotten logs or under rocks and natural cover Wild Diet: Preys on insects, worms and slugs Life Span: 6-8 years Interesting Fact: The Giant Vinegaroon gets its name from the vinegar (acetic acid) that it emits to scare […]
Milton – Giant African Millipede- Home Range: Tropical regions in Africa Habitat: Lives in dark, damp places Wild Diet: Fresh and decaying plant material Life Span: Up to 10 years
Vietnamese Walking Sticks- Home Range: Vietnam Habitat: Lives in tropical forests Wild Diet: Variety of leaves Life Span: Approximately 6-8 months Interesting Facts: Vietnamese walking stick eggs are seed-like and are incubated in ant colonies, as described below for the Australian walking stick. The Vietnamese walking stick is capable of dropping limbs when dodging predators, however, only nymphs can regenerate limbs during metamorphosis. Only […]
Australian Walking Stick- Home Range: Northern Australia and New Guinea Habitat: In eucalyptus trees Wild Diet: Primarily eucalyptus leaves Life Span: Females can live between 9-18 months and males 6-8 months. Interesting Facts: The eggs of female Australian walking sticks look like seeds, which are tipped with a protein rich, fleshy part that encourages spider ants to carry them away to their […]
Mort & Gertrude – Florida Ivory Millipedes- Home Range: Southeastern United States Habitat: Lives in dark, damp places Wild Diet: Fresh and decaying plant material Life Span: 5 to 10 years
Newman – Emperor Scorpion- Home Range: West Africa Habitat: Deep burrows in tropical rainforests Wild Diet: Invertebrates and small vertebrates such as lizards Life Span: 6 – 8 years
Houdini – Dead Leaf Mantis- Home Range: Southeast Asia Habitat: Shrubs and leaf litter Wild Diet: Mantids are carnivores, they prey on other insects and spiders. Life Span: About 1 year
Blue Death Feigning Beetles- Home Range: Southwestern United States Habitat: Lives in the desert, in moderately moist soil Wild Diet: Fresh and decaying vegetation Life Span: Can live up to 10 years! Interesting Fact: Blue death feigning beetles are actually black in color, the blue is a powdery substance secreted by the beetle for sun protection. What do you think is this beetle’s primary response […]
Rosie – Chilean Rose Tarantula- Home Range: Bolivia, Argentina, and Northern Chile Habitat: Lives in shallow burrows in forested areas; also deserts and scrublands Wild Diet: Mostly large insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, beetles and roaches; will also eat smaller tarantulas and other spiders, frogs, and baby mice Life Span: 15-20 years for females; 1-2 years for males
Arthur – Hammers Cobalt Blue Lobster- Home Range: Southeastern United States Habitat: Lives in rivers, lakes, and streams Wild Diet: Plants, animals, detritus and sediments Life Span: 5-6 years
The Dominoes – Domino Cockroaches- Home Range: Southern India Habitat: Ground-dwellers found in scrub forests Wild Diet: Rotting leaves Life Span: Up to 1 year Interesting Fact: This cockroach is an excellent example of mimicry; their distinctive pattern mimics a local type of poisonous leaf beetle, in an attempt to dissuade predators from eating them for lunch!