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.
Pagurus spp.- Hang out with Herman and Shelley, our resident Hermit Crabs! While not insects, hermit crabs are close relatives belonging to the phylum Arthropoda, or arthropods, meaning they have an exoskeleton that they need to shed in order to grow.
Mecopoda elongata- Meet the K-Diddies, our Long-Legged Katydids! Katydids belong to the family Tettigoniidae and are closely related to grasshoppers, locusts and crickets. They are visible during the day, but at night they really come alive with their strident mating calls!
Theraphosa blondi- Peek at Polly, our Goliath Birdeating Tarantula! She has grown quite a bit in her time at the Insectarium, and will continue to do so throughout her life by periodically molting. To see just how much Polly has grown, be sure to check out her old molts at the front desk!
Damon diadema- Meet Alan, our Tailless Whip Scorpion! Also known as a whip spider, tailless whip scorpions are not scorpions! They belong to the order Amblypygi, meaning “blunt rump” and are closely related to other whip scorpions like vinegaroons. Tailless whip scorpions are arachnids, but are non-venomous and generally very docile.
Gromphadorhina portentosa- Behold the Hissers, our Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches! Do cockroaches give you the heebie-jeebies? Have no fear! You will often meet the Hissers at our Encounter Cart, where you will learn just how friendly these animals can be!
Archispirostreptus gigas- Meet the Miltons, our Giant African Millipedes! Millipedes, like crustaceans and arachnids, are not insects, but they are arthropods! The largest millipede in the world, they can be found in east Africa and have 2 pairs of legs (4 legs total) per body segment. That’s a lot of shoes to put on in the morning!
Medauroidea extradentata- Meet the Vietnamese Walking Sticks! Belonging to the family Phasmatidae, these literal sticks with legs are very friendly and are often featured at our Encounter Cart. Come interact with this special herbivore and learn about how camouflage helps prevent her from becoming someone’s lunch!
Chicobolus spinigerus- Meet the Millies, our Florida Ivory Millipedes! Our Florida Ivory Millipedes are important decomposers that live in the southeastern United States. Their job is to break down decaying organic matter and turn it into soil for new organisms to grow and thrive!
Hadrus arizonensis- Come say “Hey” to Harry, our Desert Hairy Scorpion! Desert Hairy Scorpions are the largest species in North America! Like all scorpions, Harry is nocturnal and feeds at night. He’s often hanging out under his hide, but can be easily spotted with a UV flashlight, as he fluoresces!