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’ll likely meet at one of MBHI’s outreach events. For a more in-depth look at our animal’s life-histories, check out the Notes from the Lab. To find out about what local bugs you might be seeing, head over to What’s Buzzin’.
Extatosoma tiaratum - One of our more popular bug ambassadors, the Giant Prickly Stick Insect, is not actually prickly, she just looks that way. It’s a great tactic to avoid being eaten; the irregular, serrated-leaf shape helps them to blend in with their surroundings.
Latrodectus hesperus - The Black Widow is the most venomous spider in North America, so when she joins us at outreach events, it’s an “eyes only” experience. Black Widow spiders are typically not aggressive, and bite as a defensive measure when they are attacked or feel threatened.
Gromphadorhina portentosa - Do cockroaches give you the heebie-jeebies? Have no fear! You will often meet our Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches at the mobile Encounter Cart, where you will learn just how friendly these animals can be!
Archispirostreptus gigas - Millipedes, like crustaceans and arachnids, are not insects, but they are arthropods! The Giant African Millipede is the largest millipede in the world, and can be found in east Africa. They 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 - Belonging to the family Phasmatidae, our Vietnamese Walking Sticks are very friendly and are often featured at our mobile Encounter Cart. Come interact with this special herbivore and learn about how camouflage helps prevent her from becoming someone’s lunch!
Chicobolus spinigerus - 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 - 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!
Asbolus verrucosus - The Blue Death feigning beetle is probably our most kid-friendly animal. Their reinforced exoskeleton and slow-moving, clumsy nature makes them a great beetle for first-time-bug-ambassador-encounters. They typically join us at every outreach event.
Grammostola rosea - We have not one, not two, but four Chilean Rosehair Tarantulas. Tarantulas typically eat just once a week, so if we have multiple events where we want to show off the tarantula’s expert ambush capabilities, it’s best to have several in rotation. Plus who doesn’t love being surrounded by tarantulas at all times?
Therea petiveriana - Our Domino Cockroaches are the cutest roaches around! Their distinctive pattern is an excellent example of Batesian mimicry; it mimics a local type of poisonous leaf beetle, in an attempt to dissuade predators from eating them for lunch!