Monday, 14 February 2011

Insects of the Fairground

Over the years I have kept a wide variety of Insect and other invertebrates as pets, mainly to watch them develop at each life stage, and to really get a chance to see them at work close up, which is very helpful when it comes to producing artwork related to them. I also keep some species to breed individuals which I keep as specimens once they die.
The first exotic insects I kept were Indian stick insects, and I have a feeling they were part of the reason my insect obsession started in the first place....

After that I kept Locusts and Hissing Cockroaches, along side a few UK species which I kept in tanks in the garden and bred. Since then I have mainly kept species which are a lot larger, here is a selection:

Eurycantha calcarata - the Giant Spiny Stick insect, this one is a female, and the first one of my batch to mature. They have a temper to match their appearance!

Female Griffin Mantis, the first Mantis I reared, was great to watch her stalk and catch prey...

Anthia sexguttata - African predator beetle. These beetles are great to keep, they live well together (I had 3) and they have big appetites to fill. The only downside is a defensive acid spray which I experienced first hand.

Extatosoma tiaratum - Australian prickly stick insect. These are a nice easy species to keep, and grow quite large, this image shows a female during a moult, shedding her skin, as all stick insects do when they need to grow.

Chelorrhina polyphemus - African flower beetles. (Female and Male) I received these beetles when they were larvae, they fed on rotten wood substrate for a few months before pupating and turning into these beasts.

 Giant African Millipede. - not an insect, but an amazing creature and very long lived for an arthropod, sometimes living over 20 years. This female is around 9" long.

 Platymeris biguttata - The White Spot Assassin Bug - these are fairly small, but make up for it with evil methods of injecting their victims with enzymes to dissolve the insides, which they suck out with delight.

Heteropteryx dilatata -Malaysian  Jungle Nymph. A very large and bulky species of stick insect, The females (shown here) can reach around 7" in length and weigh up to 75g. The males are slender and shorter, mainly brown and have large pink wings. The individual in this photo is now over 2 years old!

Male Atlas beetle - a large impressive species of Rhino beetle, this one seemed to love banana. Like most beetles they are surprisingly strong for their size...

There are quite a few more things that I have kept, so stay tuned...


  1. I WANT your large JN :P LOL How big is she anyway?

  2. The Jungle Nymph in that photo is 7" long, she got a bit larger when she was fully gravid with eggs, but she has slimmed down again now in her old age.

  3. Oh how I miss my eurycanthas :( Mine never had a temper, though. But maybe I just managed to never annoy them?

  4. haha, actually i only ever got clamped once, by a female, the males are the ones that are supposed to be agressive, but never had any trouble with them, i get more lip from the Jungle Nymphs.

  5. I just had a Heteropteryx dilatata on my hand yesterday, at an exhibition in the botanical garden. It was a great experience, I loved the animal. So friendly :)) Your photos look wonderful!