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Jul. 20, 2011

Cast of Characters

by The Bug Chicks

Click to enlarge images

There are many ways we teach about insects and spiders, like videos, podcasts, and workshops. But we've found that one of the best ways to teach is to introduce people to our live animals. We have several arthropods that star in our videos and act as our ambassadors in workshops, and we want you to meet them!

Ava

Ava is a Chilean Rosehair tarantula (Grammastola rosea), and he comes from the Atacama desert high in the mountains of Chile. His body has a pinkish hue to help camouflage him among the desert rocks.

Likes: laying clean silk before meals
Dislikes: riding in the car

 

 

 

 

Esmeralda

Esme is a Texas Brown tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi). We're not exactly sure of her species, but she comes from the southwest deserts of the United States. She has urticating hairs, which are barbed and can stick into another animal's skin, on her abdomen that she can kick toward a predator when she feels threatened!

Likes: hanging upside down in her habitat
Dislikes: being misted with distilled water

 

 

Rex

Emperor scorpions (Pandinus imperator) are native to Africa. Although they're one of the largest species in the world, they are very docile with relatively mild venom. Unfortunately, due to their popularity as pets these animals are disappearing fast in the wild - but we make sure all our pets are captive bred.

 
Likes: hiding under his log
Dislikes: smooth surfaces, like our floor!

 

Warf & Bob

Madagascan hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) are slow-moving, docile insects that are great classroom pets! Their hiss is caused by air being forced through spiracles, or insect nostrils, along the sides of their abdomen. They do this to try and frighten away potential predators or to fight for a mate!

Likes: lettuce and apple slices
Dislikes: air conditioning

 

Shemp

He's a Curly Hair tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum) and is native to Central America. These tarantulas have long, curly hairs that cover their bodies. He's still a baby (and about the size of a quarter) so we haven't brought him to any workshops yet, but he's growing fast and will soon make his live debut!

Likes: burrowing (alot)
Dislikes: vibrations against his cage

 

Have you met any of our animals? Write in and tell us what you think of them!

________________________________________________

Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker are The Bug Chicks. They each have Masters Degrees in Entomology and love to teach people about insects and spiders. They also run Solpugid Productions where they are involved in all sorts of entomological endeavors including the popular Bug Bytes podcast, produced in collaboration with the Texas A&M University Department of Entomology. For more from The Bug Chicks, check out their website at http://www.thebugchicks.com!

About The Bug Chicks

Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker are The Bug Chicks. They each have Masters Degrees in Entomology and love to teach people about insects and spiders.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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