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This Dead Leaf Is Actually a Live Moth Mimicking a Dead Leaf

When it comes to the art of camouflage, few creatures can match Uropyia meticulodina, a small moth capable of mimicking a dead, curled up leaf almost to perfection.

From a mantis that mimics a harmless orchid to attract prey, to a caterpillar that looks like a snake to fend off predators and birds camouflaged as toxic caterpillars, we’ve featured some truly impressive natural mimics in the past, but the Uropyia meticulodina moth may just be the best one yet. Its resemblance to a dead leaf curled round in on itself complete with tiny leaf-like veins is just uncanny. If not for video evidence that this moth is real, I could have sworn it was just the work of a skilled image editing artist.

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Scientists Discover Frightening Species of Wasp That Turns Spiders into Zombies

The Amazon rainforest is home to many frightening creatures, like giant Anacondas, flesh-eating piranhas, just to name a couple, and now you can add a new one to the list, a species of wasp that lays its eggs on the abdomen of spiders and then hijacks their brain, essentially turning them into zombies.

The previously unknown wasp of the Zatypota genus was discovered by researchers with the University of British Columbia (UBC) working in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin. They documented its symbiotic relationship with a species of so called “social spiders” and recently published some truly terrifying findings in the Ecological Entomology scientific journal. This newly discovered wasp is apparently able to hijack the nervous system of its host, forcing it to leave its colony, which it otherwise rarely does, protect the wasps larva and ultimately get eaten alive. It essentially turns the social spider into a zombie-like drone that then does the wasp’s bidding.

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Doctors Shocked to Find Spider Spinning Webs Inside Man’s Ear

A Chinese man who checked himself in the hospital because the pounding sound in his left ear wouldn’t go away, was shocked to discover that the noise was being caused by a spider spinning webs deep inside his ear canal.

Doctor Cui Shulin, deputy chief physician at the department of otolaryngology at the Dalian Central Hospital, in Dalian, China’s Liaoning province, recently told reporters that the unnamed patient, a man in his 60s, had come to the hospital to complain about a drum like sound and a tingling sensation in his left ear. After listening to the patient, doctors decided to investigate, but already suspected that a cricket or flying insect had somehow become stuck in the man’s ear. They didn’t expect to find a spider weaving cobwebs.

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Millions of Ladybugs Are Converging on a Remote Radio Tower in Australia and Nobody Knows Why

A remote radio tower near Mount Burr in South Australia has attracted millions of ladybugs for reasons no one seems to understand.

The unusual sight was recently reported by wildlife photographer Steve Chapple, who posted several photos and a video of it on his Facebook page. Contacted by ABC News Australia, Mr. Chapple said that he was told by a friend about this place where ladybugs would sometimes converge in the thousands, seven years ago, but their number has since increased manyfold. This year, there appear to be millions both on the ground and on the radio tower itself.

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Indian Girl Has Ants Pulled From Her Eyes Every Day And No One Knows How They Get There

An 11-year-old girl from Belthangady, India, recently made news headlines for having around 60 dead ants pulled from her eyes. As for how the insects got there, some doctors suggest they entered her body through the ears.

Last week, the girl, known only as Ashwini, started complaining of severe pain in her eyes. She told her parents that she felt there was something stuck in her eyes sockets, and when they checked, they did find a small ant in one of her eyes. They didn’t pay much importance to it, as they assumed the insect had gotten in there by accident, but it wasn’t long before the girl again started complaining about pain in her eyes. They discovered more dead ants, and this time, they took her to the hospital.

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This Buddha Sculpture Is Made from 20,000 Dead Beetles

Japanese artist Yoneji Inamura spent six years of his life collecting 20,000 beetles of different varieties and using them to create a five-foot sculpture of a popular Buddhist deity.

It’s unclear how and when exactly Inamura started catching and collecting beetles. Some sources claim that it was during his days working for the local railroad, in Itakura, Japan’s Gunma Prefecture, after noticing that the rhinoceros beetle’s horn resembled the fingers of the Buddhist deity, while others say that he was helping local children collect beetles and just became fascinated with them. Living in a rural area of Japan, Inamura was always surrounded by various types of beetles, including rhinoceros beetles, winged jewel beetles, drone beetles, longhorn beetles, just to name a few, and he dedicated most of his free time to catching and adding them to his collection.

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Brazilian Scientists Bake Bread Out of Cockroach Flour

With food shortage expected to become a major problem in the next decades, many experts believe that insects could become a major source of nutrients for people in the future. We already have plenty of insect based recipes and restaurants have begun putting bugs on their menus, but we need an effective way of using them as replacements for staples of our current diet, like wheat. Well, a couple of Brazilian food scientists have make a breakthrough in that area after successfully turning a species of cockroaches into flour and using it to bake bread.

Andressa Lucas and Lauren Menegon, two engineering students at the Federal University of Rio Grande, in Brazil, have developed a flour made from cockroaches that contains 40% more protein than regular wheat flour and can be used to make all kinds of baked goods. It also contains lots of essential amino acids, as well as amino acids and lipids. And before you start acting all disgusted, the flour is not made from bugs like tho ones crawling through your kitchen at night, but of a species called Nauphoeta cinerea. They are sourced from a specialized breeder, where they are produced according to the hygiene requirements of the ANVISA, the Brazilian health surveillance agency, and fed exclusively on fruits and vegetables.

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Man Sprays Insecticide in Ear to Kill Trapped Cockroach

After several attempts to remove a cockroach that had crawled into his ear while he was sleeping, a Chinese man decided to kill the intruder by spraying bug spray into his ear canal.

The 60-year-old man from Chengdu told doctors that a cockroach crawled into his ear on February 1st. He could feel it wiggling around inside, so he tried to force it out with various tools. First he tried using his fingers, then he moved on to ear wax scoops, toothpicks and tweezers. None of them proved successful, so he then tried scaring the insect by hitting his head with his hands, but that didn’t work either. After three days the insect seemed to have advanced further into his ear, so he decided it was time for desperate measures. He grabbed a canned on insecticide and sprayed it into his ear, hoping to kill the intruder.

This time, the man, referred to as Liu Qian (a pseudonym) by the media, was successful, but that didn’t actually solve his problem. The cockroach died almost instantly, but it remained stuck in his ear. Doctors say the chemical warfare the man waged on the insect didn’t help very much, as the spray caused his ear canal to swell up, trapping the bug inside. In the end, he had to visit a doctor to have the cockroach removed, an operation that took only a few minutes. It turned out that the insect measured around one centimeter.

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French Noodle Maker Is Struggling to Keep Up with Demand for Insect Pasta

When artisanal pasta maker Stephanie Richard added insects to her pasta on a whim, she had know idea what a huge hit it would become. The demand for her ‘protein-rich’, crunchy noodles is now so huge that she’s struggling to keep up with orders!

Richards, who strongly believes that insects are “the protein of the future”, said she got the idea for adding them to pasta in 2012, while trying to develop a high-protein version for athletes. That’s when an insect distributor in eastern Lyon contacted her about adding bugs to her pasta, and she was completely sold on the idea. She started producing insect flour pasta around Christmas that year, and the product pretty much started flying off the shelves. Her shop launched the unusual pasta just before the winter holidays, and sold around 500 bags in a matter of days.

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This Wasp’s Sting Is So Excruciating You can’t Help but Fall Down and Start Screaming

The Tarantula Hawk is a type of wasp with an excruciatingly painful sting that lasts only three minutes, but feels like a lifetime. The pain, rated four (highest) on the Schmidt sting pain index,  is best described as “fiercely electric”. Bug experts and people who have been stung claim the pain is a lot like getting electrocuted. And the best strategy to deal with it is – get this – to lie down and start screaming!

According to a report in the Journal of the Kansas Entomology Society, “Tarantula hawks produce large quantities of venom and their stings produce immediate, intense, excruciating short term pain in envenomed humans.” The report adds that “the instantaneous pain of a tarantula hawk sting is the greatest recorded for any stinging insect,” but “the venom itself lacks meaningful vertebrate toxicity.” In other words, the wasp’s sting isn’t deadly, but it’s so painful that it’ll make you want to die.

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Mexican Artist Recreates Classic Paintings on Real Butterflies

After experimenting with candy and toothpaste paintings, Mexican artist Cristiam Ramos is now working with preserved butterflies. He spends several hours pouring over each wing, painstakingly decorating them with detailed replicas of classical paintings.

Butterfly wings don’t naturally make for good canvases – they’re small, and the texture isn’t altogether right for painting. They’re each about 12 cm in length, so Ramos has to use a magnifying glass to get the intricacy and details right. He spends a good 56 hours painting each wing, meticulously applying one brushstroke at a time.

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Anty Gin – World’s First Gin Made Using Ants

True to its name, ‘Anty Gin’ is literally made from red wood ants. British distiller Will Lowe collects thousands of ants from the forests of Kent and prepares the gin at his lab-style distillery in Cambridge. The bizarre concoction is the world’s first gin to be made from insects, so naturally, it doesn’t come cheap. Each 70cl bottle costs £200 ($313), and contains the essence of 62 ants.

The idea for Anty Gin came about when Danish organisation Nordic Food Lab contacted Lowe, who makes custom gins for a living. “We were approached by a company from Copenhagen called Nordic Food Lab who explore the culinary qualities of insects and argue for the eating of them in western cuisine. They asked us to come up with a gin where the typical citrus flavor came not from lemon or lime peel, but from ants.” Lowe said.

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30 Days of Bugs – Student Goes on Insect Diet for a Whole Month

We’ve heard people going on all sorts of crazy diets, but this one is a first – an American student recently went a 30-day bug fest! Throughout  the month of February, Alabama student Camren Brantley-Rios ate insect-laced meals three times a day.

The 21-year-old, who documented his bug-eating experience on a blog called ‘30 Days of Bugs’, believes that traditional meats such as pork and beef are unsustainable as sources of protein. He considers insects to be the diet of the future, so he’s experimenting with creepy crawly ingredients to make delicious dishes.

There was a time when Camren himself was repulsed by the idea of consuming insects. But now that he’s actually done it, he says it hasn’t been too difficult to get used to. “I’m mainly sticking to three species,” he said. “Mealworms, waxworms and crickets. Those are definitely the bulk of my diet. But I’m trying here and there to incorporate things a little bit more exotic.”

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Guy Claims He Has Tamed a Japanese Giant Wasp, Keeps It on a Leash

The Japanese giant hornet is known as one of the world’s largest and most aggressive insects. It is two inches long with a quarter-inch stinger, can fly at speeds up to 25 mph, and is feared for its powerful, poisonous stings that claim at least 40 lives in Japan every summer. So when a Japanese man made an outlandish claim that he had actually tamed a hornet, no one really believed him.

But Twitter user Mikuru625’s has been trying to convince everyone that he actually has a pet giant hornet by posting photos of it. He said that he had captured the hornet with a butterfly net and held it with tweezers while he removed its sting and poison sacs. He then put a string around its thorax, so that the insect follows him wherever he goes. “He does bite occasionally but it doesn’t hurt,” the owner says.

Dead Stinger For A Pet Causes Debate in Japan

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80-Year-Old Woman Dedicates Her Life to Swatting Flies, Kills Up to 1,000 Per Day

When 80-year-old Ruan Tang had retired, around 14 years ago, she wanted to spend her time doing something useful for her community. And when she realized how much the flies were bothering people during the summer, she decided to do something about it. Tang is now a woman on a mission – to swat as many pesky flies as possible.

“I decided that killing flies was the best way for me to be useful – and I’ve been doing it now every day since,” she said. Tang, who belongs to the Changmingsixiang Community in eastern China’s Hangzhou City, has made it her full-time hobby – for the past 14 years she has spent eight hours a day, seven days a week, killing flies.

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