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This Asian Moth Is Probably Nature’s Ultimate Camouflage Master

We’ve seen plants and insects posing as something else entirely in order to confuse their natural predators, but Macrocilix maia, a moth native to Southeastern Asia, takes mimicry to a whole new level by literally painting an entire scene on its wings.

Looking at a Macrocilix maia moth, it’s impossible to ignore the scene painted on its wings – two flies feasting on some brown spots that could be mistaken for fresh bird droppings. It’s a pretty disgusting picture, and apparently we’re not the only ones who think so. Many of this moth’s predators tend to skip on insects feasting on bird droppings, associating them with potential disease, so the natural pattern acts as a defense mechanism for the otherwise helpless insect. And as if this visual representation of flies eating bird droppings wasn’t impressive enough, the moth reportedly also gives off a pungent odour that could be mistaken for actual bird droppings.

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Living Jewelry – The Shiny Cocoons of This Exotic Butterfly Look Like Gold Jewels

Butterfly pupae are easy targets for predators in search of an easy protein-rich meal, and one would think that the flashier the cocoon, the higher the chances of being spotted and eaten , but the Mechanitis polymnia, aka the orange-spotted tiger clearwing and its shiny, gold-like pods are proof that the opposite is true.

The orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly lives in the jungles of Central and South America, from Mexico all the way to the Amazon rain-forests. It’s a colorful little thing, with a wingspan of 65 to 75 millimeters, but it’s not exactly the most eye-catching of butterflies. Its pupae however are pure gold, literally. Well, not really literally, but they look just like elaborate gold jewelry hanging on the back of plant leaves, and even on the walls of houses in rural areas. But unlike actual gold jewels, these shiny, metallic-looking chrysalises are not meant to draw attention, but distract predators and even discourage them from getting to close. It’s a natural defense mechanism, and a very effective one at that.

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Russian Village Invaded by Apocalyptic Swarms of Flies

The Russian village of Lazorevy, in Russia’s Urals region, has been invaded by giant swarms of flies after a local farmer allegedly used chicken droppings as natural fertilizer in his fields, which acted as a perfect breeding ground for the insects.

Imagine Albert Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, only on a much larger scale and with flies instead of violent birds. The roads of Lazorevy have become living carpets of flies that rise into horrific swarms every time they are disturbed, locals sweep buckets of dead flies from their homes every day, and some people are even afraid to go outdoors because the tiny insects are virtually everywhere. The recent fly invasion has been described by most as a living nightmare, and despite the best efforts of residents and local authorities to wipe out the unwanted guests, the flies are breeding so fast that humans can’t keep up.

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Family Discover Colony of 80,000 Bees Living in Their Bedroom Wall

A family in Granada, Spain was shocked to discover that the constant buzzing coming from behind their bedroom wall turned out to be a massive bee colony numbering over 80,000 honey bees.

Spanish social media has been buzzing with the news of a couple in Pinos Puente, Granada, who recently asked a local beekeeper to investigate the increasingly loud buzz sound coming from behind their bedroom wall. They had been hearing it for a while and had long come to the conclusion that it must be caused by bees, but it wasn’t until the buzzing got so loud that they couldn’t sleep at night that they decided to get professional help. Beekeeper Sergio Guerrero had helped remove bee colonies from their properties before, but what he found behind the wall of this particular house left him speechless – a hive of over 80,000 bees and honey combs over a meter long.

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Giant Honeybees Use Shimmering “Mexican Waves” to Repel Invaders

The giant honeybees of East Asia can build impressive open nests measuring a few meters across. The fact that they are always exposed makes them vulnerable to predators, particularly large wasps and hornets that love nothing more than invading hives and stealing grubs. Luckily, the bees have a secret weapon that is as visually mesmerizing as it is effective.

Called shimmering, the unique defensive strategy of giant honeybees involves large numbers of workers raising their rear-ends by ninety degrees and shaking them in unison, creating an effect similar to the well-known Mexican waves seen at stadiums across the world. How hundreds of bees are capable of communicating and producing this highly coordinated response to threats remains unknown, but after 15 years of studying the behavior in the wild, scientists are now convinced that shimmering is a defense mechanism.

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Crazy “Cockroach Challenge” Has People Taking Selfies with Roaches on Their Faces

We’ve seen some crazy internet challenges go viral in recent years, but this latest one takes the cake as the most disgusting of all. The Cockroach Challenge has people putting live cockroaches on their faces, taking a selfie and sharing it on social media.

It’s hard to say for sure how and when the Cockroach Challenge came to be, but according to several sources, the craziness began last month, when Alex Aung, a young man from Myanmar, posted a photo of himself with a large cockroach on his face to his Facebook account, captioning it “new challenge, Can you do this?”. The photo quickly went viral, and at the time of this writing, it has over 5,600 reactions and 18,000 shares. But most importantly, people in Myanmar, the Philippines and Indonesia started sharing their own selfies with creepy crawlies on their faces, and the Cockroach Challenge was born.

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The Elusive “Scorpion Beetle” – The Only Known Insect Capable of Inoculating Toxins Through Its Antennae

Beetles are generally regarded as harmless to humans. Out of the over 350,000 documented species of beetle, only three are actually known to bite people, and only if they feel threatened. However, there is another species that few sources mention. Onychocerus albitarsis, aka Scorpion Beetle, is the only known insect capable of stinging humans with its antennae and delivering a painful toxin.

First described in 1859 by famous English entomologist Francis Polkinghorne Pascoe, the scorpion beetle is considered by many experts a fascinating case of convergent evolution. While all other known insects deliver venom or toxins by biting with fangs or stinging with a structure used exclusively for this purpose, e.g. a bee’s stinger, the scorpion beetle does it through its two long antennae, which research has shown have evolved to closely resemble a scorpion’s segmented tail.

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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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