Monday, January 10, 2011

Lots of Ladybugs . . . or at least another type of Beetle

Most people know that I love Love LOVE my job!

I get to wake up and go to work where I spend anywhere from 8 to 14 hours playing.

I walk around with Jungle Nymphs on my shoulder like they're parrots. . .

Sometimes I have stern talkins-to with tarantulas about boundary issues regarding my iced chai . . .

Sometimes I make fun of children's artwork . . .

(Come on people. This 3rd grader knew exactly what he was doing. I'm counting AT LEAST 3 rim jobs going on here and I think 1 has a little insertion. Sick.)

But I also do work. This year I've been focusing on breeding things that we've never been able to breed in captivity before.

Let's see . . .

Right now I have a species of spider that I need to figure out how to couple without getting
them killed or me sent to the ER

One species of beetle that I can't figure out the right soil composition for the female to lay eggs in.

Another species of beetle that I'm trying like mad to find a second plant the larvae will eat because the first plant, kudzu vine, the USDA won't let anywhere near a US port of entry.

A mantis that needs a temperature about 30 degrees higher than the other animals in the room

And another mantis that needs humidity about twice as high as everyone else in the room.

And while I'm experimenting over and over and failing over and over, guess what happened . . .

the little Blue Death Feigning Beetles from the Sonoran desert - an animal that no one has ever been able to captively breed - has quietly been laying eggs and raising their grubs in a tank right in front of me. This ground breaking thing is happening without my help at all while I can't replicate what others have already done before.

There's a story from Under the Tuscan Sun that tells of a girl who used to hunt for ladybugs and never caught any. Then one day she fell asleep in the grass and when she woke up she was covered in ladybugs.

That's totally me! Except with Blue Death Feigning Beetles. Plus, while the little girl probably kept them in a jar until they slowly suffocated and/or starved to death - I am off to work on publishing.

In yo' face little girl!!


  1. :) Love all the pictures! There were moments though were I was reminded of Bio-Dome as well as Under the Tuscan Sun!

  2. I love it, but would like to know why the youtube link on the butterfly pavillion for tarantula breeding does not work. Your hard work just amazes me and my kids love the results. You should hear them brag at school about their cousin the bug king.

  3. Hey, that little girl married a successful Italian movie director and inherited all his money when he died!!! I love that little girl/old woman because she's eccentric and marvelous and gives great advise even though it doesn't seem like she is. TO LOTS OF LADYBUGS!!! WOOHOO! I love that movie.

    BTW: LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture. I laughed... It was wondrous. And I am totally in love with that second mantis. How freaking cool!!!

    I'm glad you love your work! That makes me smile!