Archive for the ‘Insects’ Category

Hanging around for a bit of sex

In Insects, Uncategorized on February 17, 2013 at 10:34 am

Birdwings mating

Pen with birdwing butterflies

Pen was gardening yesterday when a pair of birdwing butterflies, firmly locked in the embrace of Eros, landed on her arm.

Sex is tough for the female birdwing. The boyfriend locks his organs into hers then hangs upside down, wings folded, while she flies around, carrying him.

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A couple of updates

In Insects, Miscellaneous ramblings, Uncategorized on March 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm


Our Banded Hornets' nest is gone.

My most recent post – Who Robbed the Coucals? – suggested that maybe it was Asian Giant Hornets or Banded Hornets that broke into the nest of our pair of coucals and ate the eggs.

But I thought I’d ask for an expert opinion. I contacted Associate Professor Paitoon Leksawasdi, an entomologist at Chiang Mai University. Read the rest of this entry »

Who robbed the coucals?

In Birds, Insects, Miscellaneous ramblings, Uncategorized on March 5, 2011 at 8:26 am

The culprit? Asian Giant Hornet queen.

We have a pair of Greater Coucals in the garden. They’ve tried many times to raise young, but without success.

For some reason they seem to favour a stand of Buddha bamboo right in front of the house. It should be ideal – the bamboo is very dense and although it won’t keep snakes out, it deters our cats. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a crappy life being a bug

In Insects, Uncategorized on January 2, 2011 at 5:35 am

No, my name's not Frank. In fact, I'm really not a bug at all. And you really do NOT want to eat me.

Anyone who’s studied nature for more than five minutes will know that camouflage is an important part of survival for millions of species. But carrying one’s excrement on one’s back is, some people might say, taking things a bit far.

Pen recently bought a makok tree, sometimes known as Thai olive. The fruit bears a passing resemblance to olives, but that’s as far as it goes. In fact this tree – Linnaean name Spondias dulcis (see here for Wiki entry) – is a relative of the cashew tree.

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Well, at least they are not Tiger Hornets…

In Insects, Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 4:55 am

Elegant paper pyramid, but don't get too close.

Over the past few months I’ve been cautiously watching the growth of a paper hornets’ nest on one of our pomelo trees. It’s now a good metre high. It’s really very elegantly made, and tough, too – it’s apparently unaffected by the heavy rain we’ve had in the past few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Anyone know what on earth this is?

In Insects, Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Antennae? Or tail? No idea

This strange insect visited us during breakfast. Tiny, as you can see – that’s Pen’s index finger it’s perched on. It pottered around for a while and seemed just as happy walking backwards as forwards. Still not sure whether those are antennae or a fancy tail. Finally it got bored and with a powerful jump simply disappeared.

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The original webmasters

In Insects, Uncategorized on December 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm

The horror! The horror! Momma sinks her fangs into a helpless grasshopper.

You know the scene in the horror movie when the dumb blonde stumbles into a spider web and screams? I sympathise. I keep stumbling into webs in the garden. Usually they are the huge webs constructed by giant wood spiders.

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Okay, who terminated my termite mound?

In Insects, Mammals, Uncategorized on July 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Something ripped the top off this termite mound and raped the nest inside. But what?

If you’ve ever tried to get rid of a termite mound, you’ll know it’s not easy. They look like big piles of soil but they’re amazingly hard. To dig one out completely takes several hours of hard work with a mattock. Read the rest of this entry »

Eating my words: Tackling the terrible termites

In Insects, Uncategorized on April 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

Literary fodder. The one volume that's untouched in this picture is a book about British stately homes. Frankly, I found it fairly indigestible too.

I’m a bookworm. I devour books. I make regular trips to the second-hand store in Phang Nga Rd in Phuket Town and spend hours browsing, trying to find books that don’t normally appear in airport book stores. I love books. I wolf down three or four a week.

When I say I’m a bookworm, that I devour or wolf down books and go browsing in book stores I am speaking metaphorically. This is mental fodder we’re talking about here, not xylophagia (look it up).

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