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Bug pictures ...

So it has been a while since I posted about my six-legged friends. I am always baffled when people don't understand why I love what I do. What could be more fun than working with animals?

Well, today we got in some new friends - some blue crawfish from a nearby lab that is studying why they turned blue. Blue crawfish can be found naturally in the wild and there isn't a lot known as to why they are blue. When a nearby lab was studying crawfish husbandry (for mass production for farming) they "accidently" turned the majority of their stock blue. They aren't sure if they happened to tap into a genetic strain, if it is the food they are feeding them, or the conditions in which they are being kept - but a large percentage of them turned bright blue.

The researchers have lots of blue crawfish so they are being generous enough to donate some to us for a new crawfish exhibit (replacing our hermit crab exhibit). The new little ones arrived today in perhaps one of the most creative shipping methods I have ever witnessed.

Crawfish shipment

At first glance you simply wonder how the heck they got the little buggers in there! But when you take a closer look you can see that they cut the bottles in half, stuck the crawfish inside, and then shoved the two halves back together ... trapping the crawfish inside.

Blue Crawfish Blue Crawfish

They are rather dashing critters. I love the purple hue that several of them had. I haven't ever really enjoyed the taste of crawfish or lobster and I think it is because I am so fond of the animals in question (I loved to eat shrimp long before I realized what amusing animals they were ... ah well).

Also at the end of the day Remy (a coworker) pointed out that a katydid was laying eggs. This isn't terribly rare or notable except for the weird contortions they do to lay their eggs. They twist around and put the egg on the branch while mouthing it (the egg and the branch presumably). Flexible much?

Katydid laying eggs

And I can’t go very long without photographing one of my favorite characters – the unicorn katydids! Here is a little male sitting on the plastic wall of its container. I adore those little muppet eyes – but don’t let them fool you – they will totally attempt to chew through your finger if you give them a chance. Cranky little fellows – but I love them!

Unicorn Katydid with its muppet face!

I will try to take more pics in the near future before things get insane when school groups start coming again.

We're all on the same side - we're out to get me.

~ Bob Schneider ~


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2010 09:28 am (UTC)
Crayfish are now considered an invasive species in Arizona, and fish stores are legally forbidden to sell them. Before that happened, however, my uncle and I would buy all we could to toss in the turtle pond, 'cause the turtles? They love the taste of crawdad gumbo.

Anyway, over the years, we saw red, green, and blue at various times, and I always sort of wondered why they turned those colors, but couldn't find any data on it. Now I know.
Jan. 22nd, 2010 07:20 am (UTC)
Very interesting to see the blue/purple crawfish. Really makes me wonder which variant it was that turned the researchers' subjects, and how soon they'll be able to narrow it down (or if they're even going to prioritize trying to figure it out?)

And, yes, as always I love the unicorn katydid shots as well. Thems teeth are still frightening though! How easily could they really gnaw through your finger? *is curious*
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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