bait in the wolf trap (petitfour) wrote in wtf_nature,
bait in the wolf trap

the peanuthead bug!

I have to apologize for constantly posting things that piggyback sort of off of previous posts. But you guys always post some really interesting things and it reminds me of other cool stuff that I then have to share. Anyway:

This wiley critter is the Peanuthead Bug:

If you're wondering which end is up, then that means that evolution has done it's job. The giant formation on it's head (the peanut) is meant to confuse predators and hopefully have birds pecking either at the peanut or at its butt instead of the important bits. Its real head is back by it's front legs. Being a resident of a place that has a huge variety of predators in a small space, it requires many protective adaptations (fake head, poison spray, absorbs poison from food it eats, blends in with trees) and so its wings are pretty cool too:

Now the only reason I know about this critter is because when I went on a student trip to Costa Rica, we got to play with these guys (gently). Our guide warned us that in Costa Rica, they say that if the Machaca (p-nut bug) bites you, the bite will be fatal! The only thing you can do to cure it is... um, have sexual intercourse within 24 hours. Makes sense, right? Big ugly bug, Costa Rica being full of poisonous things to begin with, etc.

The funny thing about this insect is that it eats mostly sap from trees, by landing on one and simply sticking its sucking tube (technical term) in to the bark. It actually has no biting mouth parts and couldn't bite a human if it tried, so even though they do often absorb the poison from the plant juices they consume, the fatal bite thing is just made up by Central American/South American guys just to try and get some.

Also, those big heads are hollow, and they can often be heard loudly drumming their heads against trees. It's kind of hilarious to watch, but as we were told to remember, that's yet another warning sign to predators. So if the peanuthead bug is a-drummin' don't go near it unless you want a face full of poison spray. It is cute though, heh.
Tags: insect
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