Dead Leaf Mantid

dead leaf mantis

As its name implies, the dead leaf mantid expertly blends into its environment by mimicking a dead leaf. It even sways gently as a leaf does in the breeze. If threatened, the mantid drops to the ground and virtually disappears among the leaf litter on the forest floor.

Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater


With a legspan reaching 10 inches or more, the Brazilian salmon pink birdeater is one of the largest tarantulas. It boldly forages along the forest floor and is a speedy, voracious hunter. Like other tarantulas, it will defend itself by flicking tiny abdominal bristles called urticating hairs at an intruder, which cause itching and irritation.

Red-kneed Tarantula


Beauty, gentleness and slow reproduction may have gotten this spider into trouble. Countless wild animals have been harvested by the pet trade, with growing concern by conservationists. This species is now protected by a multinational treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Domino Roach

Domino roach web

The white-spotted pattern of the domino roach is thought to be a form of defensive mimicry.  Would be predators  may mistake the roach for a six-spotted ground beetle, which sprays an irritating chemical when threatened.  The domino roach also secretes its own defensive chemical that serves to alarm other roaches of a impending danger.

Florida Orb Web Spider

orb spider web

Up to three inches long, the female Florida orb web spider is five or six times larger than the male.  She traps flying insects in a large, sticky orb-web of silk spirals.  Wrapped in silk, captured prey may be stored for a future mealtime.

Green Leaf Katydid

katydid web

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“You are what you eat” seems to fit this insect since it looks like a leaf.  It is similar to a grasshopper (yes, it jumps) but is nocturnal and uses its long antennae to feel about in the dark.  The male makes ‘chit-chit’ sounds at night by rubbing his wings together to attract a receptive female.

Flat Rock Scorpion

FlatRockScorpion_NikkiMasucci web

To escape the heat of the day and the attention of predators, a flat rock scorpion hides among the rocks. Its flattened body allows it to squeeze into tiny cracks and crevices. At night, the scorpion emerges to chase down small animals for dinner, using its powerful pincers to grab and crush prey.

American Burying Beetle

american burying beetle

The American burying beetle makes a living out of eating the dead. A male and female find and bury a small dead animal, perhaps a rodent carcass. Reproduction occurs during summer months and eggs laid nearby soon hatch into grubs (larvae) which feed on the carrion for about a week. Both the male and female help care for the larvae. Next the larvae pupate and emerge as young adults a couple months later. 

Blue Death Feigning Beetle

blue death feigning beetle web

When threatened, the blue death feigning beetle rolls over on its back and plays dead. Predators, such as spiders, prefer live prey. The blue coloring comes from the wax secreted by the desert-dwelling beetle to create a protective shield against dehydration and overheating.

Togo Starburst Tarantula

togo tara

The Togo starburst tarantula is arboreal, living high up in the trees. It spins a long hollow silk tube in which to shelter. From its hiding place in the crook of a tree, the tarantula ambushes an insect and injects it with venom. The venom paralyzes the insect and breaks down its body tissue into liquid that the tarantula sucks up.