I am afraid that I have neglected to report a rather unfortunate turn of events and some pretty sad news, but with the positive hype that was surrounding the celebrations of my birthday finally coming to an end, I do not see any reason to withhold this any further. Dian-Dian, our female praying mantis (Hierodula membranacea) had a fall whilst molting and while this may not sound like a very big deal (insects are generally more than well equipped to deal with falls), such an accident during the molting process generally ends in death. An insect, you see, is covered by a tough, water-proof like material called chitin which composes the insect's exoskeleton.
Throughout its brief life, it is the exoskeleton that gives many insects their unique appearance and protects them from the elements and predators. Generally speaking, this exoskeleton is really pretty tough and durable but there are moments during the insect's life when it needs to be shed in order to make way for a new and stronger one that had been growing underneath. When the insect sheds its old exoskeleton, the new layer underneath is still quite soft and takes quite some time to harden. This is to enable it to expand so that the insect can, too, increase with size. Now an insect with a soft exoskeleton is really nothing more than a collection of gooey fluids trapped inside a very thin bag of membranes and tissues so imagine, if you may, what might happen if you were to drop such an object from a great height upon a hard and unrelenting surface! The results are best left to your imagination but should the insect even survive the impact of the initial fall, it is often so deformed as a result that it finds itself quite crippled when the exoskeleton eventually hardens up.
|Feeder Worms: Today on the menu Carrots!!!|
|Cocaine for bugs!!! NAH! I'm JUST KIDDING!!! It's ground cuttlefish bones that I use as a calcium supplement for my newts.|