mounted insects

Watch on

Exhibit with mounted insects, frogs, and a bunch of polished, pyritized ammonite shells.


Masked Devil, Cyclochila australasiae.

The ventral (underneath) view shows this cicadas amazing rostrum (its proboscis, mouthparts) which it uses to penetrate plant material to feed on its xylem.

The Masked Devil is thought to have a life cycle of seven years or more, most of that as a larvae underground, feeding on sap from tree roots. Large cicadas like the Masked Devil may survive as an adult for several months.

This individual (exhausted) photographed at the Heritage Rail Trestle Bridge, Mount Lawson state park, Victoria.


Bestiary - Nuggalopes (½)

Greater Mountain Nuggalope 

Stubborn and hardy, the Greater Mountain Nuggalope - or “Deth Nug” - makes a statement, and that statement is “hands.”

As far as historians are able to determine, referenced to the greater mountain nuggalope (or “deth nug”) predate the Divine Age. For centuries, the nuggalope remained a creature of myth, with sighting attributed to lunacy or drunkenness. Occasionally, convincing evidence for the nuggalope’s existence would be brought forth. These claims were always proven to be hoaxes, perpetrated for fame or malicious amusement. 

As such, it came as a great shock when tales of the nuggalope were finally proven true. Despite their elusive nature, nuggalopes may be tamed and even ridden, though few have accomplished such a feat. 

One of the nuggalope’s most unexpected features - and one of endless fascination to researchers - is the creature’s hand-like front paws. The nuggalope has been known to dunk its food in water before consuming it. It can also reach high tree branches and pull them down to eat the leaves. While observations of wild nuggalopes are few, some researchers theorise that the creature may also be capable of rudimentary tool use, such as poking stick into trees and dirt mounts to draw the insects out.

It has hands. It handles things. That’s hitting me worse than anything else. What the ever-loving spit? Can’t argue the impressive stature of the thing, and it’s stubborn, like the most entitled charger. It knows how strong it is, and it knows you know. I expected the dull snuffling of its small cousins, but this - it has hands and spirited eyes. Mind where you secure the buckles of your saddle. I expect it’ll let you know when it tires of suffering you on its back. Not that it tires. Hands. Hands. —A Horsemaster’s Notes On Mounts


Alpine Darner, Austroaeschna flavomaculata.

Found in the mountains and foothill areas of New South Wales, and Victoria. Like many dragonfly species, the adults are vagrants, hunting in alpine and hillside vegetation. The females will lay eggs in bankside moss and mud of alpine streams.

These three individuals photographed around the Mount Lawson summit, where they seemed quite numerous, if difficult to approach. I did not see them anywhere else in the park.

Mount Lawson state park, Victoria.