Friday, March 13, 2009

What are "Killer" Bees?

More properly called Africanized Honeybees, these come from a subspecies of honeybee (Apis mellifera scutellata) released accidentally in Brazil in 1957. They were imported from South Africa by a researcher who was attempting to produce a variety of honeybee better adapted to the tropics than the European Honeybee. Unfortunately, Africanized Honeybees not only produce honey better in hot climates, but they are also much more aggressive at defending the nest. Many people have been killed by mass stinging resulting from getting too close to a nest of Africanized honeybees. The escaped bees did well in the wild and began reproducing and expanding their range across South America into Central America and Mexico. They were recorded in Texas in October 1990, California in November 1994 and Oklahoma in 2004. Since they are adapted for tropical conditions, they may not expand their range beyond the southern part of the U.S., but that remains to be seen. They can tolerate up to 3 1/2 months of freezing weather.

Do you know The Largest Moth in the World??

The Hercules Emperor Moth (Coscinocera hercules) of northern Australia and New Guinea is one of the largest moths in the world with females of the species capable of reaching a wing span of 10.5 inches. Great Owlet Moths (Thysania agripinna) of South America have females with a wingspan that measures up to 12 inches. Owlet Moths, or Noctuids (Noctuidae), are part of a gigantic family of moths with some specimens on record with an amazing 18 inch wing span. The Giant Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas), one of the largest silk moths, can be mistaken for a medium-sized bat when flying. Atlas moths has the largest wing surface area of all moths and
the markings on the moth's front wingtips resemble a snake's head and may scare away predators.

Centipede and Millipede Insects

Most of the centipedes and millipedes would be carnivorous, fast moving and have poisonous venom, but since they are no longer living, they can be viewed without any danger. The largest centipede can reach ten inches long and one inch wide and has been known to feed on mice and small lizards.