Satch found a rather interesting bug the other day. It was...um...HUGE! It was slow and robotic with spikes on it's back like a dinosaur. I was alarmed by its long, sharp proboscis so I would not allow Satch to pick it up. As I explained to Satch, animals have a way of talking to us, even if the creature doesn't speak "people", we must use our eyes as well as our ears to understand. So, we carried it home in a newspaper and put it in our observation tank.
I contacted an entomologist at VT and explained that my 3 yr old son LOVES bugs and therefore, I try to give him a little information about the creatures he discovers, i.e. name and characteristics. I needed some help identifying this one. The bug expert replied. He said it was a Wheel Bug and can wield a painful bite if mishandled.
While Satch napped, I read up on Wheel Bugs and learned that they are the largest of the True Bug family and the dreaded monster of the insect world. They are beneficial Assassin Bugs and eat soft bodied insects by stabbing them with its beak and injecting it with saliva. Its salivary enzymes destroy soft tissue and then the bug slurps up the goo.
I explained this to Satch and Robert at dinner time, then my husband promptly ran down to the basement to find a cricket. He came back with a juicy one and plopped it in the tank. The Wheel Bug climbed down from its perch, speared the cricket and began the process of eating it. Robert was excited. Satch was completely blown away and tried to process it all. I was completely grossed out and couldn't finish my risotto.
For those of you who are interested in what scene was like, I found this video on youtube.
*For the record, I have an aversion to insects, but I don't let on because Satch loves them so.