An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods form the phylum Arthropoda, which includes the insects, arachnids, myriapods, and crustaceans.
The Lantern Bug
Found across the Asian tropics the Lantern bug (pyrops candelaria) is a weird and wonderful insect: it has a head that is produced into a hollow structure resembling a rhino horn often nearly as large as its body, six legs, extremely varied and brilliant contrasting coloration, the mouth of a mosquito, and often stays for generations on the same tree.
Its strange appearance is matched by the erroneous myth that the head structure was luminous at night. Carl Linnaeus coined both common and latin names to illustrate the supposed fact, adopting the statement without question from a lady entomologist in 1690. By the time the error was discovered, both names had stuck.
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Picture credit: Paul Hilton
Its eating habits are equally interesting, as it uses its sharp rostrum to puncture trees, fruit, and plants in order to get a juicy meal of sticky sap. Since sap is high in sugar and low in the other nutrients needed for insect development, it needs to eat a lot. But then the large amount of sugar causes a problem for the lantern bug; it solves this by allowing the excess sap to drip from its body as honeydew. So you can sometimes find moths or even geckos licking the behinds of these strange beasts. This bug goes through an incomplete metamorphosis. From egg to nymph, which simply grows into a larger version as the adult.
FIND THEM: Often found - sometimes in great numbers - on lychee and longan trees. Above, a mating pair in Hong Kong.
Below: The lantern bug will often shimmy around a trunk if you get close, and will take flight in a burst of orange under-wings if it feels threatened.