Interested in Insects?

Walking Sticks

No males? No problem. Short-horned walking sticks are parthenogenic, which means these bug beauties can reproduce sans males.

Photo: Jim Honcoop

Pepsis Wasp

Female tarantula hawks can really pack a punch! Their sting is rated a 4 out of 4 on the Sting Pain Index.

Photo: Don & Shea Sorensen

Honey Bee

Girls. Do. Work. If you see a busy bee pollinating a flower, chances are GREAT that it’s a female. The males stay in the hive to help reproduce.

Photo: Jim Honcoop

Praying Mantis

A protein-heavy meal helps ensure quality and quantity of eggs. Thus, female mantises often eat what’s near them before, during, and after mating. 


Photo: Susan Beebe


Red Velvet Mite

These gorgeous mites make a showy appearance after the monsoon rains. They emerge from the soil to eat, dance, build love gardens, and mate!

Photo: Patti Gardiner

Green Lynx Spider

Few spiders shine as brilliantly as a green lynx whose coloration is at once dazzling and cryptic.

Photo: Jim Honcoop

Jewel Beetles

Jewel beetles are world-famous among entomologists due to their brilliant metallic coloration. Arizonans can find 3 of the 4 United States species in the southern Sky Islands south of Tucson.

Dynastes Beetle

The Western Hercules beetle is among the largest insects in the United States. While females have a sleek look, males are distinguished by an overtly large statement horn adorning their head. Used for fighting or intimidation, this ‘sword’ signals to the ladies that bigger is better.

Photo: Rhonda Spencer


Milkweed and migration have become synonymously tied to this much-publicized butterfly. But, did you know? Their coloration is aposematic– meaning the orange, black and white markings indicate to a predator that they are poisonous and distasteful. That’s sick!

Photo: Rhonda Spencer

Giant Water Bug

True bugs in the genus Abedus are smashing stereotypes. Males exhibit parental care by aerating and cleaning the eggs they carry on their ‘backs’! 


Photo: Denny Schreffler


Fig Beetle

Clumsy…but cute! These green beetles are notorious for their haphazard flying during June and July. Not to worry if they land in the pool (or your hair) just scoop them up and send them on their way.

Photo: Angella Parker

White Lined Sphinx Moth

Have you spotted olive-colored grenades the size of peas on a sidewalk? That’s a sure fire sign that there are bright yellow caterpillars above you on the branches of a desert willow tree. These caterpillars will metamorphosize into the white-lined sphinx moths (aka, hummingbird moths) you see at porch lights.

Photo: Sam Wilson


Talk about underappreciated but amazing decomposers! Millipedes rule the desert after it rains cleaning up rotting plants and other detritus.

Photo: ASDM Staff


Aww SNAP! Antlion larvae hang out at the bottom of self-built conical pits waiting for ants to fall in. The shape and loose soil ensures ants cannot escape and then WHOMP. The antlion uses its powerful jaws to grab and devour their unsuspecting prey.

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Photo: M.J. Raupp


Written by Catherine Bartlett, ASDM Education Specialist


2 Comments Add yours

  1. George Mares says:

    I should’ve been a bug looker upper scientific scientist 🤷🏻‍♂️😂😂😂😂


    1. desertmuseum says:

      Perhaps there’s still time 🙂


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