Perhaps there is nothing more smart-arse than the spiteful sci-fi critic piping up from the back of the room “Well, that’s scientifically impossible”. We’ve all done it. But some of us keep doing it, and it’s usually a derisory sneer at an insect drawing along the lines of “Well, that’s not anatomically correct”.
An uncertain number of legs, a hazy knowledge of wing or body morphology and a cavalier disregard for antennal structure are the usual fails. It’s just not good enough.
So here is my challenge. If I can do a passably identifiable image using pancake mix, then I expect anyone else to do at least as good.
Anything less is unacceptable.
Jewel beetle — elegantly tapered elytra distinctive of the family Buprestidae.
Preying mantis — OK this one looks a bit like a pugilistic kangaroo mantis.
Odontaeus armiger — stout shape, short stout legs, but elegant backwards produced horn.
Wind scorpion or solifuge — head and thorax shape the most important characters.
Wing map of Tephritis cometa — that really is a comet-shaped star mark.
Stag beetle — this is an easy one.
Head louse — show those hair-gripping claws.
Brown shieldbug nymph — early instars of Coreus marginatus show this bizarre bulbous abdomen and over-large thickened antennae.
Earwig — more than just pincers.
Woodlouse — uropods a good character.
Centipede — leg number less important than leg proportion.
Millipede — leg number less important than proportions and sinuosity.
Crab — this is as close to verging-on-the-cartoon that I will accept.
Harvestman — the right number of legs, and a distinct dorsal abdominal mark.
False scorpion — OK, the legs could be a bit longer, but I’m prepared to give some latitude.
Dumbledor — stout and broad, but domed pronotum and small scutellum still visible.
Cockchafer (no silly childish jokes) — flabellate antennae and pronounced pygidium (tail segment).
Rose chafer — pay attention to pronotal shape and make sure the scutellum is visible.
Default bee-type thing — large front wings and small hind wings.
Ant — triangular head, narrow thorax, bulbous abdomen, geniculate antennae.
Rhododendron leafhopper, Graphocephala fennahi, I really need green for this one, but you get the idea.
Inspiration from the feline at my feet in the form of one of his fleas.
Lobster moth caterpillar, surely the ugliest insect, but still a damn tasty pancake.
Water scorpion, Nepa cinerea, though breathing tube siphon is a bit stout.
Graphosoma italicum is a shieldbug to look out for on brownfield sites, just a vagrant so far in the British Isles
Hawthorn shieldbug, Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale, showing the dominant scutellum plate.
Fluffy is difficult, but at least the proportions of the bee-fly, Bombylius major, are right, and the proboscis.
The wings of the thistle stem gall fly, Urophora cardui were a bit of a challenge, and I was running out of batter, so here’s the gall instead.
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