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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Silkmoth Pupa, a Vietnamese food from insects

The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of the domesticated silkmoth, Bombyx sp. belong to Bombycidae family, Lepidoptera order. It is an economically important insect of Vietnam in the past as well as now a day, being a primary producer of silk.

Many villages in North Vietnam were famous with raising silkworms and harvesting cocoons, they feed the silkworms with mulberry leaves.

Silkworms are being feed with mulberry leaves

In the silkworms farm, thousand individuals of silkworms are being bred every day

Then they harvest the cocoon of silkworms to make the nature silk

The best quality cocoon are selected for the industry of nature silk

However they don't waste the remain cocoon after selection for silk, the pupa of the cocoon is released

In Vietnam, you can easy to find and buy pupa of silkworm in any local market, and it is one of the most common insect food in Vietnam. It known as a high protein food with very tasty and famous.

From the market, pupae are washed and quick boiled before being dried up

Lemon leaves were cut into tiny stripes

And the fresh onion leaves as well

The silkmoth pupae will be fried with lemon and onion leaves, sometime they add pepper and chilies. Lemongrass also can be added as an option. Fish sauce never lack as frying silkmoth pupae.

And today, in some Vietnamese families, they can make them with mayonnaise.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Small insects and spiders on forest leafs of Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong is a National Park of North Vietnam, it is one of the most early national parks of the country. It is a low elevation forest and surrounded by limestone range.

It is not very far from Hanoi (about 120km) to the South and the forest in a very good condition. The national park located at border of Thanh Hoa and Ninh Binh Province. There is a tourist system in side of the National Park that you can stay over night, the road system in good condition so you can walk, ride bicycle, motor cycle or drive a car go through the Park without problem. On two sides of the main road, and in a summer days, there are a lot of insects that you can observe or taking photograph. The fauna of Cuc Phuong maybe similar to Ba Vi National Park however because it is a low land forest so it some how difference.

Insect/Spider watching is one of the most interesting thing in Cuc Phuong, however watching of birds, snails or amphibians... also is not bad option.

Zemeros sp. Riodinidae, photographed by Cuong Do 

Heliophorus sp. Lycaenidae, photographed by Cuong Do

Hesperiidae, photographed by Cuong Do

A small and colorful lotus/cricket (orthoptera), photographed by Cuong Do

A small wasp Ichneumonidae with white antenna and long ovipositor, photographed by Cuong Do

Large size ant with yellow metallic body and spiny abdomen, Polyrhachis sp. photographed by Cuong Do 

Funny shape of couple of flies are mating, photographed by Cuong Do

Spiny bug (Valentina hoffmanni, Reduviidae, Hepiptera/Heteroptera), photographed by Cuong Do 

A young bug, the wing not yet appear (Hemiptera/Heteroptera), photographed by Cuong Do

An exuviae of a cicada (Homoptera), photographed by Cuong Do

A small bug, Callitettix versicolor Cercopidae (Homoptera), photographed by Cuong Do 

A tumbling flower beetle, Mordellidae, photographed by Cuong Do

A small weevil, curculionidae beetle, photographed by Cuong Do

Two larva of Lepidoptera with brigten yellow stripes, photographed by Cuong Do

A spiny spider, photographed by Cuong Do

A spider nearly finish its lunch (a larvae), photographed by Cuong Do

A spiny leg spider, Oxyopes sp. (Oxyopidae) photographed by Cuong Do

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eterusia tricolor Hope, 1840 Day Flying Moth, Zygaenidae

Eterusia tricolor is a species of moth belong to Zygaenidae family, they are day-flying moths with very colorful wings. Members of the family have been know with hydrogen cyanide in all states of their life cycle. Color of the insects is signal of information that they are toxic insects and they use hydrogen cyanide as a defense factor to protect them from predator.

Eterusia tricolor is quite common species in high mountains of Vietnam, they are weak flying insects and usually fly over the canopy of the forests. As being damaged, they release from their body some drops (mixed with air) of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) as a defensing behavior.

A individual of Eterusia tricolor

A being touched, the insect releases a droplet of hydrogen cyanide (HCN)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to access the male genitalia of a dragonfly specimen?

Studying genitalia is a very importation work of odonatological research, dragonfly and damselfly are difference in structure of genitalia. Steps below will let you know how I do my analyzing of structure of penis organ of a male specimen of Gomphidae (Anisoptera, dragonfly) without damaging the specimen.

Specimens in my collection

Release the dried male specimen from envelope (zip bag)


Fix the specimen on a small foam board with insect pins

Transfer the specimen into a box

Prepare the hot water (left) and a syringe


Puming the hot water to second abdomen segment area without making other part be wet (about 2 or 3 times, up to how hard/dried specimen is)

Check the specimen if the second abdomen segment area already wet and flexible enough to access the penis organ.

Transfer specimen to larger foam board and fix the body, wings and abdomen

Move the specimen to microscope

Under microscopic view, dig out the penis organ of the dragonfly then fix it in visible position with insect pins


Tranfer the specimen in fix position into a box with silica-gel 

Cover the box and keep in dark area until the specimen to be hard.

Now your specimen are ready for take photo or drawing of detail structure of penis organ.

Some my completed figures of penis organ of Gomphidae for publication