Explore the amazing world of insects and spiders!
Bugs Alive! includes over 100 species of live insects and spiders, thousands of specimens from the museum's collection, giant models and exciting interactive exhibits.
Included with museum entry.
MV Members receive FREE museum entry.
Hi Enis, Christmas Beetles feed on gum leaves and their chewing causes a characteristic zig-zag hole in the leaves. Young Christmas Beetles, called Curl Grubs, live in the soil and feed on plant roots and organic matter. You can feed adult beetles with small branches of gum leaves placed in a jar of water to keep them fresh. Spray the beetles with clean water once a day and change the gum when it no longer looks fresh.
Because of their different food needs, adult beetles and grubs are found in different habitats – gum trees for the adults and pasture for the grubs. They are therefore most common in suburban parklands or the edges of farmland.
Adult beetles have stout mouthparts but don’t bite, but their strong claws can get a firm grip on your hand if you let them.
Hi Alex, thank you for your offer of centipedes. A centipede display currently exists in Bugs Alive, in the section that deals with venoms (opposite the screen playing bug horror movies). We also have Ethmostigmus rubripes in our collection but, as we have only one place to display centipedes, this species rotates on display with species of desert centipedes.
The Discovery Centre has received many enquiries over the last few weeks about swarms of beetles in suburban gardens in and around Melbourne; they are Plague Soldier Beetles, Chauliognathus lugubris.
Take a look at our recent 'Question of the week blog' on these beetles to see if yours are the same please note that for homeowners who may be hosting huge numbers of this colourful species, don't be too concerned, following the mating swarm the beetles tend to disperse.
If these are not the same as the beetles at your house the Discovery Centre does offer an identification service
Before submitting your identification request, please read our guidelines for using our identification service.
Follow this link to our on-line form and scroll to the end to submit identification requests photographs are compulsory.
Hi Robert,We forwarded your enquiry to Museum Victoria’s Live Exhibits team, the Museum’s animal keepers, who responded with the following information:
Giant Burrowing Cockroaches feed on dead gum leaves in the wild, collecting them from the forest floor and dragging them into their burrows as stored food. In captivity, they will also readily feed on finely chopped apple, as well as carrot and cucumber.
They are definitely handleable but can be easily overhandled. Opinions differ on this subject, but there is anecdotal evidence that too much handling can shorten their lives. If they are taken out of their enclosure and handled more than once a day, we suspect it will have a detrimental effect.
We love receiving comments, but can’t always respond.
Hi Kade, antlions are relatively easy to look after but are not particularly exciting pets as they are invisible most of the time. You need fairly loose, dry sand and a good supply of ants. The antlions will set up their own pits if the sand is right, and they’ll require a spray of water every day or so.
Small ants are preferable, and it’s best to keep adding ants at regular intervals so there is a steady supply. When fully fed, the antlions will pupate at the base of the pit and emerge some time later, the time taken depending on the species.
If you’re willing to drop some spiny stick insects to the Museum, we’re always happy to add them to our collection.
Hi Liam, No, Museum Victoria does not have a colony of Fire Ants. We only have native ants in our live collection.
This species was named by Jack Hasenpusch whose home at Innisfail was devastated by Cyclone Larry in 2006. Much of the surrounding rainforest was also devastated, and many stick insects were collected (including new species) as they escaped from trees that were destroyed.
Yes photography is allowed in Bugs Alive!
Saunder's Case Moth (Metura enlongatus) caterpillars grow within their case until finished feeding, then seal the bag and transform into a pupa (chrysalis). They feed on a range of Eucalyptus, Acacia, cypress and Cotoneaster, as well as other native and ornamental plants. The best strategy is to collect small branches of the plants where the caterpillar was found, put them in its enclosure and observe what it eats.
The timing of the life cycle depends a lot on the temperature it's kept at and, as you mentioned, how old it was when found. After pupating, an adult male or female will emerge. The male is orange and black and furry, and leaves the case to fly off in search of a mate. The female is wingless and remains in the case until she dies, waiting for a male to arrive. You'll know when it pupates as it will stop moving around and feeding, and will seal up the case.
Hi Sarah - our Live Exhibits experts have replied to your query as follows:
If you've found a Cyclone Larry Stick Insect (Sipyloidea larryi), it means you found it in North Queensland. If you bought it, were given it or found it elsewhere, it is probably a different species. Cyclone Larry Stick Insects are easy to look after and feed on a range of plant species, including gum trees, Acacias, Callistemon and even rose bushes and blackberry bushes. They should be kept in an enclosure about three times the body length, and sprayed daily with clean water.
Hi Sarah - Stick insect legs and antennae are segmented and designed to break off between segments under pressure. The remaining segment quickly heals over with...
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Okay, my stick insect lost an antennae, because someone knocked the box over and it's in shock. Will anything happen to it? Will it die?