Creepy Crawlies at the China-Burma Border

During my seven and a half weeks at the office, I couldn’t really go anywhere. I mean, I could walk upstairs, downstairs, and maybe 100 metres in any direction outside the compound. Other than that, I stayed within the compound, relaxing in my room on the roof or playing ping pong in the courtyard when I wasn’t working in the office or leading English conversation classes in the meeting room. As a result, it wasn’t always easy finding subjects to photograph. Luckily for me, there are tonnes of insects and other creepy crawlies in this area so I had something to occupy some of my spare time. I’m not a huge bug fan, but some of these guys were pretty interesting:

This leaf bug didn’t seem to realise that he doesn’t blend in so well on my friend’s plaid shirt…

Nor is he inconspicuous on a shiny window surface:

There are thousands and thousands of beetles in the border area around Nabang/Laiza. We often found really big ones lying on their backs, some alive, others dead like this one:

I noticed something in this photo only long after I had taken it – If you can see what I’m talking about, first correct comment wins a free beer when we’re in the same city:

A few minutes later, the dragonfly decided my friend made a better rest stop than the wall:

There are also many mantises, some green and some brown, and of many different sizes, in the area:

Leave the lights on in the office at night, and along with all the other crazy critters that turn up at the windows, you might find one of these huge moths. He’s about 5 inches across from wingtip to wingtip:

One of my past hobbies, for which sadly I rarely find time these days, is lockpicking. I was, therefore, surprised and impressed to find a mantis trying to pick the lock to my bedroom door when I woke up on the morning of April 30th!

These guys seem to stay put for many hours at a time. After about 4 hours on my door, he spent the rest of the day on the ground just outside my door:

While playing ping pong outside one day, I saw something strange and a little colourful walking on an upside-down garbage bin, so I quickly took a photo and on zooming in, this is what I saw:

This guy is unfortunately dead, but the lady who sweeps up the dead bugs every morning hasn’t yet come this way. He’s really bright and colourful! Not sure why we find so many dead bugs every morning – they fly around the lights all night then drop dead, I guess maybe from hunger or using up all their energy? I never thought much about it…

Later the same day I was about to play some night ping pong with a friend when we noticed we had a friend waiting for us on the net. My friend caught him (which wasn’t hard, considering the critter didn’t try to get away) to fry and eat later, but then he didn’t want to hold onto the bug while playing ping pong and had nowhere to store it so he let it go. Around this area, these bugs are well-liked as a snack.

After our night ping pong was over, my friend and I went to the office to check our email, and from a distance out of the corner of my left eye I caught a dark flash of something moving under a desk. I headed over and snapped a quick close-up of this scorpion:

Unfortunately, because he was trying to run and hide under the desk and everyone around here wears sandals except me, on the advice of my local friend, I had to kill it as these ones are venomous. Unlike with the huge wasps and bees flying in and out of our rooms all the time here, the locals are actually afraid of scorpions. My friends in the office were surprised to hear the next day that there was a scorpion in the office, as it hasn’t happened before to anyone’s knowledge.

Strangely, I found a scorpion in my bathroom three and a half weeks later! But this time the unwelcome guest was a bit smaller – only about 1cm long! Note that my left index finger is just under 1cm wide at the tip. I’m not really sure how I managed to spot such a small one from a distance, again from the corner of my left eye, but glad I got rid of him before he grew to a more dangerous size and hid in one of my shoes (a bad habit of scorpions).

This beetle sat dead on my desk for a few days, and since he was kinda shiny I took a photo before I threw him away:

This hairy moth was in my bedroom for a few hours; the wingspan was about 5 inches:

This guy was walking around outside and caught my attention pretty quickly – just look at the artwork on his wings and the crazy cartoon face! I’m not sure if those are supposed to be Disney-style fake eyes or what, but they’re AWESOME!

Close-up of the shot above:

Front view: