Five Invertebrates

I always write about things that are adorable and furry, probably because I am like most other “animal lovers” that obsess over bunnies and puppies. It’s about time that I acknowledged some of the scariest, coolest-looking, and bizarre backboneless creatures created by evolution.

5. Bedbugs. Unfortunately, bedbugs are not just a cute nursery rhyme your mother told you each night before you went to bed. They are a legit insect that lives in bed sheets, and they draw their sustenance from blood, so trying to kill them with poisonous gels is futile. They can number in the thousands and go undetected due to their small size. Us humans have an unlikely, four-legged ally against bedbugs: we have trained dogs to sniff them out so that an exterminator can spray infested areas.

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4. Camel spiders. Camel spiders are technically arachnids, but they are not classified as spiders. People find them terrifying because of their hairy, tarantula-like bodies, but they are much more innocuous than they look. They can bite, but they are not deadly to humans. They do not scream, jump, or eviscerate camels as the myths would say. Even if this wasn’t true, I’d personally drop dead of a heart attack upon seeing one of them before they had a chance to actually harm me.

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3. Venezuelan Green Bottle Blue tarantula. Let me get one thing straight: I’m kind of arachnophobic. Spiders freak me out. The Venezuelan Green Bottle Blue, however, would look more in home at a Mardi Gras parade than the depths of human nightmares. The  midsection of the spider is a metallic bluish-green, its abdomen is orange, and its legs are shiny and blue. As pets, they are skittish and less amendable to being held than some other tarantulas, but are popular among tarantula keepers because of their colors.

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2. Mimic octopus. The mimic octopus, just as the name implies, is an eight-legged cephalopod that cheats predation by imitating other animals. Mimic octopi went unnoticed by science for a long period of time, probably because their disguises are just that good. They have been seen imitating flounders, mantis shrimp, sea snakes, Cthulhu, and the dust bunnies that accumulate under your bed. I obviously made up the last two; nonetheless, it’s only a matter of time before the eight-legged fiends evolve to breathe out of water and blend in among humanity. You know, so they can figure out our weaknesses.

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1. Ladybugs. Ladybugs are said to be harbingers of good luck. According to legend, if a ladybug lands on your nose, you’ll become rich and famous, find true love, and win a Pulitzer Prize for writing an awesome article about arthropods. Insects tend to give me the heebie-geebies, so my instinctive reaction when I see one in my house is to hit it with the bottom of my shoe. I just can’t bring myself to kill ladybugs, however, so I just let them outside if they appear in my house. Also, they eat aphids, so it really is good luck if you see one in your garden.

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