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Man-faced stink bugs, the newest arrivals at Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium also known as Catacanthus incarnatus, have been stopping visitors in their tracks due to an unusual color pattern that bears a remarkable resemblance to a human face!
"We are excited to have these large and beautiful stink bugs - there's a phrase you don't hear every day - to show our guests," said Zack Lemann, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium's Curator of Animal Programs. "Only a few zoos or museums in the U.S. have ever imported man-faced bugs up until now."
Newly hatched man-faced bug nymph "babies" exited their eggs on December 22, 2016, followed by an even larger set on January 3. Man-faced bugs have never been successfully raised in human care, and Audubon is hoping to be the first to do so.
"It's a huge testament to the expertise of Audubon's entomologists that we could be the first in the world to rear such an incredible insect," said Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO. "We hope these rare bugs will act as remarkable ambassador animals to educate our visitors about the diversity of wildlife and the importance of protecting it."
Man-faced bugs range from India east into most of southeast Asia. They are akin to large stink bugs and come in four different colors: red, orange, yellow, and cream. Man-faced bugs produce foul odors for defense like other stink bugs. Also, the bold colors are likely a defense mechanism, warning predators that it is bad-tasting or poisonous.
Visitors to Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium can meet these fascinating new bugs at Field Camp.
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.