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Ugly Bugs

Advances in macro photography and the development of the electron microscope have shown us a world nature never intended for us to see. Over the years, they've shown us how very ugly insects can be if you take a close look!
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Mosquitos are considered ugly even when we don't get a closeup view. Our model seems to have lost one antenna before posing for a portrait. This picture is from Lehigh University, where you can get a short course on electron microscopy.

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A wolf spider looks much more menacing when you stare him in the face. This image by photographer Steven Flanagan gets up close and personal. I wonder if he can see us with those eight eyes as well as the camera sees him!

Continue reading for bugs that take prizes for ugliness.

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The Oklahoma Microscopic Society has an annual Ugly Bug Contest. The contest for 2008 begins in August. This Dobsonfly, submitted by Sulphur Elementary, was featured in the Live Science article World's Ugliest Animals.

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This Carolina Sphinx Moth was one of the Grand Prize winners in the 2007 Ugly Bug Contest. This photo was submitted by Newcastle Middle School in Newcastle, Oklahoma. Note the tightly coiled tongue.
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This prizewinning photo of a Spiny Assassin Bug was submitted to the Oklahoma contest in 2007 by Community Christian School in Norman, Oklahoma.
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Screw worm larvae (Cochliomyia) burrow into any available food source, such as livestock, and cause maggot infestation. The USDA came up with a control procedure that involved breeding huge numbers of Cochliomyia that were sterile, and releasing then to compete for mates. Fruitless mating led to vastly reduced numbers of screw worms. Insert your own punch line.

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As beautiful as butterflies and moths are to human eyes, under a microscope they can scare the daylights out of you! This image of a pyralidae moth was taken with a scanning electron microscope. Note the retractable tongue.

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Male seed beetles have penises covered with sharp spikes that can cause injuries to the females. His face is probably better looking, which isn't saying much.
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Centipedes are creepy enough to a normal human eye. This microscopic picture show that no matter how small you are, you can still have crumbs on your face! This specimen was submitted to the 1995 Flagstaff Festival of Science Ugly Bug Contest.
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This enhanced photograph of an aphid was a contestant in the 1998 Flagstaff Ugly Bug contest.
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Allomerus decemarticulatus, a type of Amazon ant, builds traps to snare and then dismember other insects.

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Dust mites are normally about half a millimeter long, and can be seen with a magnifying glass if the light is right. But you don't want to see them in your home, even though you know they are there!

See also:
Delightful Insects of Summer
Honeybees: Master of Utility
Ugly Jugs

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travel
The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas
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iStock

When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

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Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, Top10RealEstateDeals.com reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

[h/t Top10RealEstateDeals.com]

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