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Peanut-head Bug / Machaca

Fulgora laternaria

Description:

Su nombre científico es Fulgora laternaria descrita por Carlos Lineo en 1758, pertenece a la familia Fulgoridae del orden Homoptera, cuyos miembros se caracterizan por tener proyecciones de la cabeza muy interesantes. Sobre este curioso insecto se ha tejido la creencia popular de que su picadura es mortal, y la cura para tan terrible destino es hacer el amor en el término de las 12 horas siguientes. Este fabuloso cuento empezó hace más de 50 años en el poblado colombiano de Putumayo durante las fiestas anuales, cuando dos periodistas que fueron enviados a cubrir el evento se atrasaron un día y no teniendo nada que escribir sobre la celebración, decidieron salir del apuro tratando de descubrir algo que fuera interesante. La suerte les llevó a una exposición de artesanos que vendían diversos artículos como: mochilas, vasijas, collares, y entre todas estas cosas se encontraba este insecto que nunca habían visto antes. Sumamente intrigados, le preguntaron al artesano sobre este curioso insecto, el vendedor les indicó que se trataba de un bicho muy peligroso llamado “la machaca” y que su picadura es mortal, la única cura era hacer el amor en las siguientes 12 horas. Probablemente la idea proviene de la región amazónica, debido a que algunos indígenas también le tienen como un bicho letal. Dentro de los mitos que rodean a este insecto, se ha sugerido que la enorme protuberancia en la cabeza es luminosa en la oscuridad.

Habitat:

Rainforest

Notes:

Foto tomada por un gran amigo Gerardo Garcia Pastor, The picture was taken by a great friend Gerardo Garcia Pastor. The fulgorid insect Fulgora laternaria (often misspelled "lanternaria"), is a Central and South American planthopper known by a large variety of common names including lantern fly, peanut bug, peanut-headed lanternfly, alligator bug, machaca, chicharra-machacuy and jequitiranaboia (the latter terms used in the Amazon region and elsewhere in Brazil) and Bolivia. It is as long as 3 inches, has a protuberance at its head that resembles that of a lizard or a serpent, and which was originally - and falsely - believed to be luminescent. It protects itself by displaying fake eyes on its wings, and perhaps with its quite unusual head. A very similar species, Fulgora lampetis shares much of the same range within South America, and many museum and commercial specimens identified as laternaria are actually this species. Though almost indistinguishable, F. lampetis has slightly more vibrant coloration, and a more swollen head protuberance when viewed from above. In several countries, such as Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca, he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The popular belief in Bolivia (Santa Cruz de la Sierra) is that it is a dangerous insect dependant on its wing colours but the insect is actually harmless to people.(Wikipedia)

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24 Comments

Thanks for the comments kdp and dotun

dotun55
dotun55 7 years ago

Bizarre insect! Fake eyes like those of a provoked spiny flower mantis >> https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidbygot...

kdpicturemaker
kdpicturemaker 7 years ago

Spectacular insect and also quite confronting which I'm sure is the intention of this insect to ensure it is not eaten.

That´s a description for this insect

batex
batex 8 years ago

Weird looking, but kind of cool!

It is strange...

PongWira
PongWira 8 years ago

Look strange but beautiful.

Thanks for all the comments. sorry I couldn´t answer before

MayraSpringmann
MayraSpringmann 8 years ago

Wow! Fascinating!

KarenL
KarenL 9 years ago

Awesome!

Juan DiTrani
Juan DiTrani 10 years ago

Hi Jonathan, here you can see a detail of the face of the Machaca, it's amazing http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/685...

marta vázquez
marta vázquez 10 years ago

Impresionante.

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh 10 years ago

Holy crap!

Noe and Pili
Noe and Pili 10 years ago

Awesome creature and photo!

Jonathan Sequeira
Jonathan Sequeira 10 years ago

Thanks for all the comments, and tnx to Gerardo for the picture.

LauraMaria
LauraMaria 10 years ago

Hah, amazing... those eyes are crazy!! It really does look like a frog's face. Eye spots always astound me, that they have the details right down to the reflection of the light in the eye. What a gorgeous creature :)

Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 10 years ago

Simply amazing... creature... and special colours of Central America...
Wonderful spotting...!!

auntnance123
auntnance123 10 years ago

I was thinking: now who's posted the cartoon the frog? What a brilliant picture, Jonathan.

Saarbrigger
Saarbrigger 10 years ago

Wow. Amazing picture.

hookgv
hookgv 10 years ago

That is a mad shot!!!

misako
misako 10 years ago

Amazing photo!

Jonathan Sequeira
Jonathan Sequeira 10 years ago

The head itself is only about 1 cm, but the protuberance after the head,(a false head) is about 2.2cm.

whirl_up_sea
whirl_up_sea 10 years ago

A truly amazing creature. Both of its pseudo-reptile "faces" are pretty convincing, especially the "dragon kite" effect of its spread wings.

rubens.luciano
rubens.luciano 10 years ago

Very intersting insect! What is the real size of the head ? it´s under this "cover" ? It's an imitation of a reptile ?

Jonathan Sequeira
Spotted by
Jonathan Sequeira

Cartago, Costa Rica

Spotted on May 14, 2011
Submitted on Sep 4, 2011

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