Author Topic: Exotic Insects (Play Visions)  (Read 1581 times)

bmathison1972

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Exotic Insects (Play Visions)
« on: January 26, 2017, 11:14:33 PM »
Review of the complete set of Exotic Insects by Play Visions (1998). This is one of five arthropod-centric sets of the taxonomically-diverse sets produced by Play Visions in the mid-late 1990s. It consists of eight unusual insects, consisting mostly of orthopteroids and hemipterans, a welcome change. Interestingly there are no beetles, perhaps because they also released an Exotic Beetles set (http://animaltoyforum.com/index.php?topic=1940.0).

This has been a Holy Grail set for me that was generously sold to be by STS member Beatrice (Froggie).

Most of the figures are unique. Comments below on whether or not other figures are made do not take into account the ‘Translucents’ version of this same set.

The common names below are what is marked on the figures; the Latin names are my choosing. Most of these were researched by members of the STS forum and editors of Animal Toy Wiki (TAI), but I have made a few changes/corrections to my liking. I have shared my IDs with the editors of those sites, so expect them to reflect my changes.

1. ‘assassin bug’, Sphagiastes ramentaceus. At the time of this writing, both STS and TAI list this as Gminatus australis. While the color is a good match for the latter, I believe my ID is also better in general morphology. This is the only assassin bug figure I am aware of!

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2. ‘praying mantis’, Blepharopsis mendica, nymph. STS/TAI had this as Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii, but I agree with Andre's comments below that B. mendica is a better match (nymph). This is clearly not a true praying mantis, but rather one of the flower mantids. Other species of flower and orchid mantids have been made, but I believe this is a unique one..

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3. ‘lantern bug’, Pyrops intricata. This is exciting! Most auchenorhynchan hempiterans as figures are cicadas! This is an STS/TAI identification and I think it’s sound.

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4. ‘velvet ant’, Dasymutilla occidentalis. I waffled back and forth between this species and D. vesta but finally settled on the STS/TAI identification of D. occidentalis (although it would look more like it if there was a terminal red macula on the abdomen as well). The only velvet ant figure I am aware of! Surprisingly too!

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5. ‘stick insect’, Phyllium bioculatum. This is an STS/TAI identification and I think I agree with it, based on the shape of the abdomen (Andre can correct me if I am wrong). Most figures of leaf insects represent P. giganteum, but the Insect Directory figure by Kabaya is apparently P. bioculatum.

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6. ‘bush cricket’, Aegimia elongata. STS/TAI have this identified as Chondroderella, but after snooping I am leaning more towards Aegimia based on the wing shape. However, both potential IDs are tentative as I am not a specialist of Orthoptera, especially anything from outside the U.S. Other species of katydids have been made by Yujin (Insects of Japan) and Cadbury (Yowies).

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7. ‘grasshopper’, Chromacris speciosa, (nymph). This is another STS/TAI identification and it seems to be sound. This is one of the lubbers; other species of lubbers have been made by Safari LTD and Furuta.

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8. ‘thorn bug’, Umbonia crassicornis. This is my ID. There are two other treehopper figures, one is by Shapeways that I specifically painted to represent U. crassicornis, and another by New Ray that at least represents the same genus.

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« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 12:54:49 AM by bmathison1972 »


BlueKrono

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Re: Exotic Insects (Play Visions)
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 06:42:56 AM »
And now a Holy Grail for me as well! Do you think Beatrice has any more of these?
I like turtles.

brontodocus

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Re: Exotic Insects (Play Visions)
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 01:56:54 PM »
Great to see them all in one thread! 8) I'm still missing the mutillid.  :'(

I have a few comments on them.
No. 1: So finally we have an id for the assassin bug that nails it - this is apparently an exact match, especially because of the lobate connexivum and the spines on the pronotum.  :)
No. 2: I still consider this a nymph of Blepharopsis mendica. P. wahlbergii nymphs are similar, especially because of the lobes on the abdominal sternites, but have a more compact habitus especially because of the shorter pronotum.
No. 3: I came to the same id but that was about the easiest of all the PV insects.
No. 4: That's a genus containing many species. I wonder if there is a species with the exact colour within the genus?
No. 5: The id seems reasonable. :) The end of the abdomen looks completely different from the more or less three-lobed rear end of the Furuta and Safari Ltd Smithsonian Collection figures, both of which look more like P. giganteum.
No. 6: I'm not convinced we have the proper id, yet. Yes, both Aegimia elongata and Chondroderella are capable of flattening their wings but I'm still not sure if we can't find a better one. The asymmetric colouration is very reminiscent of a photo I've seen of Mimetica mortuifolia, only that one had this colouration on a single forewing. I'm not even entirely sure that this figure represents an ensiferan.
No. 7 and 8 seem to match perfectly! 8)

bmathison1972

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Re: Exotic Insects (Play Visions)
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2017, 03:31:15 PM »
Great to see them all in one thread! 8) I'm still missing the mutillid.  :'(

I have a few comments on them.
No. 1: So finally we have an id for the assassin bug that nails it - this is apparently an exact match, especially because of the lobate connexivum and the spines on the pronotum.  :)
No. 2: I still consider this a nymph of Blepharopsis mendica. P. wahlbergii nymphs are similar, especially because of the lobes on the abdominal sternites, but have a more compact habitus especially because of the shorter pronotum.
No. 3: I came to the same id but that was about the easiest of all the PV insects.
No. 4: That's a genus containing many species. I wonder if there is a species with the exact colour within the genus?
No. 5: The id seems reasonable. :) The end of the abdomen looks completely different from the more or less three-lobed rear end of the Furuta and Safari Ltd Smithsonian Collection figures, both of which look more like P. giganteum.
No. 6: I'm not convinced we have the proper id, yet. Yes, both Aegimia elongata and Chondroderella are capable of flattening their wings but I'm still not sure if we can't find a better one. The asymmetric colouration is very reminiscent of a photo I've seen of Mimetica mortuifolia, only that one had this colouration on a single forewing. I'm not even entirely sure that this figure represents an ensiferan.
No. 7 and 8 seem to match perfectly! 8)

Thanks Andre. I like your ID of the mantis much better and will make the change later. I'll leave the others for now.
The Dasymutilla ID is based on what's in North America, perhaps we should look abroad.