I found a cool insect in the yard, but before I could get my camera out it took off.
A quick search revealed its name: Lantern Bug, Lantern Fly or Elephant Bug (or Pinocchio or Cyrano de Bergerac). Here's a good image* of what it looked like:
Pyrops candelaria is native to Hong Kong and several other southeast Asian countries, yet despite living here almost 15 years this was my first encounter. With its long proboscis and bright wings it's literally unforgettable.
The lantern bug uses its 'nose', in reality a long mouth, to penetrate tree bark or plants so it can get to the sap. In Hong Kong it feeds on lychee trees or longan trees, so it's also known as a Longan Chicken (龍眼雞). Despite the name, the lantern bug doesn't glow like a firefly, and it doesn't bite. In fact it's harmless; I picked it up and held it for a minute before it flew away.
It was so quick it literally vanished and I had no idea which direction it went, but though our introduction was brief it made me glad that I live in the countryside instead of the concrete jungle.
It's so cute it's a wonder no one has ever created a silk lantern bug for the Spring Lantern Festival.
* Photo by Rob; click through for the larger image on Flickr
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Big White Guy is the personal web site of Randall van der Woning, who hails from Canada but has lived in Hong Kong with his wife Mabel for the past 14 years. Randall is a photographer, photography teacher, and writer.
Seriously ... Big White Guy? The nickname was given in Canada but was shortened to BWG, because this wouldn't be the Internet if we didn't initialise everything.
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