Minibeast Metropolis

Minibeast Metropolis houses one of the largest insect collections in the Uk. It is also home to our snakes, reptiles, amphibians and other invertebrates.

Mini-Beast Metropolis houses one of the largest insect collections in the UK.

Come and see these fascinating creatures up close. You can even take part in our Meet the Mini-Beast handling sessions during the school holidays. Keep an eye on our news section for more information and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Handling sessions are also available with our guided tours, available to pre booked groups of 10 or more paying visitors.

Bonkers Beetles

Come and see our beetle larvae tank where we breed some of the beetles we have on display. This stage of the life cycle is rarely seen because it's usually underground or hidden in the bark of trees. We also have Goliath beetles, giant flower beetles, sun beetles and domino beetles.

Sizeable sticks

See if you can find our stick insects, their camouflage is brilliant to help them hide from predators. We have long thin ones, short spiky ones and even one of the heaviest stick insects in the world.

Male Eating Mantids

Mantids are beautiful and intriguing insects to look at they also have a fearsome reputation in the insect world as the females often devour their mates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also in the Metropolis........

It's not just insects in here, we have giant African land snails, millipedes with over 200 legs, crabs, tiny poison arrowfrogs, Cosmic the gecko,Colin the skink and the newest addition to our metropolis, Bella the Mexican Black King snake.

 

Amazing Ants

Exciting news.........the ants are back, and this time we have not one but two Leafcutter Ant Colonies: Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex. The ant colonies are on display in Mini-Beast Metropolis

 

Amazing Ants Facts

Ants are believed to make up half of all insects in some areas of the rainforest.

All the workers are female.

Males are only produced when creating new colonies - male & female flying ants leave the nest once a year, the females loose their wings and become queens, the males die!

The queen ant is the size of a small mouse and is enveloped in the fungus garden where she eats and lays eggs whilst being tended to by minims (tiny tiny workers).

The ant rope measures 15 meters in total but in the wild they can travel up to 250 meters!

Some ants will hitch a ride back on the cut leaves being carried back to the colony and will act as guards against parasitic flies (Phorid flies).

Some colonies can contain millions of ants!

The ants don't eat the leaves, instead the leaf is passed onto specialist workers who chew the leaves, spit them out and defecate on them to promote fungus growth ....it is the fungus the ants feed on. Ants are farmers!

The only other animals to grow their own food are leaf cutting termites (which in evolutionary terms split off from the ants leaf cutting ancestors and can be found in equatorial Africa) and Humans.

Although we rarely see our soldiers because the colony is in no danger, in the wild, native Amazonian tribes people use the soldiers jaws as stitches! They pick up a soldier, make it bite around the wound and when cut is drawn together they snap the body off leaving the closed jawed ants head!

Ants travel by following pheromones! Just 1 gram of this pheromone is enough to lay a trail around the world!

Malaysian Leaf Katydid

Ancylecha fenestrata

We have a number of these striking leaf grasshoppers and you will have plenty of time to look at them, as they eat leaves and fruit.

 

Caribbean Hermit Crab

Coenobita clypeatus

This crab lives on land and can be found in the Caribbean, Florida and Bermuda. They are brightly coloured and are scavenging omnivores, eating almost anything they can find.

 

Green and Black Poison Dart Frog

Dendrobates auratus

This attractive toxic poison dart frog is native to Central America. It lives in trees and has sucker-like discs on the end of its toes to help in climbing.

 

Dead Leaf Mantis

Deroplatys lobata

The Dead Leaf Mantis is found in the Malaysian Peninsula, Thailand, Java and Borneo. It lives in tropical rainforests where it mimics dead leaves, enabling it to avoid predators but also to capture its prey, consisting mainly of insects.

 

African Red Legged Millipede

Epibolus pulchripes

These very attractive arthropods are found in the woodlands and forests of East Africa, where they move through the leaf litter looking for decaying fruit and leaves.

 

Flower Beetle

Eudicella aethiopica

Yet another beautiful insect, this is a Flower Beetle that can be found in the rainforests of Central and Western Africa. As suggested by its common name, it feeds on the nectar and pollen of forest flowers.

 

Jungle Nymph

Heteropteryx dilatata

This large insect from Malaya lays the largest insect egg in the world, at about 0.5 inch and the female is a lot bigger than the male. They feed on Guava leaves and other large-leafed tropical plants.

Giant Asian Mantis

A large mantis that originates from South East Asia, it is very active and eats any insects it can catch. It is also cannibalistic, particularly with the female eating the male after mating.

 

Peruvian Black Stick insect

Peruphasma schultei

Strikingly coloured, the Peruvian Black Stick insect was originally found in a small area of Peru. Adults can spray a liquid from behind its head, which can irritate the skin and eyes.