I work at an Environmental Interpretive Center in Dearborn, and in the summer, lead outdoor programs for children. One of my favorite programs is the "Pond Study", where we scoop for insects and then classify and categorize them.
Anyway, I this my favorite bug a few months ago: He is a giant-sized "Great Diving Beetle" larva (Dysticus Marginalis) and the kids (and coordinators) loved him so much, that he lives at the center now!
The kids love to play with him (especially if they were lucky enough catch the real one). He is anatomically correct, complete with 6 legs, mandibles, and little gills (at the tip of his tail). He is made with fur, stuffing, buttons, and pipe cleaners. He was my first real "toy" project.
The Real One:
Now, the plush one!
In front of his new home:
I love GIANT-SIZED things - especially if let you appreciate some of the characteristics of something from a different perspective!! Or even better yet, make you feel like the poor little tadpole he is about to "prey" on...
Anyway, there are definitely more on the way... but so far, it's been hard to beat the coolness of him (that's what you get when you make your favorite one right off the bat!) Thanks for looking!