Famous historical beheadings recreated with mantises

Brendan sez,

Artist Judith G. Klausner (a.k.a. Rogue Entomologist) has used mantises (infamous for the females' habit of biting off the heads of their mates) to stage several well-known scenes of women beheading men. Right now, she has the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland (also viewable in 3D!) and the biblical story of Judith and Holofernes. The costumes in particular are incredible -- lots of great detail work at a very small scale.

The Rogue Entomologist web site also has a lot of other cool insect art, including some great insect/human hybrids, a 5-horned rhinoceros beetle lit from the inside with an LED, and some cool bugs made from electronic parts

Link (Thanks, Brendan!)


  1. this is quite immoral. i realize they’re only insects, but they’re being killed for entertainment purposes. maybe I’m a crazy animal rights activists, but this is not art.

  2. I question exactly how historical scenes from Alice in Wonderland are. Awesome, yes. Historical, not so much.

  3. After looking at the whole thing I must also question how historical any scene from the bible is, while admitting that a scene from Alice in Wonderland is, in fact, more likely to be historically accurate.

  4. I’m not 100% agreeing with Ylekes, but I’m not a big fan of the rogue taxidermy” and “rogue entomologist” stuff. It seems disrespectful to use the corpses of animals for little sight gags.

    For the record, yes, I am a meat eater, and yes, I have a hunting permit.

    I’m not saying that killing animals is wrong – I’m saying that making light of them by using their carcasses in art is crass.

  5. As the artist, I’d like to respond briefly.

    First off, The insects I use in my art are already dead. I do not kill insects. Much to the contrary, i spend a good deal of my time teaching children to appreciate and observe them, instead of squashing them.
    While others may not share my views on art, as an artist i really do believe that it is a wonderful vehicle for teaching appreciation. My intent is exactly the opposite of making light. My art is aimed at sharing my fascination and the beauty i see in insects with a world that tends to (unjustly) revile them.

  6. That’s the question, if she just wandered about till she found mantis bodies, or if she bought them from a petshop or similar and then killed them so she could make something pretty.

  7. Also, the word “historical” was added by the boing boing editor. I would have said “literary.”

  8. knowing the mantis(es?) met their ends after full, rich lives makes me happy. I think the art is nifty. There is no point in anthropomorphizing about mantis burial rituals and ethics, I am sure they see each other’s corpses as food or lounging furniture. We could learn from them.

  9. I love the rougue taxidermists and Judith’s work is wonderful.

    Great Art, Horror and Wit all in one!

    I could not ask for more.
    Thank you for the great post.

  10. Awesome! It looks fantastic, Judith. It’s kind of funny to me that someone would accuse you, of all people, of insensitivity towards insects. I never thought I’d see the day.


  11. Some time ago, I was told by an entomologist that sex-cannibalism in mantises is much exaggerated; he suggested that it’s encouraged by the disturbance assoctiated with laboratory conditions, and is much rarer in the wild.

    The Wikipedia article states that the cause of cannibalism ‘remains controversial’.

  12. Judith,
    I appreciate your response, and I appreciate your effort in teaching children to love nature. However, I still worry that, although you might look for dead insects, others won’t. I’m worried that this will spark others to emulate you without similar good will. Like people who kill threatened butterflies and sell them in glass cases in tourist shops in south america.

    I’m sorry if i caused offense. it just worries me. i don’t wear my grandfather’s awesome fur coat, not because i had any direct impact on the animal’s death, but because i might inspire someone else to buy a fur coat.

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