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Christmas Gift Guide

The entire collection

Mantidae: the praying mantis

Nymphalidae: purple flora butterfly

Lycosidae: the black wolf spider

Phasmitadae: the stick insect

If your inner entomologist is a little on the squeamish side, perhaps you'd prefer some anatomically correct Lego versions of your favourite insects.

I'm going to be honest: touching insects is not my favourite thing. However, I think the little guys are fascinating, like the way a female praying mantis will sometimes eat the male's head midway through mating, or the little dances that bees do to communicate with each other, or the way a golden orb weaver packages up its leftovers to munch on later.

Sean and Steph Mayo — aka Siercon on Coral — also love small things, and their series of Lego bug specimens is a testament to the wonder of all things wriggly, creepy and crawly.

Neither of them are entomologists, but Sean is an environmental scientist, working at the US National Aquarium constructing habitats.

Nevertheless, insects are a bit of a departure from the usual for the Lego-building pair. Steph told CNET Australia, "We typically build in the medieval fantasy genre, as we are in the slow process of writing a book in that category. But very often, we find tons of inspiration from things around us in nature, and find ourselves making intricate creatures like bugs."

The project was for a the 2013 MOCathlon competition. Steph said, "These specific Lego creations were triggered by a Lego competition in which teams of five compete to build in 30 different categories over the span of March. One of the categories our team chose us to build in was 'Creepy Crawlies (Build a Bug)'. After building one, we just couldn't stop."

Each bug is created with incredible attention to detail, using photos found on Google image search as reference.

Although the pair will undoubtedly go back to medieval and fantasy creations when they're done, we kind of hope they'll continue the project again someday. An entire natural history museum's worth of exhibitions built out of Lego? Now that would be a thing to see.

View a selection from their display in the gallery below, and head on over to their Flickr page to view the entire magnificent set.

All 10 Lego specimens in a specimen display case.

Caption by / Photo by Lego Insect Collection (Panorama) image © 2013 Siercon and Coral. Used with permission of Siercon and Coral. All rights reserved.

Praying Mantises are badass. Here's one giving a cat merry heck, and another one taking down a hummingbird. Also, their defensive pose looks really, really happy. (Note: if you see a praying mantis do that, it wants you to go away.)

Caption by / Photo by Praying Mantis (Mantidae) image © 2013 Siercon and Coral. Used with permission of Siercon and Coral. All rights reserved.

If you see a butterfly in the wild, it's more than likely a Nymphalidae. Our Aussie ones are mostly the orange kind, though.

Caption by / Photo by Purple Flora Butterfly (Nymphalidae) image © 2013 Siercon and Coral. Used with permission of Siercon and Coral. All rights reserved.

We don't have black wolf spiders in Australia; only fuzzy brown ones that are rather timid and not very poisonous (although you should probably get checked out if you get bitten, just in case). On the scale of dangerous spiders here, wolf spiders are pretty low. And they have such cute little faces.

Caption by / Photo by Black Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) image © 2013 Siercon and Coral. Used with permission of Siercon and Coral. All rights reserved.

As Sean pointed out, if you go looking for a stick insect, it's almost a guarantee that you won't find one. They're among the best-disguised bugs, and most active at night.

Caption by / Photo by Walking Stick (Phasmatidae) image © 2013 Siercon and Coral. Used with permission of Siercon and Coral. All rights reserved.
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