Entomology student makes even amoebas huggable

On the lighter (and certainly softer) side of scientific art, who hasn’t wanted to curl up with their favorite mollusk or amoeba at some point? Brigette Zacharczenko, a PhD candidate in entomology, creates colorful stuffed versions of flatworms, water bears, arthropods, and more — conveniently browsable by phylum.

Water bear

Water bear, or tardigrade. All images courtesy and copyright of Weird Bug Lady.



“As a child I was frustrated by the lack of plush toys in the form of insects or other unusual animals,” she writes on her website. “And if they did exist, they were usually anatomically incorrect.”

Zacharczenko, who has adopted the name the “Weird Bug Lady,” is currently a student at the University of Connecticut, where she’s investigating the moth subfamily Acronictinae (she also maintains a blog on her research).

Blue amoeba

Blue amoeba.


Planarians, or unsegmented flatworms.

She has been selling her handmade creations since 2007, according to her site. Her process involves researching and sketching the plush toys, and she does some hand stitching in addition to utilizing a collection of vintage sewing machines.

The items are organized on the site by phylum and class, with descriptions for those who are a little rusty on their taxonomy. Visit weirdbuglady.mybigcommerce.com to learn more.


Nicole is an editor and writer living in San Francisco.

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