Adrian Kozakiewicz has more than 156,000 Instagram followers, which is not a huge number but pretty impressive considering he posts nothing bug bugs. Big bugs, colorful bugs, weird bugs. People clearly love his bugs. But they also love what he does with them. “I show only exceptional insects, ones that most people aren’t familiar with,” he says. “That + on your face = viral gold.”
Yes, you read that right. Kozakiewicz often displays his insects on his face, a habit more than one follower memorialized with fan art. The bugs on his mug are pretty cool—mantises, the enormous attacus caesar moth, the occasional whipspider or giant leaf insect—but only a fraction of his immense collection. Not every insect appears on his face, though—some of them crawl over his hands or just sort of sit there doing nothing.
The 20-year-old travels the world hunting exotic insects, which he keeps in his insect room in Karlsruhe, Germany. He owns around 600 insects and other creepy-crawlies in all, representing 70 species of every size, color, and eeek factor. “I love insects because of their amazing diversity and appearance,” he says. “There are species adapted to every habitat in the world, in the way they live and their camouflage.”
Kozakiewicz began breeding insects at just 10 years old. He visits Asia three or four times each year, searching to track down nocturnal creatures in the rainforests of Thailand, Malaysia, and Laos. Once home, he breeds his bugs in bottles, plastic boxes, and terrariums, and sells the offspring to zoos and bug dealers or trades them to fellow collectors. Most of whom, you can safety say, do not display them on their face.