Many people consider insects the creepiest and scariest creatures on the planet, and we can understand that. Finding a huge cockroach in your bed is anything but a nice encounter, that is for sure. On the other hand, some insects can actually be very cool. Adapted to survive in nearly all environments, insects are the most diverse group of animals on Earth, including more than a million described species and representing more than half of all known living organisms. Scientists estimate insects potentially represent over 90% of the differing animal life forms on Earth, which is truly an astonishing number. Considering the incredible abundance of insects, it comes as no surprise that there are also some really bizarre insect species out there. While some insects might shock us just with their appearance, others are capable of things that will put other animals and even us humans to shame. To give you just a little glimpse of how amazing the insect world actually is, we compiled this post with 25 Incredible Insects Sure to Leave You Amazed. To find out what insect can make you deaf, how long a termite queen can live or what insect´s bite is compared to being shot by a gun, check out these incredible insects that are sure to amaze you.
Fireflies are famous for their unique ability to produce light by means of a chemical reaction known as bioluminescence. There are about 2,000 different species of fireflies, but they all glow even in their larval stage; while in their larval stage they are called glowworms.
Flower mantises are those species of praying mantis that mimic flowers. Their behavior varies, but they usually climb a plant until they reach a suitable flower and then they stay still until their prey comes within range. Some species of flower mantis are also popular as pets.
Potentially the most destructive insect, the desert locust has threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. Capable of eating their own weight every day, the locusts gather in huge swarms. A single swarm can cover up to 1,200 sq km (463 sq mi) and can contain up to 80 million locusts per 1 sq km (0.39 sq mi).
A little oval-shaped dung beetle, the taurus scarab is considered the world´s strongest animal in terms of proportional strength. In a laboratory experiment, the beetle was recorded to pull 1,141 times its own body weight. That’s equivalent to a person lifting about 82 tons.
Indigenous to Madagascar, the giraffe weevil has one the weirdest body proportions in the animal kingdom. Males have markedly extended necks that can be several times their own body lengths. Measuring about 2.5 cm (1 in), the giraffe weevil uses its prolonged neck for nest building and fighting.
Known for their plant-sucking nymphs which encase themselves in froth in springtime, froghoppers are the best jumpers in the animal kingdom. The insects can jump up to 100 times their length, experiencing over 400 g (gravitational acceleration) during the jump.
The ultimate insect predator, the dragonfly hunts prey both in its larval stage and as adult. Scientists have found out that dragonflies are brutally effective killers, managing to capture their prey in midair more than 95 percent of the time, which makes them arguably the most efficient hunters of all animals.
The cockroach has a reputation of being one of the hardiest (and most feared) insect. Some species are capable of remaining active for a month without food and survive without air for up to 45 minutes. Cockroaches also have a much higher radiation resistance than vertebrates, with the lethal dose up to 15 times that for humans.
Inhabiting woodlands and grasslands on all continents except Antarctica, the bombardier beetle is most notable for its unique defense mechanism that gives it its name. When disturbed, the beetle ejects a hot noxious chemical spray from the tip of their abdomen. The reaction is very exothermic, raising the temperature of the mixture to near 100 C (212 F).
Recognizable by their prominent wide-set eyes, short antennae, and membranous front wings, cicadas are one the loudest animals. Some cicadas can actually produce sounds up to 120 dB which is loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss in humans should the cicada sing just outside the listener’s ear.
While it’s one of the most annoying insects, the mosquito is also one of the deadliest on Earth. Various species of mosquitoes are estimated to transmit a multitude of diseases to more than 700 million people annually in Africa, South America, Central America, Russia, and much of Asia, with millions of resultant deaths.
Aptly nicknamed the scorpion fly, the mecoptera is a bizarre insect that looks like a cross between a fly and a scorpion. Mecopteras are known for their elaborate mating rituals, in which females choose mates based on the quality of prey offered by various males as gifts.
Ants are capable of a number of impressive feats including carrying about 50 times their own bodyweight and “enslaving“ individuals from other ant species. Ants are also estimated to represent up to 20% of the total terrestrial animal biomass, which exceeds that of the vertebrates.
Bees are known to produce honey and play a key role in pollination, but few people know how amazing bees are at navigation. Bees can recognize a desired compass direction in 3 different ways: by the sun, by the polarization pattern of the blue sky, and by the earth’s magnetic field. The sun is the preferred method with the other mechanisms being used under cloudy skies.
Endemic to Madagascar, the sunset moth is a large day-flying moth famous for its strikingly beautiful coloration. Very popular among collectors, the moth is considered one of the most impressive and appealing-looking insects on the planet.
Named after the biblical giant Goliath, the Goliath beetle is the largest insect in terms of bulk and weight. In the larval stage, it can weigh up to 100 gm (3.5 oz); While adults are only about half this weight, they can measure up to 11 cm (4.3 in) for males and 8 cm (3.1 in) for females.
Out of about 3,200 known species of treehoppers, most have very bizarre appearances. With a very short life span of just a few months, treehoppers are known for their enlarged and ornate pronotum which often resembles thorns, apparently to aid camouflage.
One of the largest and heaviest insects in the world, the giant weta is native to New Zealand. With some specimens recorded to weigh in over 70 g (2.5 oz.), the giant weta is a great example of island gigantism as the bug evolved on a secluded island with few natural predators to restrict its growth.
What makes the hummingbird hawk-moth a unique insect species is its striking resemblance to an actual hummingbird. The moth´s prolonged proboscis even mimics the bird´s beak. The Hummingbird hawk-moth is distributed throughout the northern Old World from Portugal to Japan but is resident only in warmer climates.
Scientifically known as Nepidae, water scorpions are aquatic heteropteran insects that look like a mix between beetle and scorpion. Totally harmless to humans, these creatures mostly feed on other aquatic insects such as mosquito larvae and diving beetles, but they have been known to kill and eat even small fish and frogs.
Known for its predatory habits and running speed, the tiger beetle can run at a speed of up to 9 km/h (5.6 mph) which is about 125 body lengths per second, making it arguably the fastest animal on Earth in terms of proportional speed. This beetle is actually so fast that it has to stop and visually reorient itself as it is moving too fast for its visual system to accurately process images.
Japanese Giant Hornet
Endemic to Japan, the Japanese giant hornet is a subspecies of the world’s largest hornet, the Asian giant hornet. The Japanese giant hornet can be very aggressive when provoked. Its venom, which is injected by the 6.25 mm (.24in)-long stinger, attacks the nervous system and damages the tissue of its victims.
Mainly found in Central and South America, the glasswinged butterfly is a brush-footed butterfly famous for its transparent wings that can be as long as 6.1 cm (2.4 in). The tissue between the veins of its wings looks like glass, as it lacks the colored scales found in other butterflies.
While termites are impressive as a species due to their successful colonization of most landmasses except Antarctica, it is their queens who are particularly amazing. As incredible as it sounds, some termite queens have been recorded to live up to 50 years, which is by far the longest life span among all insects.
Native to rainforests of Nicaragua and the extreme east of Honduras and Paraguay, the bullet ant, which can grow up to 3 cm (1.2 in) long, is notorious for its extremely painful and potent sting. This insect´s sting is considered one of the most painful, and it is even, according to some victims, equal to being shot, hence the name.