6 More of the World’s Craziest Bugs
Previously, we have talked about some of the craziest bugs in the United States as well as the world. With more than 900 thousand known species of insects in the world today, we have barely scratched the surface of bizarre and interesting bugs! The insects on this list were chosen due to their unique looks or their fascinating defense mechanisms. Thankfully–or regrettably, depending on your level of interest–none of these insects are found in the Midwest. Read on for 6 more of the world’s craziest bugs!
Spiny Devil Katydid
Katydids are a species of insects related to grasshoppers and found all over the world. They are called katydids because the word sounds similar to the noise they make. There are some species of katydid found in North America, but none as strange-looking as the aptly-named spiny devil katydid which is found in South America. Its spines are a defense mechanism, but they also use their limbs to catch prey and crush it with their powerful mandibles. Some katydids are herbivorous, but the spiny devil katydid eats moths, snails, caterpillars, and even small frogs!
The jewel wasp, also called the emerald cockroach wasp or the zombie wasp, makes the list both for its striking looks and its terrifying reproductive behavior. Native to Africa, Asia, and a few Pacific Islands, this iridescent solitary wasp preys on cockroaches, which are more than six times larger than the jewel wasp. The jewel wasp strikes with precision, aiming for the thorax (middle) of the cockroach’s body. And here’s where the zombie part comes in–the first strike temporarily paralyzes the cockroach, but the next two stings go directly into the roach’s brain, affecting its ability to walk. The wasp gnaws off the cockroach’s antennae and begins to drag it by the stubs, and the “zombie” roach allows itself to be led by the jewel wasp into its burrow.
The jewel wasp then lays a single egg on the cockroach and uses small pebbles to build a wall around the cockroach and keep it in place. The jewel wasp then moves on to the next cockroach, but the process is not done. In two days the jewel wasp larva will hatch, eating the cockroach from the inside while it is still alive. Once the larva has finished this process, it pupates inside the husk of the cockroach, and about a month later, a new adult jewel wasp emerges, allowing the horrifying and fascinating cycle to continue.
While this insect is found in Brazil, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was from outer space! This solitary insect is related to cicadas and spends its life in trees eating the undersides of leaves. But it makes our list because of how strange it looks. Growing straight up from its thorax are four hollow spheres made of chitin that almost look like helicopter blades. Not even entomologists know the purpose of these round protuberances, but it has been speculated they might be for defense or simply ornamental. Most insects with large exaggerated features have specific functions for them, which is just one more reason this insect is so interesting!
European Puss Moth Caterpillar
Not to be confused with the North American puss moth caterpillar, which is very fuzzy, the European puss moth caterpillar looks striking and has a very particular way of defending itself, which is why it makes this list. Its bright green underbelly and darker stripe on top are not what draws the eye–that would be both the large red mouth that looks like it is wearing lipstick and its dark spike at the end of its tail. It’s a lot to take in!
But if you find yourself in Europe near one of these, do not touch or threaten it unless you want to discover its defense mechanism for yourself–it sprays formic acid at its attackers! It is considered the most dangerous caterpillar in Britain for this reason, and we have to agree. Yikes!
Giant Prickly Stick Insect
This stick insect, which looks more like a cactus than a stick, is native to Australia and New Guinea. Though it has the word giant in its name, it is not the largest stick insect in the world–that honor goes to a stick insect in China which can grow up to two feet long. By comparison, our “giant” prickly stick insect seems tiny–only growing about 8 inches long. But its looks are what put it onto our list because its prickles set it apart visually from other stick insects, which usually look like–you guessed it–sticks. This insect is not dangerous and cannot bite or sting, relying entirely on camouflage and mimicry to keep itself safe.
When threatened, this nocturnal insect will curl up its tail to look like a scorpion, and sometimes even raises its front legs to strengthen its scorpion impression. A predator looking for an easy meal often passes right on by rather than attacking what it believes to be a venomous scorpion. These insects, though they look rather terrifying, are very docile and actually make popular pets!
Devil’s Flower Mantis
Found in eastern Africa, the devil’s flower mantis is one of the largest mantis species in the world. It gets its name from its resemblance to an orchid known as the devil’s flower. They are usually found among flowers, as they imitate looking like flowers to draw in prey. In fact, among mantises that mimic flowers, this mantis is the largest of that type in the world. Mimicking a flower is more difficult for young devil’s flower mantises as they look more like dead leaves, but as they mature they look much more like the flowers on which they perch and remain perfectly still, waiting for an unsuspecting butterfly, moth, or beetle. As an adult, their coloration is usually green and white striped on top, but when threatened they rear up and display stunning patterns of blue, red, white, and black to further terrify any insect unfortunate enough to get in its way. The beauty, size, and rarity of the devil’s flower mantis earn it a place on our list.
A Wide World of Wonder
Though this is our third list of the craziest bugs, there are so many insects in the world with more being discovered every year that there is no way to ever really finish this list. All of today’s insects are exotic, with none being found anywhere near the Midwest. But if you’re dealing with common stinging insects in your backyard, look no further than Spidexx Pest Control to help you tackle your pest problems. Get a free quote to protect your home or business today!