Ants and flies and moths, oh my! They are everywhere and we have learned to coexist, for the most part. We all know about mosquitoes and ticks and bees, but that’s just the beginning. Bugs, insects, creepy crawlies; whatever you call them, they are definitely an interesting group. Check out these freaky facts:
Despite the rumors, female praying mantis’ rarely eat their mate. However, lightning bugs have been known to flash sexual signals to lure males in and eat them. (You will never look at them the same.)
Some species of parasitic wasps and spider mites are a few of the world’s smallest insects, with bodies measuring 1/128 to 1/32 inch. (That’s much smaller than a grain of salt!)
African desert locust swarms can grow so large they can eat up to 100,000 tons of food in one day.
The adult female Macleay’s Spectre (a species of stick bug) lays about 12 eggs daily, then flings them 3 to 6 feet away.
Praying mantis’ are similar to owls in that they are the only insects that can “look over their shoulder” by turning their heads.
Prior to WWII, epidemic typhus and relapsing fever caused by lice killed more soldiers than battle.
Human pubic louse is not limited to the pubic area – they can be found clinging to beards and armpit hair as well.
Giant Water Bugs can grow so big that they prey on small birds, fish, and frogs.
Rat fleas carried the bacterium that caused bubonic plague in medieval Europe.
Robber flies paralyze their prey by injecting them with their saliva, then they suck the body dry!
Ants in African savannas eat more animal flesh than lions, hyenas, and other carnivores.
Gypsy moths (the fuzzy, cute, black and orange caterpillars) can kill large areas of trees very quickly. Believe it or not, they were brought here on purpose from Europe and Asia to produce cheap silk. Alas, they escaped and they have been endangering trees ever since.
Smithsonian Handbooks – Insects, Spiders, and Other Terrestrial Arthropods by George C. McGavin