18 Insects That Change the Complexion of Life on Earth (Photos)
Doesn’t planet Earth hold just about every kind of species and lifeform conceivable in the human imagination?
Learning about the natural world, the creatures and plants, bacteria and other lifeforms that inhabit it can be a very wholesome and fulfilling activity.
This article should inspire some rejuvenated appreciation for life, serving as a reminder that Earth really is fantastic. One might develop some kind of spiritual clarity, or connection to Earth from understanding more about what any person can observe in the natural world.
1. Bluebottle Fly (Larvae)
Have you ever looked up-close at a common fly and noticed it looks like some kind of machine? If one were to enter this life as an adult and never see creatures like this before, they would think this existence is pretty odd.
This is the larva up-close of a common fly located in most areas of the world.
2. White Ermine
In the temperate belt of Eurasia, from Europe through Kazakhstan and Siberia to China, Korea and Japan, one can find this interesting, large moth.
3. Silkworm Caterpillar
The silkworm is a very special creature, one useful to human beings comparable to a cow or a bumblebee. Silkworms are of course a species that has been used to produce raw silk for at least 5,000 years in China.
4. Brahmin Moth Caterpillar
As the caterpillars and larvae of certain creatures can look incredibly strange up-close, so does this one. The moth it turns into isn’t particularly noteworthy, but the caterpillar is aesthetically interesting.
5. Tsetse Fly
These flies feed on blood, known to spread disease in tropical Africa, including human sleeping sickness and animal trypanosomiasis.
6. Tarantula Hawk Wasp
This giant New Mexico wasp actually hunts tarantulas. According to Wikipedia:
“The vivid coloration found on the bodies, and especially wings, of these wasps is an aposematism, advertising to potential predators the wasps’ ability to deliver a powerful sting. Their long legs have hooked claws for grappling with their victims. The stinger of a female Pepsis grossa can be up to 7 mm (1⁄4 in) long, and the sting is considered one of the most painful insect stings in the world.”
7. Peruvian Giant Yellow-Leg Centipede
This creature is found throughout South America and the Caribbean, a vicious carnivore that eats anything it finds. According to Wikipedia:
“It is a carnivore that feeds on any other animal it can overpower and kill. It is capable of overpowering not only other invertebrates such as insects and even tarantulas, but also small vertebrates including small lizards, frogs (up to 95 mm long), snakes (up to 25 cm long), sparrow-sized birds, mice, and bats. Large individuals of S. gigantea have been known to employ unique strategies to catch bats in which they can climb cave ceilings and hold or manipulate their heavier prey with only a few legs attached to the ceiling.”
8. Thorn Bug
Found on all continents aside from Antarctica, the “tree hopper” is related to cicadas and leafhoppers.
9. Elephant Beetle
Elephant beetles are covered with fine microscopic hairs. They are found in southern Mexico, Central America, and the rainforests of South America.
10. Saint Helena Earwig
Now considered extinct, the Saint Helena earwig was a giant earwig found only on the oceanic island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic.
11. Rhinoceros Cockroach
Found in Australia, notably in tropical regions of Queensland, these heavy monsters can live for up to 10 years: also known as the Burrowing Cockroach.
12. Titan Beetle
The Titan Beetle is one of the largest in the world. It is found in the Amazon rainforest.
13. Goliath Beetle
Goliath Beetles are considered some of the largest insects on Earth. They are able to eat commercial dog or cat food, found in Africa’s tropical forests.
14. Scorpion Fly
Scorpion Flies are a large order of insects which includes about 600 species. Some of the males have giant genitals that look similiar to scorpion stingers. Some science suggests early Mecoptera may have played a vital role in pollinating before the rise of bees and other insect pollinators.
15. Giant Long Legged Katydid
Of the estimated 6,400 types of katydid, this one is the largest known. It can be found in the rural mountain peaks of Malaysia.
16. Hickory Horned Devil
Found in North Carolina, and North America in particular, this is a friendly insect. According to Growing Small Farms: “Hickory horned devils may look ferocious with their “horns” and spines and eyespots but they are completely harmless. They feed on hickory, persimmon, sassafras, sourwood, sumac, sweetgum, sycamore, walnut, and other shade trees but are never numerous enough to warrant control. ”
17. Antlion (Doodle Bug)
The Antlion is another group of roughly 2,000 insects. Their larvae are fiercely predatory, known to dig pits to trap passing ants and similiar prey. The adult insect is sometimes falsely identified as a dragonfly.
18. Giant Walking Stick
This insect is just what the name says: a giant, harmless stick bug. However the family might be more interesting than the average person knows.
According to Wikipedia: “All phasmids possess compound eyes, but ocelli (light-sensitive organs) are only found in some winged males. Phasmids have an impressive visual system that allows them to perceive significant detail even in dim conditions, which suits their typically nocturnal lifestyle. They are born equipped with tiny compound eyes with a limited number of facets. As phasmids grow through successive molts, the number of facets in each eye is increased along with the number of photoreceptor cells. The sensitivity of the adult eye is at least tenfold that of the nymph in its first instar (developmental stage).
As the eye grows more complex, the mechanisms to adapt to dark/light changes is also enhanced: eyes in dark conditions evidence less screening pigments, which would block light, than during the daytime, and changes in the width of the retinal layer to adapt to changes in available light are significantly more pronounced in adults. However, the larger size of the adult insects’ eyes makes them more prone to radiation damage. This explains why fully grown individuals are mostly nocturnal. Lessened sensitivity to light in the newly emerged insects helps them to escape from the leaf litter wherein they are hatched and move upward into the more brightly illuminated foliage.”
(Image credit: List22, Roach Crossing, Edupic, Pin Img, Idea Stations, Super Beefy, Pin Img, Laser Horse)