Bugs are among the world’s most diverse creatures, yet how much do we truly know about these six-legged critters?
Diver beetles possess an amazing feature that allows them to remain underwater for prolonged periods, which makes for one of the coolest insect facts you should be aware of.
Acrocinus longimanus, more commonly known as the Harlequin Beetle or Harlequin Smelter Bug is a large tropical beetle known for its intricate black, red, and greenish yellow patterns on its wings. The beetle’s long forelegs, sometimes as long as its body, make this creature instantly identifiable as well as give rise to its common name. Male beetles in particular stand out with longer than average forelegs as sexual displays towards female beetles which serve sexual displays towards female beetle bodies in sexual displays that serve both as visual cues for female beetle bodies as sexual displays towards female beetles.
Harlequin beetles, like other stink bugs, do not actually contain poison but utilize color schemes as a deterrent against birds that attempt to consume them. Their bright orange or red markings alert predators that these bugs contain chemicals extracted from plants they eat that make them unappetizing to birds due to being spicy-tasting and unpalatable to some species of predator.
Not content to merely behold their aesthetic beauty, harlequin beetles can also serve as transportation for pseudoscorpions – small arthropods capable of climbing aboard beetles through pincer movements pinning themselves to its wings and abdomen, when moving, they flex their abdomens allowing more room for pseudoscorpions to climb aboard!
One beetle can carry as many as 30 of these curious stowaways! This incredible insect may have even slipped past you unaware before.
Beetles resemble other insects in that they possess a head, thorax and abdomen; their first pair (referred to as forewings) serves as protective coverings for the functional wings folded underneath; this makes beetles easy to identify by looking at their forewing covers as one way of telling whether an insect is beetle-related.
Beetles can be identified by their long antennae which function like feelers in helping them find food, mates and places to lay eggs. Furthermore, their pair of mouthparts are used for chewing while emitting an odorous boiling-hot liquid to repel predators or kill them.
Click beetles emit a loud clicking sound and stream of foul-smelling fluid when they detect potential threats; this combination helps them evade their attacker more easily and allows the beetle to escape more swiftly.
Scientists have recently made another breakthrough discovery demonstrating clever engineering: beetle beaks have an innovative system of turning without using their wings! Researchers tethered Mycetophagia torquata beetles to a force-detecting joystick and displayed videos with stripes moving left or right for five-second duration on nearby screens; beetles would then move their legs in tandem with these movements, rotating their thoraces by up to half an inch!
We all recognize insects are an immensely diverse group of organisms, yet many of their members can be truly bewildering creatures. From explosive ants to Hercules beetles, class Insecta hosts some of nature’s weirdest defense mechanisms.
Ants have long been known to use suicidal self-sacrifice strategies in defense of their colonies, but scientists recently discovered one species in Borneo that takes this tactic even further: Colobopsis explodens has a tribe of minor workers that can “explode” when enemies threaten its colony; when threatened, these workers raise their rear end and flex so hard that their abdomen bursts open spraying yellow goo on any enemy creature that crosses its path.
Scientists speculate that this bizarre defensive behavior in ants has its source in their mandibular glands, which were originally utilized for digestion but have since been modified to produce a protective secretion that either helps repel predators or distracts them so the ant can take care of things independently.
Other insects are equally adept at using sound to defend their colonies, with Hercules beetles in particular using vibrations from wood to attack at up to 850 times faster. If a nest comes under attack, these beetles have the ability to detonate themselves – but as an extra bonus these beetles also play heavy metal music to create their own unique signature aural signature.
Praying Mantises are one of the more fascinating insects around. With humanoid features like turning their heads 180 degrees and camouflaging themselves among plants or objects, these insects make for entertaining observations. Plus they’re considered some of the best predators for controlling pests!
Mantises possess an ear in their abdomen designed to detect sound. This ear is specifically tuned to pick up on high-pitched sounds emanating from echolocating bats, alerting the mantis that an archeopteryx may be nearby and helping it escape its deadly grasp.
Though praying mantises are powerful predators, they rarely attack humans without being provoked first. While their bites may be painful, they do not inject venom and usually only draw out small drops of blood before moving on with their hunts – the best part being they do not carry any diseases which could potentially spread to us humans!
A praying mantis’ life cycle begins each spring when it hatches from eggs. After feeding on vegetation for most of summer, it grows larger before becoming an adult and mating in autumn. After mating occurs, adult die, leaving behind nymphs to continue the cycle each year – cannibalism can occur up to 30% of the time among some nymphs.
Spiders may seem creepy, but they have successfully adapted to virtually every habitat on Earth and play vital roles in ecosystems. There are over 45,000 different spider species worldwide; including cartoon-like Samoan Moss Spiders and Goliath Birdeater Tarantulas; these spiders all produce silk which can be spun into various forms and five times stronger than steel!
Notably, unlike insects, spiders do not belong to the insect club – instead, they fall under Arachnida – an order of arthropods which includes harvestmen, ticks, mites, scorpions and pseudoscorpions. While often lumped with insects for convenience’s sake, spiders possess distinct features that differentiate them from them such as eight legs instead of six as well as fanged chelicerae that can inject venom.
Other interesting insect facts include that harlequin beetles kill themselves when their colonies are attacked by splitting their skin and exploding, or they have another defense mechanism whereby they release saliva to cover themselves with yellow goo to distract their enemies and delay attacks from attackers. Furthermore, double drummer cicadas are loudest insect on earth that survive by storing solar energy within their bodies.
Termites have the ability to hear vibrations emanating from wood they chew on and use this information to identify its type. Furthermore, they can identify heavy metal music’s tempo by its sound effects and will chew faster when hearing such music.
Insects Have Brains
As soon as we hear “bug,” our minds likely go straight to an image of something disgusting and disease-carrying; but insects actually have brains and can learn.
Animals possess multiple small brains that enable them to move faster than humans and sense danger more accurately than us humans do. These small brains, called ganglia, contain clusters of neurons fused together. Their number depends on the insect; for instance, fruit flies typically possess around 100,000 neurons while honey bees have roughly 1 Million!
A bug’s protocerebrum sends signals to its compound eyes and ocelli (light-sensing organs). Meanwhile, its deutocerebrum connects via nerves with antennae used for gathering information like odors, taste, tactile sensations and temperature or humidity levels. Finally, their tritocerebrum consolidates this data before sending it onto their upper moveable lip so it can move in response to food in its path.
Researchers may still be unsure whether bugs experience emotions, but studies have demonstrated that insects recognize and remember shapes of their own kind. Furthermore, insects experience hunger and pain sensations along with vague analogs for anger feelings – though they cannot experience love or jealousy. Macquarie University professors Andrew Barron and Colin Klein agree that while bugs possess primitive brains they only feel what is necessary for survival.