Although insects may seem like pests, they serve an invaluable purpose. By recycling nutrients and providing sustenance to other creatures – including humans – insects are vitally important.
Some interesting bug facts include how termites use vibration to detect various kinds of wood in their environment and cricket chirps can predict temperature changes.
Beetles are one of the 10 quintillion insects in the world and among its 10 quintillion insects they represent some of the most widespread forms. Beetles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors and one way to identify one is by counting its legs – three on either side – which run along their bodies. Also distinctive about beetles is their antennae which grow out from their head rather than on their sides or undersides.
Beetles differ from many winged creatures in that their wings remain concealed when resting, only unfurling when flying – an evolutionary trait designed to reduce drag and make flight easier for beetles. Scientists believe this behavior has evolved so as to take advantage of momentum conservation principle during flight.
As another intriguing beetle fact, beetles can survive even with damaged wings, as is demonstrated by Paratuposa placentis beetle. Although its wings have become damaged, this beetle still flies and controls its flight using pronotum structure that covers their blades – providing protection and also helping beetles fly by decreasing weight.
Fruit flies boast one of the longest life spans among insects, living for six years in the wild. Some ant species also live long lives and engage in slavery activities to increase worker numbers in their colonies.
As one of the fastest insects, the dragonfly stands out. Reaching speeds up to 90 miles per hour, it has one of the highest top speeds among insects. Meanwhile, another fast insect, the double drummer cicada can produce sounds comparable to human voices due to an organ in its abdomen which produces its loud song.
Researchers have unearthed many fascinating insect facts, but a recently discovered species of ant known as Colobopsis explodens is truly unique. These ants possess an astounding ability – they can use self-destruct mechanisms to defend their colony against potential danger.
The team that discovered these ants is currently undertaking further research in order to fully understand this strange insect. They plan to gather more colonies and explore their behavior thoroughly, using this model ant as an aid for understanding other social insects that display similar behaviors.
When an ant is in danger, its workers can act quickly by compressing their internal organs until their exoskeleton bursts and their innards coat everything around them – an act known as autothysis that represents one of the extreme cases of their behavior.
Scientists first came upon these mysterious, explosive ants while conducting research in the rain forest. While studying other ant species, they noticed a few males of this new species leaving their nest and flying off into the distance; after tracking these fleeing insects for some time, scientists ran after them and carefully placed them into glass vials for future observation.
Insects are one of the world’s most diverse animal groups and often considered the most fascinating organisms. From ladybugs with ears that peek out of their necks to katydids and crickets with vibratory detectors, insects hold many surprising and astonishing secrets that remain unexposed to us humans.
Have you heard that termites can hear music? Heavy metal tunes have been known to motivate termites to chew wood faster and more efficiently, while bed bugs have the ability to detect human carbon dioxide exhalations during sleep and adapt accordingly.
When we think of bugs, our first thoughts usually involve pests scurrying around in our homes or the wild. But these creepy crawlies have more going on than we realize: from extreme camouflage to sexual cannibalism – bugs have much more fascinating characteristics than we give them credit for!
Praying mantises get their name because their front legs fold together in a gesture of devotion, but these peaceful-appearing carnivores may be anything but. Ambush predators like praying mantises are highly capable of hunting their prey from great distances while possessing an amazing 3D vision capability.
Mantisses possess remarkable eyes that can detect even minute movements or vibrations, enabling them to distinguish single objects from their backgrounds. Their incredible vision is made possible due to having three eyes facing different directions with individual photoreceptors for each.
Mantisses have long necks with triangular heads that can rotate up to 180 degrees, enabling them to scan the environment from all directions for prey, and move so quickly that their jaws close almost simultaneously with head movement.
Not all insect species can practice sexual cannibalism during mating season, but certain cockroaches and crickets appear to practice cannibalism of their male mates for nutrients derived from them, according to National Geographic. Additionally, this practice helps pump more sperm into her body so she can fertilize her eggs more successfully.
Other insects are capable of cannibalism as well, including the hornet – a type of wasp which injects victims with toxic venom to kill them – as well as some ants who feed on their young.
Spiders Have Ears
Spiders are known for having exceptional night vision. But their incredible hearing also allows them to discern vibrations on webs or plants to identify its frequency and volume as well as where its source lies.
Spiders don’t possess ears like humans do; rather they utilize vertical hairs called trichobothria on their legs that detect surface vibrations and provide information to their brain for interpretation.
Some spider species also produce sounds themselves. This noise may serve to attract prey, scare off predators or warn other spiders of potential danger – for instance wolf spiders create loud, deep hums that attract mates while warning off potential predators; other spiders make noise by rocking back and forth similar to leaves blowing in the wind.
Researchers have recently made an unexpected discovery: jumping spiders can detect sounds over long distances. This discovery was made by accident when conducting studies to examine how spiders process visual information; one day while studying these processes, scientists heard a squeak from nearby chair that caused its neural neurons to fire off simultaneously with that of a nearby jumping spider’s neural neurons firing up in response.
Another strange insect fact is that termites can listen to music. These insects use sound waves as an aid for finding food sources and finding nest sites in wooded environments, sensing vibrations from tree surfaces and other objects in their environment, with heavy metal or rock music making them chew through wood faster than usual – helping them extract more nutrition out of each meal while dissuading predators from following them around.
Insects Have Brains
Insects are some of the most abundant creatures on Earth, estimated at an estimated 10 quintillion (a trillion). Though often mistaken as simpletons, insects actually possess sophisticated minds – and researchers recently completed mapping part of an insect brain circuitry–or at least part. A March 10, Science article detailed this work involving all nerve cells and almost every connection within a fruit fly larva’s brain mapped – creating the most detailed whole brain wiring diagram yet created.
The insect brain consists of three pairs of lobes connected by ganglia that process sensory information. The protocerebrum processes visual data sent from its compound eyes and ocelli (light-sensing organs); mushroom bodies act as central hub for memory and learning abilities. Finally, tritocerebrum connects with upper movable lip of insect and integrates information from other lobes; additionally it serves as sub-brain by connecting to stomodaeal nervous system which innervates most organs of insects.
Researchers from Macquarie University have observed an interesting correlation between insect mushroom bodies of various sizes and their memory capabilities. Yet just because an insect with larger mushroom bodies might appear smarter doesn’t mean it will necessarily outsmart a bug with smaller mushroom bodies – intelligence doesn’t depend on number of neurons present but on how these are wired together in its brain.