Insects play an important part in every ecosystem but we can’t help being utterly terrified of them. Bugs are like alien creatures that look so bizarre. Unlike cute mammals, insects have exoskeleton bodies, claws, stingers, wings, antennae, more legs than necessary, and other troubling features that make us want to die. There are around 1.5 million beetle species and 5.5 million insect species, with about 1 million insect species currently found. That means there’s a very diverse (the most diverse on the planet) array of creepy-crawlies to fear.
We decided to take a look at some of the weirder species of bugs and find the most unusual insects on Earth. You guys, there are so many beetles we could have lived without knowing about. Our key takeaway: we’re never sleeping again. Here are 10 bizarre bugs that you might not know about and probably don’t want to know anything about.
That. Red. Eye. Oak treehoppers are large, heavy-bodied, triangularly-shaped insects often marked with stripes and usually, but not always, displaying a frontal horn. These bugs are found all the way from Canada to South America. In the US, they’re especially populous up and down the east coast.
The porous-looking back is giving us real alien vibes and what’s up with that huge horn? These hoppers feed on the bark of oaks but do very little damage to their tree hosts. At least they act like good guests because they certainly don’t look the part.
Growing up to 7 inches in length, titan beetle is the largest beetle in the world. They live in the tropical rainforests of South America. This massive insect has a flat body and curved, sharp, and powerful mandibles. Using these mandibles, a titan beetle can even snap a pencil into two pieces.
While these beetles are not aggressive, they will bite and hiss if threatened. We could live an entire life without ever hearing a beetle hiss. We don’t need that sound haunting our nightmares.
Did you ever think to yourself, Gee, I wish that scorpions could fly! No, no you didn’t. The good news is that these disgusting creatures do not actually sting. The bad news is that the “stinger” is actually enlarged male genitals.
These bugs like any environment with a lot of moisture. They enjoy feeding on animal carcasses (and human ones too). While they’re called flies, these bugs are more closely related to fleas. Gross.
The giant weta is one of the biggest insects in the world. An adult weta can weigh 35 grams and has a length of 4 inches. This large insect is endemic to New Zealand. Giant weta can’t jump or fly as they have a massive body. Wetas also have noticeably long legs and antennas.
Apart from the great size, another interesting fact about giant wetas is how they breathe. Because they don’t have lungs and breathe through holes in their exoskeleton. Yep, not of this world.
Native to rainforests of Central America, hercules beetles are among the largest insects in the world. The most defining characteristic of this insect is the longhorn found in the male beetle. With this long, unbelievable horn an adult male hercules beetle measures up to 18 cm in length. That makes male hercules beetles some of the longest beetles in the world.
Hercules beetles are also famous for their ability to carry huge weight. Yes, this insect can carry 850 times its body mass. That’s like a person carrying seven elephants. Seems totally normal, right?
Saddleback Moth Caterpillar
Distinct bright color patterns and the presence of venomous, urticating spines lead to its recognition as the saddleback caterpillar. The bright colors on display here are warning signs to potential predators. It is native to a large range in the eastern United States and able to feed on a wide array of host plant species.
If you forget that those little prickly spines are venomous, this little slug caterpillar is almost cute. Who are we kidding?
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The assassin bug is a predatory insect that can be found throughout the world. There are more than 7,000 species of assassin bugs ready to get you. Depending on the species, both size and color of this insect vary.
Assassin bugs are called “assassins” because they’re very efficient and deadly predators. These insects are known to catch the prey much larger than them. To attack their prey, they inject powerful, toxic saliva into the prey’s body using their long rostrum. It’s a painful way to go because the toxin is very painful. This is the most predatory bug on the list and we’re going to stay far, far away.
These massive moths have a 10-inch wingspan with wing tips that look like snakes! Because of the patterns on their wings, they’re also known as cobra moths. These very, very large moths are some of the biggest insects on the planet.
Atlas moths can be found in India and Southeast Asia and are often farmed for their silk. Can you imagine something this big flying up to your patio light at night?
Devil’s Flower Mantis
These mantises are very good at mimicking the flowers they sit on. It might look like a delicate insect, but it is a prolific predator. They will wait completely still until prey arrives, which they will then snatch right with their powerful legs that are extremely hard to escape from.
They dine on flies, moths, butterflies, and beetles. Because nothing is right in this world, thousands of these insects are sold as pets every year. Ugh.
The goliath beetle is one of the largest insects on earth. Some people who have these giant beetles as pets will feed them dog and cat food (what the hell is wrong with people?). They are found mostly on the continent of Africa in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
As depicted in the horrifying picture above, this beetle possesses a reinforced first pair of wings (called elytra) that act as protective armor for their second pair of wings and abdomen. Nope!
There you go! 10 really gross bugs that actually exist in this world and are not visitors from space. From small to large, these weird wonders are a reminder that the majority of insects on the planet have not been discovered yet! So, keep your eyes peeled and your back to the wall.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.