Hawk-Moth, Assassin Bug, Scorpion Fly…The New Avengers Movie Or Something Else Entirely?
The internet is filled with fascinating stuff, true. But after reading this article, put your phone down for a while, go outside, and take a walk in your garden. The real fascinating stuff is out there. I promise!
Hummingbird Hawk-Moth: Speed Demon
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nooo! It’s a MOTH with almost the size of a BIRD! Not Larry Bird, of course, no one wants a seven-foot-tall insect.
One to three inches in size, hummingbird moths are usually mistaken for a hummingbird, especially when they’re hovering at a distant. They have a long proboscis that seems like a beak far away.
Did you know that hawk moths are one of only four creatures that can hover and fly the fastest? They have extremely strong wings that can beat for 85 times per second! Watch this closely... The video is even in slow-motion!
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They can actually achieve speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and cover a large feeding route which is great for most plants.
The hovering capability is limited and possessed only by hummingbirds, certain bats, hoverflies, and hummingbird hawk-moths. They can also move rapidly from side to side while hovering referred to as "side-slipping". Talk about a killer crossover!
This convergent evolution is designed to elude predators while feeding.
Certain plant varieties can only be successfully pollinated by hawk moths. Apparently, insects also specialize...Plants with long flowers can only be accessed by hawk moths with their long proboscis and most of the plant species are endangered!
Due to their sturdy and large bodies, hawk moths can travel long distances, travel over islands, and pollinate certain plants that would otherwise die from the face of the Earth.
Scorpionfly: The Great Pretender
What’s worse than a scorpion? A flying one… Fortunately enough, scorpionflies are nothing like those found in the desert. After all, they are neither a scorpion nor a fly!
They are scavengers that feed on dead insects, rotting fruits, and vegetables, and even HUMAN SWEAT! You read that right! It is known that scorpionflies go out and seek human sweat for a quick treat.
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They are believed to have been around 174 million years ago and are considered living fossils. People are drawn because of their unusual bodies resembling a scorpion. Despite of its menacing appearance, the creature is not poisonous to humans.
The males have tails similar to that of a scorpion, however, it is completely harmless. In fact, it is its reproductive organ and they use it to hold the female down during intercourse.
They even offer nuptial gifts to the females before they proceed with the copulation. If they can't provide for dead, rotting bodies, they usually offer their saliva to the females—gross, right?
Next time when you’re out in your garden, be vigilant. Someone, somewhere, would fly an extra mile just to get a taste of your sweat.
Thorn Bug: The Kickboxer
Roses are red, violets are blue, watch out for the kickboxer! She'll kick your butt too...
Thorn bugs are known for their thorn-like appearance that could actually prick your skin if you try to hold the tip of their bodies. They use it as a camouflage to push predators away.
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If you're a wasp or any small critter, you should think twice before attacking the nymphs of a female thorn bug. The species is among a few of those insects that nurtures and actually care for their young.
They lay eggs inside holes they bore on tree barks and stems, and cover the opening with a wax-like substance. They sit and guard the area against wasps and any other predators.
Not only that! When the eggs hatch and became nymphs, they learn to communicate through a series of sounds and vibrations which alerts the entire nest and their mother when a predator is nearby.
If one nymph is in trouble, probably a wasp was grabbing it by the legs (not a good sight to see) it should successfully make a sound—which converts to a brief 'ch' for human ears—loud enough so that its brothers and sisters join in the vibration and alert the mother.
The female responds to the threat by kicking the intruder right in the face. Side kick!
Unfortunately, if only one nymph tries to communicate, the female thorn bug won't see it as a threat.
Imagine all that sounds and vibrations happening in your backyard without you having the faintest idea! And even then, a kickboxing master is living right under your noses...
Hercules Beetle: The He-Man Of The Insect World
Think of this creature as the strong man among the beetles. You don’t get called Hercules for nothing.
Did you know that the Guinness Book of World Records claimed that they could carry 850 times of their own body weight? However, experts later debunked the theory and proved that they could only bear much less than what was declared.
Let me put it this way, perhaps they could only carry 150 times their own body weight, does that make it less impressive? That’s still the equivalent of one man carrying an elephant. Come on, it’s still pretty impressive.
Even though the weight claim was debunked, Hercules beetles still hold the record for being the longest beetle.
The male species have an extended rostrum or horns that can actually be longer than its body size and a sign of their manliness. They use it to attract females as well as fight other males.
Because of their size and docile nature, these creatures are actually kept as pets. And can you believe that adult beetles are sold for as much as $500! Keep them in a cage or a terrarium, you wouldn’t want your mom to squash a bug you invested in.
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Look at how big the creature is!
Being one of the largest flying insects, Hercules beetles have larvae that can grow three to five inches long. Imagine having a larva that big! Just take a look at the before and after video below and find out!
No wonder they spend most of their life stage that way, comfy, and pampered, and fed. I wouldn’t mind being a Hercules beetle myself. Talk about easy living.
Assassin Bug: The Ninja Of The Insect World
Finally, the most devious one, aptly called assassin, this one is a real killer.
The creature features a mouth that pierces the bodies of its victim and releases digestive acid inside the body of the prey, eventually paralyzing and melting its insides—so far nobody has been convicted...
They have been known to kill creatures twice their size. Spiders are no match for their stealth attack, creeping quietly through the web and pretending that they were caught in it.
Sometimes, assassin bugs even coordinate their movements with the gust of the wind so that their victims won't have the slightest idea that they're about to attack.
Once they finished devouring their prey, these assassins take their victim's outer shell, not to acquire souvenirs as serial killers but to protect themselves from predators. They proudly wear it as an armor and camouflage.
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Aren’t you glad that they are just 4 to 40 millimeters long? If they evolved to the size of turtles, they could have taken over the earth!
Unfortunately, these creatures hunt at night, and they are called kissing bugs for a reason—not that they kiss you goodnight or give you cuddly hugs—it's because they are attracted to your warmth and smell that they bite your lips, eyes, and other soft tissues in your body.
Not a fun way to wake up in the middle of the night! Especially when they hide under mattresses and wait for you to sleep...
Most of the time their bites are harmless but you should still go to the doctor because they can cause Chagas disease and a fatal allergic reaction to those who are allergic to their saliva.
With all that being said, what makes these bugs better than any superhero? Their powers are real and they actually exist.
Have you ever seen any of these bugs?! Let us know.