Investigating the most dangerous members and bizarre tales of the bug world!
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Japanese Giant Hornets
Regular hornets are bad enough, but be glad if you’ve never encountered one of these. It shoots poisonous acid, usually aimed at your eyes, which can melt human flesh. The acid also has chemicals in it that will attract surrounding hornets—not fun. Japanese Giant Hornets can also fly over 80 kilometres in a day, so outrunning them might be a little difficult.
Measuring 2.54 centimetres long, these fearsome ants are very protective of their hives, which are located in trees. Before a bullet ant attacks, it will let out a terrifying shriek, after which it will sting you, a feeling that has been likened to being shot with a bullet. The pain from the sting is said to wear off only after 24 hours.
Zombies aren’t just fictional: they actually exist in some form in the insect world and may have existed for millions of years. The recent discovery of a 48-million-year-old leaf fossil revealed scars that match the bite marks of modern ants that have been infected by a parasitic fungus. Known as Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, this fungus forces an ant to bite the major veins of leaves before it dies, after which the fungus will grow a stalk from the unfortunate ant’s head so that it can infect more victims.
There are many different species of assassin bugs, but most prey on mosquitoes, flies, beetles and other pests. Some do this by paralyzing and injecting toxins into their victims liquefy their insides. This makes it easier for assassin bugs to devour them.
Giant Camel Spiders
During the Iraq War, these spiders became the stuff of urban legend after stories claimed that they were aggressive bloodsuckers, half the size of a grown man, with an appetite for the flesh of humans and other large mammals. Since the war, studies have shown that they aren’t quite as vicious or as large, but they can still run up to 10 MPH and use their powerful jaws to chop their victims.
Heaviest Spider: Goliath Bird-Eating Spider
Max weight: 175 grams
Biggest Scorpion: Emperor Scorpion
Max weight: 60+ grams
Heaviest Bug: Giant Water Bug
Max weight: 25 grams
Heaviest Cockroach: Rhinoceros Cockroach
Max weight: 33.45 grams
Longest Insect: Chan’s Megastick
Max body length: 357 millimetres
Biggest Butterfly: Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing Butterfly
Max wingspan: 273 millimetres