31 Jul

Big, Bizarre, Beastly Bugs

Insects come in all shapes and sizes and can be found in nearly every habit on earth. The sheer number of insects is staggering. Scientists estimate that for every one person on earth, there are 170 million bugs. Most insects are small and can be thwarted with a rolled up newspaper or a well-aimed shoe; yet, there are bugs big enough to make anyone scream. Here a few of the biggest bugs that roam planet earth.

Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly

You know it’s big when the thing can be compared to a bird. The Birdwing Butterfly has a wing span that is nearly a foot in length. That’s longer than your favorite water bottle! These butterflies are strong flyers and come out to drink nectar at dawn and dusk. The first person to catch one was Albert Stewart Meek in 1906 and he had to use a small shotgun to do it. Don’t expect to see a Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly zipping around your yard; first, they can only be found in Papua New Guinea and second, they’re endangered.

Giant Carnivorous Centipede

Our next contestant has a body length of over 11 inches, has 46 gripping legs, and comes equipped with venom delivering pincers. This critter is nearly blind, but its antennae can pick up the smallest vibrations. Carnivorous is a great way to describe the Giant Centipede, it will eat just about anything. Insects, mice, spiders, frogs, lizards, and even bats are all on its menu. When catching bats, the centipede climbs to the top of cave and secures itself to the ceiling with a few rear legs. The rest of its body hangs in the open air, ready to grab the next victim. You don’t need to worry; Giant Centipede venom isn’t fatal to humans. To prey, their bite is deathly potent. Their venom contains pain inducers and proteases that can slow and stop a heart. After the death bite, Giant Centipedes use their sharp pincers to shred and cut their meal into bite sized pieces.

Giant Water Bug

Unlike the butterfly and centipede, you can find the Giant Water Bug in a nearby stream. If you’re scared of swimming, the Giant Water Bug isn’t going to help. Their nickname is the toe bitter. If you get bit–rest assured–you’re not going to die; however, feel free to panic because their bite has been identified as one of the most painful. Giant Water Bugs need their venom to be potent; they catch and consume larger prey such as fish, frogs, even snakes. Their bite debilitates the prey and turns their insides into jelly. The Water Bug then slurps up the liquefied innards with its straw-like mouth. In a bizarre twist, male Water Bugs are exceptional dads. Females cement eggs on the male’s back. Father Water Bugs protect the eggs until they hatch.

Next time a massive, strange bug comes wandering across your kitchen floor, before you go for the nearest shoe; just remember in a world dominated by bugs, you are outnumbered.

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