27 May

Insect Encounters of the Third Kind

They’re creepy, crazy and downright insane. It’s time for extraterrestrials to step aside, because insects are the true masters of the universe. With fantastic adaptations, they can be found in nearly every environment. The number of insects flying, hopping, digging or crawling throughout the world is estimated to be ten quintillion (the number ten followed by eighteen zeroes). With that much diversity, some bugs are so bizarre they might as well prove that alien life exists.

Out of this World Appearance

The word alien brings up images of creatures, so strange in appearance that they can only be from another world. The same could be said of the treehopper. Through time and evolution, their pronotum has developed into thorns and horns that aid in camouflage. There’s nothing strange about insect camo, however some species of treehopper have taken it to the extreme. Displaying odd growths that look like helicopter blades and horseshoes, the treehopper can give any science fiction writer pause. One of the most shocking shapes resembles a planetary mobile. If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and thought a pimple was bad, imagine a miniature model of the solar system growing out of your head. Scientists speculate that the purpose of the hopper’s unusual objects is to make it harder for predators to eat. Whether it’s for camouflage or nibbling deterrent, the treehopper’s head is out-of-this-world creepy.

Treehoppers

Attacking Technology

What better way for aliens to gain control over the human population than to destroy our computers, phones and other devices. Ever heard the term crazy is my middle name? Meet the rasberry crazy ant; invasive to Texas and they do indeed attack electronics. Why they love microchips is a mystery. It could be something about the flow of electricity, the magnetic fields, the warmth or a combination of all three. Whatever the reason, rasberry crazy ants find their way into cell phones, computers and I pads. If an ant is electrocuted it releases an alarm pheromone and the whole colony begins to attack the inner components causing it to short circuit, or trip the breaker. In minutes your TV is toast.

What do you get when you Mix a Scorpion, a Mayfly and an Elephant?

Extraterrestrial abductions come with stories ripe with experimentation. With a patchwork of body parts, the insane form of the scorpion fly must be a result of alien alterations. With wings set upright, the body resembles an ordinary mayfly. Its tail looks like it was stolen from a scorpion and sown on. The head has the eyes of a fly, yet supports a long trunk. Flying, stinging scorpions would have been a great way for aliens to control the world, except the scorpion fly is harmless. It eats vegetation and dead insects. Its tail is similar to scorpions in appearance alone. Lucky for us, the fly doesn’t sting.

color image scorpionfly

If you want to see aliens, a trip in a spaceship isn’t necessary. Just step out into your backyard and take a look at our six and eight legged neighbors. Bugs define creepy, crazy and insane.

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