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10 Insect Facts That Make You Think

Whether you like them or not, insects are all around us. They even take up residence in our homes. Before we get totally dismissive of insects, it is well worth the effort to consider some insect facts that can really make you think.

The following are only 10 of thousands of interesting insect facts you may not be aware of.

#1 Amazing Number of Insects

There are far more individual insects than there are all other animals combined. This isn't the same thing as the previous point. Put in another way and speaking of ants alone, the total weight of all the ants in the world far exceeds the total weight of all the people on the earth.

In fact, there are so many ants on Earth that scientists estimate that there are over 10,000,000,000,000,000 ants. With a world population of humans of over 7 billion, that means that there are in excess of one and a half million ants for every man, woman, and child in the world.

Incidentally, ants also don't sleep.

#2 Worldwide Distribution of Insects

Insects are incredibly wide-spread. There are insects that live on every continent, including Antarctica. In fact, mosquitoes alone can be found from the tropics to the tundra and from lowlands to high in the mountains.

#3 Ancient Insects

Insects have been around for an incredibly long time. Scientists have found an imprint of a type of insect that lived over 300 million years ago. The insect was a dragonfly, and it looked very much like a dragonfly of today, except it was far larger. It had a wingspan of just under three feet. Dragonflies eat other insects, so it is a safe assumption that there were plenty of other insects alive at the time, to be preyed upon by this monstrosity.

    • I would, too. Then again, I’m not in the slightest bit bothered by dragonflies and sometimes have them land on me. I would definitely notice if a dragonfly this large landed on me!

#4 Insect Gender-Inequality

Many people know that only female mosquitoes drink blood. They need the protein-rich blood in order to lay eggs. Probably what fewer people might know is that only male crickets make chirping sounds. They do this to attract female crickets.

Cricket chirps can also be used as a thermometer, too. Simply count the number of chirps a cricket makes in 15 seconds and add 37. The number this results in will be a reasonably accurate temperature in Fahrenheit degrees.

Another bit of gender inequality; only male fireflies can fly.

#5 Lots and Lots of Beetles

Of all the known kinds of insect species, about 40% of them are beetles. That is nearly 400,000 species and counting.

#6 Radioactive Insects

Insects are incredibly resistant to high levels of radiation. Studies done by Oregon State University showed that some species of ants and cockroaches could survive when exposed to radiation levels that were 10 to 100 times the amount that would be lethal to humans. This means that in an all-out nuclear war, insects would likely survive long after mankind disappeared.

#7 Not All Insects Are Light As Flies

As annoying as houseflies are, they don't weigh very much. It would take about 12 million of them to weigh a pound.

Flies also have a developed sense of taste, but they taste with their feet.

Though flies weigh very little, there is an insect that is related to crickets which live in New Zealand that can weigh over a pound. The insect is called a giant weta and a smallish one is pictured here.

#8 Hungry Mouths

A plague of locusts isn't something that should ever be joked about. Locusts are ravenous and will eat virtually anything they can eat, including flesh, though they are more likely to eat plants. A good-sized swarm of locusts can eat over 50,000 tons of corn in one day and have been known to strip fields and trees bare of leaves in a short time.

    • That is part of their insatiable appetite when they swarm. Flesh isn’t the normal food for grasshoppers and the like, but they do have chewing mouthparts and when they are in a feeding frenzy, watch out!

#9 Where Insects Aren’t

The only place on Earth that insects don't live in on or in the open ocean. Scientists aren't sure exactly why this is. There are many species of aquatic insects, yet none of them live in the middle of the ocean.

These are just some of the interesting facts about insects that people might not be aware of. Be truthful; did this make you think?

#10 The Most Successful Animals

No other group of animals on Earth is more successful than insects. There are over one and a half million known species of animal on this planet, with more being discovered daily. Of the 1.5 million + species, over 1 million of them are insects. In other words, there are twice as many kinds of insects as there are species of all other animals on the planet, combined.

Further, it is believed that there are about 10 million species of animals on Earth, counting those that haven't been discovered yet. Of those, 9 million are suspected to be insects.


What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove