Ready to see 5 cool insects from around the world? Most of us are not big fans of the enormous population of insects. We think of these little weird guys as nothing but repulsive pests. We will even go out of our way to purchase bug repellents to keep them far away from us. Nevertheless, there are ambitious scientists who love learning about some of their most incredible functions.
It is time to share some of the coolest tiny animals that roam our globe. Though some have skills that will impress you, others just look amazing. You may think of all insects as hideous, but after seeing these 5, you may find one or two to be beautiful (of course, for an insect). We are also going to share a sound sample from an insect that is recognized for its unique sounds. Let’s get started.
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Cool-Looking Insects With Amazing Functions
#1 Tettigonia Viridissima
Tettigonia viridissima (also called the Great Green Bush-Cricket) is a species of ‘katydids crickets’ and can be seen from Europe to Mongolia. They can be found in meadows, grasslands, prairies and even gardens. These little guys (both male and female) don’t even reach two inches long. However, what makes them unique is their immensely long and thin antennae. They can reach all the way up to three times the length of its body. This is quite the opposite of grasshoppers, which carry short antennae. Unlike many grasshoppers, the Tettigonia viridissima is active day and night. This means if you are stuck with one outside of your window, you may be dealing with never-ending singing.
#2 Colorful Grasshoppers From Madagascar
With currently about 11,000 known species of grasshopper on Earth, there is a good chance you will find some that are colorful. This is because typically, it is the environment that determines a grasshopper’s color. For example, species adapted to green fields will usually camouflage to blend in and keep away from predators. You will find other species that have adapted to environments that are sandy and dry. Their color will mix in with the sand and dry dirt. The above image shows a colorful grasshopper from Madagascar. It has colors that help it to blend in with its environment.
Sounds From The Cicada
Sample #1: A Single Cicada Calling
Sample #2: Cicada Song
Did you listen to the two sound samples above? They are samples of sounds from one of the most-widely recognized of all insects. They are from the Cicada. Cicadas (around 2,500 described species) are insects in the superfamily Cicadoidea. They live in temperate-to-tropical climates. They are widely recognized for their unique sound and large size (2-5 centimeters long in most species).
A unique part about some species of cicada is their unusual ability to cool themselves. Unlike sweating in mammals, they will cool themselves by evaporative cooling. Interestingly, if it gets a little too cold, there are other species of cicadas that can voluntarily raise their body temperatures as high as 22.1 °C (39.8 °F) above ambient temperature. Wouldn’t these two skills be great to have?
Cicadas have more than just one pair of eyes. In fact, they actually have five total. On the sides of their head, they have prominent eyes that are set noticeably far apart. Between the two large eyes and on top of the head are three smaller eyes (also called ocelli). All five eyes are the same color.
The Many Eyes Of The Cicada
#4 Conehead Mantis
Empusa pennata (also known as the conehead mantis) is a species of praying mantis in the genus Empusa. The insect is commonly found in Spain as well as parts of Portugal, France, Lebanon, Greece and Central and Southern Italy. They definitely look a bit strange with their very large and thin body. For flying, they are equipped with a good pair of wings and light body mass. To capture their prey and also protect themselves from the danger of predators, they will often camouflage.
To attract an individual from the opposite sex, Empusa pennata will secrete a sex pheromone (chemical factor that triggers a social response). Their chemical secretion is an adaptation that was derived from sexual selection. Mantis can eat crickets that are of 50% their own body weight.
#5 Australian Walking Stick
Extatosoma tiaratum (other known names: Australian Walking Stick, Giant Prickly Stick Insect, Spiny Leaf Insect and Macleay’s Spectre) are a species of large stick insects and are found in Australia.
The female adults are very long and can grow all the way to around 5 to 8 inches long. They are covered with thorn-like spikes. Although the females do have wings, they are too small for flying.
Male E. tiaratum are thinner and grow to only around 11 cm long. Unlike females, the males only have the thorny spikes around their faces. They also have wings that are long enough for flying.
Both sexes have an interesting defense mechanism. Although they are unable to bite and sting, they do have other defenses. To scare off predators, both male and females will make themselves look like a scorpion. They will stand on their front and middle legs while pointing their abdomen up or to the side. Of course, most predators don’t want a sting from a scorpion. If a predator is not fooled and comes into direct contact with their abdomen, they will fold back their legs to defend themselves. Adults can also release a defensive odor similar to peanut butter, toffee or vinegar.
Another View Of The Spiny Leaf Insect
More Of The Coolest Insects
Though many of us are big animal lovers, most of us find those little insects to be disgusting, obtuse and a big nuisance. Still, we all have to live with them. After all, they do comprise the most numerous and diverse group of animals on Earth (scientists have identified over 925,000 species).
So after seeing our list of 5 cool insects, which one do you think is the most impressive? You may be impressed with their exceedingly special capabilities or unusual appearance. You may like the unique sounds of the cicada, or the amazing appearance of the conehead mantis. If you are one that has always looked at insects as ugly, are there any here that may have changed your mind?