A captivating world of creepy crawlies exists all around us. And they are the biggest group of animals in the world, outnumbering humans 200 million to one. Thanks to millions of years of evolution, these invertebrates not only survive in almost every landscape known to man, but also thrive by means of fascinating, and sometimes bizarre adaptations.
Despite their tiny size, it’s crazy how clever and inventive insects can be. From amazing camouflage skills to gravity-defying jumping abilities, here’s our take on the 20 most incredible insects found on Earth. Meet some of the miniature miracle-workers that help keep our world running.
Man-faced Stink Bug: The man-faced stink bug, Catacanthus incarnatus, is a fairly common bug that first appeared in New Horizons. It can be found during spring, summer, and fall crawling around on top of flowers from evening until mid-morning. Look for the very distinctive colours of the bug, and especially the two sets of paired spots on the scutellum and forewings. Their distribution are restricted. Africa (Madagascar), South and Southeast Asia, Oceania. It is recorded from New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea.
Male Madagascar bullseye moth: Antherina suraka, the Madagascar bullseye moth, is a species originating from – who would have guessed – Madagascar. It is often seen in butterfly houses and in the insect hobby scene, for the moths have a nice appearance and are easy to breed without a lot of effort and are willing to eat convenient plants. Both larvae and adults are variable, having multiple colour forms and variations. They have the ability to move their hindwings independently from their forewings if startled in order to show off their eyespots in a rocking motion, something that may startle or discourage predators from attacking them. The evolutionary lineage of Antherina suraka is relatively unique and seems to have split off from Bunaeini/Urotini when Madagascar broke free from the continent of Africa – it’s only relative is Ceranchia apollina, that shares the same lineage and is regarded as a “cousin” of A. suraka. although yet very different in appearance and ecology.
Picasso Bug: Sphaerocoris annulus, commonly known as the Picasso bug, is found in the grasslands of tropical Africa. The bug with the loud pattern is actually quite small – about the size of an iPhone home button. When biologists first saw this shield-backed insect it reminded them of something the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) may have created, hence the name. Although these tiny creatures are appealing to look at, they do have one drawback – they stink. When threatened, they will emit a pungent odour to ward off attackers. Looks can be deceiving.
Mirror Spider: This spider’s decorative patterning may seem like a dead give away to predators. But for those looking to feast on the arachnid, a species in the genus Thwaitesia, the hunt might result in confusion and failure. “Like a disco ball with lots of different mirrors,” reflective splotches on this spider’s abdomen probably “scatter light and make it difficult for predators to see it,” says Robert Whyte, an honorary researcher in arachnology at the Queensland Museum, who’s currently co-authoring a field guide to Australian spiders.
Comet moth or Madagascan moon moth: The comet moth gets its name from its long, fluttering hindwings. Look closely at the eyespots on its wings—they’re intricate studies in color, and critical to the moth’s defense. When threatened, the comet moth can quickly open its wings. The sudden appearance of “eyes” may startle predators or redirect the attack away from the moth’s more vulnerable body parts.
Spiny Flower Mantis: The spiny Flower Mantis, or Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii, is a beautiful and colorful flower mantis. They are white with orange and green stripes, and as adults they have a beautiful patch of color on their wings that looks like an eye. This species of praying mantis has its natural range in sub-Saharan Africa. Read all about caring for Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii mantises in this caresheet. This species is cannibalistic, like most species of praying mantis. It will eat anything that moves and is the correct size, also members of its own species or family members. Young nymphs (up to L4) can be kept together, but the older they are the more likely they will eat each other.
Weevil (Pachyrhynchus chlorites): Pachyrhynchus have aposematic coloration. They are flightless, with completely fused elytra. The eggs are inserted into plant tissues. The larvae will then develop and feed inside the stems of the host plants. The pattern of diversification in this genus suggests stepping-stone dispersal. It is hypothesized that these flightless insects disperse from one island to another by rafting on their host plants. This could be facilitated by the wood-boring life-style of the eggs and larvae, as well as the air cavity under the fused elytra that help adults to float. However, experiments with Pachyrhynchus jitanasaius suggest that survival of adults in water—fresh, brackish, or marine—is low (most died within 12 hours, and no individual survived longer than 40 hours). On the other hand, the larvae living in Barringtonia asiatica fruit is higher, with a fraction of larvae surviving six days of sea water exposure and successfully emerging as adults. This suggests that the eggs and larvae are the primary dispersive stages in Pachyrhynchus.
Tacua speciosa – Cicada Mania: The Tacua speciosa is a beautiful cicada native to the countries Malaysia & Indonesia, and the islands Borneo & Sumatra, and likely other islands and nations of the area. Tacua speciosa are well known for their large size, opaque wings, black body, striking yellow/chartreuse pronotal collar, red cruciform elevation, and cyan or yellow tergites. There are two subspecies. The name speciosa comes from the Latin word “specios” which means beautiful or showy.
White Ghost Cicada: A stunning White Ghost Cicada cicada in a handmade deep wooden frame mounted on high-quality acid-free conservation board. The latin and common names are printed underneath the specimen. The Ayuthia is a genus of cicada, a family of large flying insects. This stunning ghost white cicada has milky white wings with a hint of green blue colour at the base. The specimen that you will receive may differ in size, shape or colour very slightly since you are purchasing a natural product.