There’s a LOT of insects in our world and each of them has their uniqueness or a rare ability and behavior that will surprise you. As you might already know nature is a beautiful thing and they like to create all kinds of things to make the world balance. But have you ever wonder how far can it go? Well, this blog will give you a grasp of the incredible insect around the world that will make you want to know more about our world and nature!
From the list, you might find some familiar faces or not that you already know their existence or maybe know their cousin. These insects will show you how one life adapts and evolve to survive in the world and how far can evolution really goes.
1. Black bean aphid (Aphis fabae)
Aphids are one of the worse nightmares for your garden. They can infest overnight to take down your garden in no time. They pierce leaves and stems with their stylet, and suck out sugary sap leaving the plant yellow and wilted. This insect is highly skilled at reproducing most of the year female aphids giving live young instead of laying eggs which differs from most other insects. So why this insect can infest your garden overnight if they only give birth to live young? An aphid mom can push out five or six nymphs a day and she doesn’t even need to find a mate to do it. Most of the time, they just clone themselves. The wild part is that the babies are born already pregnant! In a week or two, they’ll start giving birth to clones of their own. So that’s mean it only takes a single aphid to overwhelm your greenhouse or garden. When their food runs out aphid adapt and starting to produce a different kind of clone.
See those light gray shoulder pads on the one on the right? They unfurl into wings. Winged clone called alates they look different, but they’re still genetically identical to their mothers.
When they’re ready, the alates fly to search out new plants to colonize. Aphids usually gather in a big group so of cause it will attract some hunters around the area like a ladybug or other predators. So some aphid make a deal with ants! Yes, ants, the ants treat aphids like dairy cows, looking after them and guarding them from predators when the ants are thirsty, they tap on the aphids with their antennae, these ants are looking for a sugary waste that produces from the aphid.
So is there anything that can stop this insect? Well, some gardeners use oil or insecticides. Some even use other insect larvae or use parasites like wasps.
2. Long-horned beach hoppers (Megalorchestia californiana)
Beach hoppers are also known as sand hoppers, these crustaceans are as small as an ant or as large as a cricket. Their eyes are made up of hundreds of cells called “ommatidia”, but they don’t see much detail just blurry shapes, light, and dark. They’re drawn towards shadowy blobs on the horizon and hope to find their favorite food Kelp. When they find it, they eat and eat. Sometimes they even eat one another. For protection, this little fellow dig burrows about a foot deep where the sand is damp and cool. The males will fight over control of burrows, especially there are females inside. Deep in the night, the beach hopper acrobatics build into a dazzling show. A powerful flick of their curled-up tail launches them skyward. A beach hopper can jump as high as your knees, dozens of times the length of its body.
It’s a quick way to travel toward food or mates. Or to get out of harm’s way. Beach hoppers’ diets are mostly beach wrack anything natural that washes ashore. Wrack is an essential source of nutrients for sandy beach ecosystems. This insect breaks down the wrack into smaller parts. It’s the first step in sending nutrients into the food chain. When predators like shorebirds or insects eat beach hoppers, they can carry these nutrients further inland. Without these hungry acrobats, beaches the world over would be strewn with rotting seaweed. After a night they leave only silhouettes behind. As the sun rises, the beach hopper retreat to their burrows, just beyond the tide’s reach to rest.
3. The Aedes aegypti mosquito
This mosquito is very dangerous like super dangerous because of its incredibly resilient eggs, this Aedes aegypti mosquito needs human blood. The bite could give you an agonizing case of dengue fever. Or transmit the Zika virus, which can endanger babies in the womb. It feeds during the day. While other mosquitos live in the forest, this one thrives where humans are. Aedes aegypti females lay their eggs wherever water accumulates around our homes. Her antennae can guide her to even the tiniest pockets of water. Many mosquitoes lay their eggs directly on the water’s surface, all at once in a clump. But not for this Aedes aegypti. She lays an egg everywhere, carefully gluing each one above the waterline.
The eggs need to stay moist for the first three days to develop. At the same time, they darken and harden. Their outside layer, the chorion, turns into a thick protective shell. The eggs end up looking a lot like dirt. And they’re amazingly hardy. Unlike many mosquitoes’ eggs, which die out without water, these can stay viable for up to half a year. It’s an incredible way to survive a drought and to spread around the world. When the eggs meet water again like when it rains or someone fills the pot or where the egg lays tiny larvae hatch. A special waxy layer kept them from drying out inside. Before you know it there will be a larvae party. That’s why the best way to keep dengue mosquitoes from making a home in yours is to empty standing water every week. If not, the larvae will flourish breathing through their siphons, diving for food.
4. Wormlion (Vermileo comstocki)
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This little creature came straight out of science fiction, the wormlion set up a sandpit and wait to ambushes prey. To build it they slink below the surface pushing through dirt, sand, and rocks. They’ll fling them out of the way as they get settled into their shallow pit. Then it just lies in wait. It’s almost invisible camouflaged by the sand stuck to its body. When the prey falls into its trap the wormlion strikes like a cobra, injecting venom into its prey to paralyze it. It constricts the prey, dragging it under until it’s all over. When the wormlion is done feeding their food, it flicks the empty carcass away and tidies up its pit for its next meal. After a couple of years of their life, the wormlion will leave their pit behind and take to the skies.
Because apparently, it’s not a worm at all. It’s a fly larva. It’ll turn into a fly that lives for less than a week. Its only job is to mate and lay eggs. But for most of its life, it’s sitting pretty in its pit, waiting for lunch to fall right in its lap.
5. Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) / Madagascar hissing cockroach mite (Androlaelaps schaeferi)
Madagascar hissing cockroach mite is a cockroach mite that lives its entire life on the cockroach. But these hitchhikers are doing a lot more good than you might think. The mites are only found on one type of cockroach which is “Madagascar hissing cockroach” which are known for their hiss. They hiss when disturbed or looking for a mate. They only live in the Madagascar rainforest on an island off the coast of Africa and they’re bigger than the cockroaches you might find in your kitchen. Other cockroaches will eat anything: food scraps, poop, trash, anything. As a result, they can spread disease or trigger allergies. Hissing cockroaches are detritivores they mainly eat decaying leaves, tidying up the forest floor. They can even be kept as pets because they’re more docile than their common cousins and more importantly, they’re a lot cleaner thanks to a permanent population of tiny housekeepers. The mites crowd together in “the crevices” places where the cockroach can’t brush them off. They get their meals near the cockroach’s head, gobbling up the food bits and saliva that the cockroach leaves behind.
When they get thirsty, they head to “the spiracles” the openings the cockroach uses to breathe. The mites get water vapor from them. The mites live on a single roach unless they get passed on from roach parent to roach baby. They’re doing these cockroaches a favor. By cleaning up the old food and debris, the mites help keep them free of mold and pathogens potentially extending the roaches’ lives. Both a hissing cockroach and its mites have the same important job: keeping the world a little bit neater.
So now you saw a few of these amazing evolution that one life can go and adapt their way to survive in this world. There still a TONS of creature with incredible ability out there wait to be found that can make you jaw drop by how many crazy and wild thing that nature can create. I wish this blog can make you want to learn more about our world and nature by at least just a little more than before. As you might know these things doesn’t only apply to wildlife in the forest but it also apply to the ocean too! According to the scientist we discovered only 5% of the ocean, which leaves 95% of the ocean still waiting to be explore and who know what we going to find deep in the big ocean!