Earth’s Biggest and Creepiest Insects
An adult Goliath beetle can easily reach almost 11.5 centimeters (4.5 inches) in length and weigh in at 57 grams (two ounces). Plus, they are insanely strong creatures who can lift approximately 850 times their own weight.
Goliath beetles have been around on our planet for about 300 million years. They like warm and humid conditions of rainforests, but they can also live outside of their natural habitat and even be kept as pets!
Source: Goliath beetle
Plain Nawab Caterpillar
This image shows one of the most peculiar caterpillars who could easily be mistaken for a whimsical Chinese dragon when enlarged through a camera lens.
However, its real-life size is pretty small so its dramatic features like horns, skin pattern and color could easily go unnoticed. Thanks to the sharp eyes of photographers, we can all marvel at the beauty and oddness of many caterpillars all over the globe.
Source: Life History of the Plain Nawab
The giant isopod, or Bathynomus giganteus, is the largest of 20 known species in the same genus.
Giant isopods can reach an enormous size of 19 to 35.5 centimeters (7.5 to over 14 inches) in length. Some records suggest that these creatures can be 76 centimeters (30 inches) long, so we couldn’t help but wonder: what do they eat?
Well, we looked for the answer and found out that giant isopods are carnivores which feed on dead animals they find at the bottom of the sea and slow-moving sponges.y
The Brazilian treehopper’s scientific name is Bocydium globular and its habitat is not really limited only to Brazil. It can be found in other South American regions, especially under glory bush leaves.
This particular image shows a model of a Brazilian treehopper made in 1953 by Alfred Keller, the sculptor who worked for the Museum of Natural History in Berlin. They all have these funny looking antennas on their heads, but their function remains a complete mystery among scientists.
The praying mantis resembles more of an alien species than an earthly creature, and sometimes even behave like one with its monstrous appetite. This incredible photo shows a mantis devouring a gecko. Even though it usually feeds on other insects, praying mantis can ambush and tackle larger prey too.
Its attack is often swift and stealthy which leaves very little chance for its intended victim to survive. Mantises use their long spiky front legs to catch and neutralize prey before eating it alive.
Cook Strait Giant Weta
One of many gigantic insects with scary-looking features is the Cook Strait giant weta or Deinacrida Rugosa. Its name, when translated from Latin, literally means “terrible grasshopper” even though they are not terrible nor harmful at all. The Cook Strait weta, unlike a grasshopper, can’t jump.
It is simply too heavy both for jumping and flying, so all of these wetas are totally earth-bound. The giant weta is native to New Zealand, but it had been thought to be extinct from the mainland for over a century.
Assassin bugs have a pretty nasty name that matches their character. They are famous for their powerful hunting skills that include cunning ambush techniques and super deadly bites. One of the methods they use to set traps for their victims is with the use of the dead bodies of previous kills.
For example, some assassin bugs which feed on termites will hide among dead termites to draw new ones, while South Asian assassin bugs use tree resin to lure bees and use them as a quick bite.
Source: Assassin bug Facts
Everyone has heard about it, it looks very simple and plain at first sight, it has an ordinary name, but it’s absolutely fascinating. If you’re guessing tapeworms, you’re right.
These parasitic worms owe their name to their super thin, flat tape-like look and research suggests that tapeworms were around millions and millions of years before the dinosaurs. Yet they are still here today, living inside both animals and humans with no signs of going anywhere.
The giant katydid can reach 15 centimeters (six inches) in length (which adds to their slightly scary look), but they are actually very gentle creatures.
Like the rest of the katydid’s relatives, the giant version also has incredibly long antennae which they use to find food and, when the time is right, attract a mating partner. The males also have specific sound organs for emitting a mating call, just like crickets, which they also use to lure females.
Asian Giant Hornet
The Asian giant hornet is the largest and the most aggressive species of hornets on our planet. These hornets are called “giant” for a reason — they can be up to five centimeters (two inches) long with a 7.5 centimeter-wide (three inch) wingspan.
And that’s not the scariest part. The Asian giant hornet’s stinger is over half a centimeter long (about a quarter of an inch) and can be used more than once to inject incredibly strong venom into its victim.
Source: Asian giant hornet Facts
The scarab was once a holy beetle of Ancient Egypt, the embodiment of Kherpi, God of the Rising Sun that represented renewal, spiritual wisdom and even immortality. In reality, the scarab is a beetle that rolls in poop all day long and eats it.
It turns out that most scarabs are actually very picky poop eaters. Different kinds of scarabs feed on different dung and refuse to feed on unknown feces. They also only like it while it’s fresh and packed with nutrients, but also easy to roll into a ball that they’ll keep moving around.
The name of this species reveals how it hunts its prey, usually other insects. Instead of the typical web technique which most of the other spiders use, this one jumps, literally.
Unlike other leaping insects like grasshoppers, this little guy doesn’t really have leg muscles to help it jump. Instead, it uses blood flow to extend its legs to leap up to 50 times its body length. That might also explain how this baby spider ended up on its big brother’s head.
Source: Jumping Spider Fun Facts
The elephant beetle’s notable characteristic that also contributes to its size is a huge horn on this beetle’s head that can reach up to 5 centimeters (almost 2 inches) in adults. The largest size the elephant beetle can reach is up to 13 centimeters (just over 5 inches).
The horn can be found exclusively on the heads of the male members of this species, and they use it to fight with other males.
Source: Ox Beetle / Elephant Beetle
At first glance, this amazing creature looks like a snake — it has that typical snake-shaped head with a facial expression that says “I’m ready to attack!”
If you take a closer look, you may notice that its body is pretty short for a snake. That’s because this cunning creature is not a snake at all, but a caterpillar that is a keen mimic in order to scare its potential predators. It even knows how to imitate a snake’s body language, minus the fangs or venom.
Thorn bugs are another brilliant creature that has mastered the art of camouflage. Their bodies look exactly like the spiky parts of plants (like the thorns we can see on a rose stem), so when they climb a plant to feed on leaves they can avoid predators.
Thorn bugs use not only their shape but also colors to improve the deception. They use matching colors to blend in as much as they can with the plants they eat the most.
Source: Thorn Bug Facts: Lesson for Kids
Giant Wood Moth
The giant wood moth of Australia is a really impressive being with an amazing weight of up to 30 grams (one ounce). You have to admit, that’s pretty big for a bug.
How does this creature get so large? Thanks to an excellent appetite in its larvae stage that lasts for about a year, the adult giant wood moth reaches its incredible size even though it doesn’t feed at all during its rather short lifespan of only a few days.
Source: Giant Wood Moth
Amazonian Giant Centipede
The Amazonian giant centipede, also known by its Latin name Scolopendra gigantea, can grow over 30 cm (about 12 inches) in length. Its body is divided into 21 to 23 sections, and each section has its own pair of legs specialized for super-fast attacks.
The lethal weapon of this bad-tempered centipede is placed on its head in the form of a couple of antennae and a pair of extra legs with poisonous claws.
New Guinea Spiny Stick Insect
The New Guinea spiny stick insect is one more example of a bizarre bug that lives on our planet. The spiny stick insect often looks more like a branch of a tree than a beetle, with its elongated dark brown body and thick, thorny legs.
The adult males are particularly famous for growing the thorn-like features on their hind legs that contribute to the woody appearance. The weird thing is these insects don’t even live on trees or branches, but on the ground.
Source: New Guinea Spiny Stick Insect
Japanese Giant Hornet
The Japanese giant hornet, or Vespa Mandarinia Japonica in Latin, is a subspecies of the Asian giant hornet (Vespa Mandarinia), the largest hornet in the world. These huge insects don’t just look scary, they also have a horrible reputation of being a vicious killer of honeybees.
Sources state that a single Japanese giant hornet can kill approximately forty honeybees in just one minute, so we can only imagine what a whole group of these exterminators can do.
Madagascan Giant Water Bug
The Madagascan giant water bug belongs to a genus of Lethocerus, a family of giant water bugs which can be found in many tropical, subtropical and other warm areas of our planet, but mostly in the Americas.
They can vary in length, from an impressive 12 cm (4.7 inches) in South America to a bit more modest size of only 4.5 cm (less than 2 inches) and up to 9 cm (3.5 inches) elsewhere.
The robber fly is also known as an assassin fly due to its intimidating killing skills. This fearless predator is known for its fast flying speed and great vision that allows it to catch its prey mid-flight.
The robber fly family consists of approximately 5,000 different species whose size can vary from 0.5 cm (0.2 inches) to an impressive 5 cm (2 inches). These killers often attack larger insects than themselves. Their favorite treats include bees, wasps and dragonflies, which they neutralize with their poisonous sting.
Source: Robber Fly
Ticks are clearly not the biggest insects on the planet, but they are definitely some of the creepiest ones. They belong to the arachnid family, along with spiders, mites and scorpions.
Here’s what ticks undoubtedly also are — real little vampires who gladly suck the blood of every living being they end up on, even humans. Once they find their meal ticket, they tend to stay for days, firmly attached with their teeth deeply stuck in the host’s skin.
Source: Interesting Tick Facts
The antlion is generally known as the doodlebug, but the fact is it’s not really a bug. The antlion is a group name for the larval forms of over 2000 distinct species that belong to the Myrmeleontidae family. The name antlion comes from their tendency of feeding on ants.
They build traps in the ground by digging pits in the shape of a funnel where they sit at the bottom waiting for prey to fall in. Once it does, the antlion grabs it and sucks the life out of it.
Source: Antlion (doodlebug)
Horsehair worms are one of the most frightening types of parasites from the Nematomorpha family that can be found across the globe. They usually live inside other insects, like crickets or grasshoppers, until they completely suck the life out of them before they move on to another host.
That’s not even the creepiest part. These hair-raising worms attack the brain of their hosts too and zombify them to act at “worms’ will”, especially in seeking out water which they need to lay their eggs.
With their outrageously long legs, huntsman spiders are a pretty terrifying sight to see. The average size of a huntsman spider is about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in length, but its leg span can reach almost 13 cm (5 inches).
Some of the giant types can even spread their legs up to 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter which officially makes them the biggest spiders on the planet, at least diameter-wise.
Meet Leucochloridium Paradoxum, a parasite known for turning its victims into zombies. This horror-inducing creature usually invades a snail through tiny bird poop bites full of Leucochloridium Paradoxum’s eggs that garden snails like to eat.
Soon the eggs become larvae that take over the snail and head for its eye tentacles, but only to attract the attention of a bird to eat the snail. The bird becomes a living host for another round of Leucochloridium Paradoxum reproduction and then poops the resulting eggs, ensuring a new cycle.
The Atlas moth is another fascinating insect famous for its stunning multicolored wings that can reach up to 30.5 centimeters (12 inches) when fully spread. Even its cocoon is so big (over seven centimeters, or three inches long) that people in Taiwan use them as purses or wallets.
There are several theories about the origin of their name, including its wings patterns resembling geological structures or the Greek god Atlas, whose formable size had him carrying the weight of the world.
Giant Prickly Stick Insect
This weird-looking being is native to Australia, but due to its very exotic appearance, the prickly stick bug can be found all over the world living as pets in terrariums.
Females are almost twice the size of males and grow deadly thorn-like spikes to defend themselves from predators. On the other hand, the much smaller male stick bugs lack the spikes but have a pair of beautifully long and completely functioning wings.
It might look frightening, but the wheel bug actually does humankind some favors by feasting on other bugs that can run afoul of us. This member of the unofficial ‘assassin’ insect gang uses a sharp beak to punch a hole into its victim’s body and releasing its saliva that eats its guts.
Plant lovers look to the wheel bug as a glimmer of salvation, at least in the garden, since it preys on insects that usually feast on whatever it might be they’re trying to grow.
Source: Wheel Bug
Native to Central and South America, the thirteen varieties of the Hercules beetle stick close to rainforests and jungles where it can use the forest floor as camouflage as it searches for food.
As to expected, this beetle is big. Some have been spotted as large as 18 centimeters (seven inches) in length, and that combined with a substantial set of pincers sticking out of its head makes it a little intimidating to get close to.
Source: Hercules Beetle
The Praying Mantis Bird Attack Phenomenon
We already know that praying mantises are very voracious predators, but an image of one devouring a hummingbird is still a disturbing sight. Mantises usually feed on other insects, but when the opportunity presents they will attack much bigger prey including frogs, snakes and smaller bird species.
This surprising phenomenon has been recorded in many parts of the world ever since 1864. There were 147 documented cased of similar attacks in 13 different countries.
There are approximately 8000 different species of centipedes living all over the world, even in regions near the Arctic Circle. Most can be found in shady, moist places deep in forests or in the savannas and prairies, but some centipede species occupy urban areas too.
Regardless of where you live, a sight like this one with a huge centipede and its babies curled up in a bucket is not something you should expect to see every day.
Wolf spiders are pretty terrifying-looking creatures that can be found in remote regions all over the world. Still, they are not an unusual sight in urban areas too, especially in Australia where this photo was taken.
It shows a huge female wolf spider and her offspring living in an electricity meter. Female wolf spiders carry their eggs on their abdomens until the spiderlings hatch and then move onto their mom’s back for another few weeks before they start hunting for themselves.
Source: Wolf Spiders
Trapdoor spiders are nocturnal insects that spend most of their time hidden in the soil, building traps for their prey. Unlike many other spider species, this one doesn’t shoot a web but instead digs holes in the ground to wait for other creatures to crawl in before they stab them with their sharp fangs.
They usually feed on other insects, but if a frog, baby bird, mouse or even a snake find their way into a trap they also make an excellent meal for these predators.
Source: Trapdoor Spider
These long black insects known as millipedes are some of the oldest creatures Earth. Fossilized remains indicate that the species can be traced upwards of 420 million years ago. It’s absolutely fascinating that these creatures are still around, fulfilling their role in breaking down animal and plant waste.
Their natural surroundings are dark, damp places like leaf piles and compost, but sometimes they find their way in into our homes too.
Scorpions are notorious for the potent and often deadly venom they use either to paralyze and kill their prey or to defend themselves from other predators, but that’s not the only thing that makes these creatures fascinating. The way they hatch their offspring is also intriguing.
Rather than producing eggs, female scorpions deliver their babies live. Some scorpion species actually develop within a membrane and live on their mother’s back, where they remain protected and safe until they molt.
The botfly is a parasitic fly that cannot complete its life cycle without a suitable host for its larvae, and the images of their victims can be both alarming and disturbing. This one shows a poor little bird affected by these parasites.
Botflies, also known as warble flies, are recognizable by their hairy, striped bodies. They look like a flying robot hybrid of a house fly and a bumblebee because of their reflective hairs that give them a metallic-like appearance.
Source: Fascinatingly Gross Botfly Facts
With over 100,000 different varieties wasps are a very important species in many of our planet’s ecosystems. That doesn’t make them any less of a frightening predator, especially those which lay their eggs inside of other insects.
This image shows a cereal leaf beetle, an unfortunate victim of a parasitoid wasp. Eggs were laid inside this bug and when they hatched they started feeding on the still-living beetle before they burst out and killed the poor thing.
Living in the Amazon rain forest, you might be forgiven if you went on a trip in search of the titan beetle and missed it, considering the amount of cover it has in its natural surroundings. When uncovered, it’s impossible not to take your eyes off it.
Considered to be the world’s largest beetle, the titan can reach lengths of up to 16.7 cm (6.6 inches). It’s intimidating-looking, emits a loud hiss and there are reports of them being able to snap pencils in half with their mandibles.
It is estimated that of the roughly 44,500 spider species on the planet, tarantulas make up only two percent of their numbers. So why is it they stand out for so many people?
It doesn’t help their case that some tarantulas, like the Goliath birdeater, has a leg span of 30 centimeters (almost 12 inches). They also liquify their prey in their stomach, throw the pasty mixture up and then suck it down again, just to help push the gross factor.