Insects! Some people hate them, some fear them and an increasing number of people even eat them. Do you know how many trips a honeybee needs to make to produce just one pound of honey? Do insects breathe through their mouths or somewhere else? Here are some amazing facts about insects that will astound you!
1) The first creatures sent into space were fruit flies.
2) A bee may travel over 60 miles in one day in the search for food.
3) The oldest known fossil of an insect is of a springtail and dates back over 400 million years. That’s about 170 million years before the arrival of dinosaurs.
4) About 60 million trips are required by the honeybee to gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey.
5) Dragonflies have been around for over 300 million years. The largest known insect was an ancient dragonfly called Meganeuropsis that lived around 250 million years ago and had a wingspan of over 2.5 feet!
6) Many insects replace the water in their bodies with a chemical called glycerol to survive the winter.
7) With over 380,000 species, beetles are the most biodiverse group of creatures known.
8) Insects are found on every continent including Antarctica where the wingless midge (Belgica antarctica) lives.
9) Insects do not breathe through their mouths, but through holes on their sides called spiracles.
10) The strongest insect is the dung beetle (Onthophagus taurus). It can pull almost 1,200 times its own body weight.
11) Jerry Butler, an emeritus professor of entomology, recorded a male horsefly going over 90 miles per hour – that’s the fastest insect on record!
12) Weighing in at over one pound is the giant weta from New Zealand.
13) The thought of eating insects might gross you out, but it’s common to eat insects in many countries, such as in Thailand. In the United States, the FDA standard allows less than 60 insect parts per 100 grams of food.
14) Scientists discover more than seven thousand new species of insects every year!
15) The renowned biologists Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson estimated that there are about ten quadrillion ants on the planet at any given moment. Given the current population of Earth, that’s over one million ants per human.
“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
— E. O. Wilson