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Extension > Youth Development > Minnesota 4-H > Projects > Environmental & Earth Science > Entomology > Bug Camp > Trivia

Yellow Medicine County Bug Camp Trivia

Heaviest insect

The heaviest known insects are the Goliath beetles of equatorial Africa. One fully grown male was found to weigh 3.5 ounces. (almost as much as a handful of quarters)

The heaviest human in medical history was Jon Brower Minnoch, who weighted 392 lbs. in 1963, 700 lbs. In 1966, and 975 lbs. in 1976. After being admitted to a hospital in 1978 from heart and respiratory failure, a doctor estimated that Jon weighted over 1300 pounds. When he died in 1978, he weighed more than 798 pounds.

Biggest eater

The larva of the Polyphemus moth consumes an amount equivalent to 86,000 times it own birth weight in the first 56 days of life. In human terms, this would be like a 7 pound baby taking in 301 tons of nourishment. That is a lot of baby food!

Highest g force

The click beetle averages 400g when "jack-knifing" into the air to escape predators. One specimen that jumped to a height of 11.75 inches was calculated to have endured a peak brain deceleration of 2300g by the end of the movement. A recorded human example is that of David Purley, a race car driver who survived a deceleration from 108 mph to 0 in 26 inches in England in 1977. His g force was estimated to 179.8g. He suffered 29 fractures, 3 dislocations, and 6 heart stoppages!

Drinking champion

Female mosquitoes hold the record in this category. They need a lot of protein in order to lay eggs. They obtain this protein by drinking the blood of reptiles, birds, or mammals. Sometimes a mosquito will triple her body weight with just one meal of blood. For a 100 pound human to imitate this feat, he would have to consume 36 gallons of liquid at one sitting.

Fastest moving

The fastest moving insects are certain large tropical cockroaches. The record is 3.36 mph, or 50 body lengths per second. Tiger beetles are also quite fast, as they scurry after their prey. They can often be seen zipping across a road, their bright metallic colors flashing in the sun. The fastest human ever recorded was Carl Lewis, who ran 100 meters in 9.86 seconds in 1991 in Tokyo, Japan.

Best jumper

The champion jumper among insects is the common flea. In one experiment, a flea performed a long jump of 13 inches, and a high jump of 7.75 inches. If a human could jump like a flea, we would be able to jump 853 feet, which would be like jumping from street level to the 70th floor of the Empire State Building. The champion human high jumper is Javier Sotomayor of Cuba, who jumped 8 ft. 0 in. in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Strongest insect

The ant may be tiny, but for his size he is one of the "giants" of the insect world. With his strong jaws he is able to carry 50 times his own weight. That would be like a human trying to carry a baby elephant. Among human strongmen, the record is held by Leonid Taranenko of Russia, who lifted a whopping 1,047 pounds in Australia in 1988.

Longest flyer

The monarch butterfly is capable of flying 2,000 miles from Canada to Mexico and parts of California. Millions migrate every autumn, often stopping in the same rest spots each year. In early spring and summer, returning females travel north in relays, new generations replacing old, laying their eggs along the way. In comparison, the longest human-powered flight ever documented was when Kanellos Kanellopoulos averaged 18.5 mph in his 112 foot wingspan machine from Crete to the island of Santorini, Greece, flying 74 miles.

Other interesting tid-bits

Loudest insect - The loudest of all insects is the male cicada. At 7,400 pulses per minute, its tymbal organs produce a sound detectable over a quarter of a mile away.

Best stunt flyer - Large dragonflies are not only super fast flyers, they are also masters of maneuverability! Many kinds of dragonflies can hover, fly backward, turn around quickly in mid-air, and land in an instant.

Longest insect - The longest insect in the world is the tropical walking stick. Females have been measured at 13 inches in body length. It looks just like a slender twig, which is how it blends in with its surroundings.

Fastest flyer - Modern experiments have established that the highest maintainable air speed of any insect, including the deer bot-fly, hawkmoths, and horseflies is 24 mph, rising to a maximum of 36 mph for short bursts by some large dragon flies.

Official state insects and butterflies of the United States

Many states have adopted official state insects and/or butterflies in recent years. They have done this to remind citizens of the vital role that insects play in our lives. As of Dec. 31, 1995, 34 states have officially designates state insects and/or butterflies, and this information is summarized below. You will find an alphabetic list of the states that have official state insects and/or butterflies (along with the name of the insect), as well as a list of insects (and the states that have adopted them s their official symbols).

State Insects and Butterflies Listed by States

Alabama monarch butterfly
Arkansas honey bee
California California dogface butterfly
Colorado Colorado hairstreak butterfly
Connecticut European praying mantis
Delaware convergent ladybird beetle
Florida giant swallowtail butterfly
Georgia honey bee (insect); tiger swallowtail (butterfly)
Illinois monarch butterfly
Iowa ladybug
Kansas honey bee
Kentucky viceroy butterfly
Louisiana honey bee
Maine honey bee
Maryland Baltimore checkerspot butterfly
Massachusetts ladybug
Mississippi honey bee (insect); spicebush swallowtail (butterfly)
Missouri honey bee
Nebraska honey bee
New Hampshire Ladybug
New Jersey honey bee
New Mexico tarantula hawk wasp
New York nine-spotted ladybird beetle
North Carolina honey bee
Ohio ladybug (insect); tiger swallowtail (butterfly)
Oregon Oregon swallowtail butterfly
Pennsylvania firefly
South Carolina Carolina mantis
South Dakota honey bee
Tennessee ladybug and firefly
Utah honey bee
Vermont monarch butterfly
Virginia tiger swallowtail butterfly
Wisconsin honey bee
Wyoming western swallowtail butterfly

State insects and butterflies listed by species

Baltimore checkerspot butterfly Maryland
California dogface butterfly California
Carolina mantis South Carolina
Colorado hairstreak butterfly Colorado
European praying mantis Connecticut
Firefly Tennessee and Pennsylvania
Honey bee Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin
Ladybird beetles/ladybugs Delaware (convergent), Iowa, Massachusetts, New York (nine-spotted). and Ohio
Swallowtail butterflies Florida (giant), Georgia (tiger), Mississippi (spicebush), Ohio (tiger), Oregon (Oregon), Virginia (tiger), and Wyoming (western)
Tarantula hawk wasp New Mexico
Viceroy butterfly Kentucky


Is your state on the list? If not, you might want to help initiate a campaign to have a representative insect and/or butterfly designated as one of your official state symbols.

The first step is to collect "nominations" from friends, family, and classmates. Have them think of an insect and/or butterfly that would make a good symbol for your state. After a while you should have a list of possible candidates and an idea of how popular each nominee is. Now comes the hard part - selecting one candidate to present to state legislators. Perhaps you might narrow the field to two or three of the most popular nominees and have a run off "election."

Once you have the possibilities narrowed down to a single candidate you will need to begin building a rationale for designating your insect candidate as the official state insect (or butterfly). Why is your insect candidate the best choice? How does it fit into your state's history or culture? How popular is the choice (collect signatures on a petition). All of this information will be useful to you when you go looking for a legislative sponsor or sponsors to help you introduce a commemorative bill into the house and senate (start with the representative for your district first). The commemorative bill will most likely go to a committee first, at which time you (and others will have an opportunity to speak for or against the bill), but if you are persistent and well prepared you might be responsible for your state adopting an official state insect or butterfly!

The Amazing Animal Quiz

Introduction - Insects and their relatives (arthropods) are some of the most amazing animals that inhabit our world, yet most of us rarely give them credit for their incredible abilities. The "Amazing Animal Quiz" can help you and your students "tune in" to the incredible world of arthropods and open their eyes and minds to learning more about them. Hopefully after students complete this exercise they will have a better appreciation for the amazing abilities of arthropods.

Getting started - This quiz is really quite simple and makes a great introduction to a unit on insects and other arthropods. Before starting, have students number a piece of paper from 1-25 down the left-hand side. Tell the students that you are going to read a series of statement that describe animal activities (don't bias them by mentioning insects or arthropods at this time) and that you want them to right down the name of any one animal that they can think of that fits the description you have given.

Name An Animal That...

  1. ...raids the garbage
  2. cold blooded
  3. ...hides from other animals by using camouflage
  4. ...changes shape as it grows
  5. poisonous and covered with scales
  6. ...lives in the ground
  7. capable of flying
  8. ...attacks and devours (eats) other animals
  9. ...migrates long distances
  10. ...gathers and stores food
  11. ...sings to attract a mate
  12. ...hibernates as an adult
  13. ...eats wood
  14. ...lives longer than 40 years
  15. striped
  16. ...lives on another animal
  17. ...spends part of its life cycle in the water
  18. ...drinks nectar from flowers
  19. ...lays eggs
  20. ...has big back legs and is a good hopper
  21. ...catches their prey with traps
  22. active mostly at night
  23. brightly colored
  24. covered with hairs
  25. off a foul odor

Scoring the quiz. After administering the quiz, have the students score themselves in the following manner: 1 point for each mammal named, 3 points for each bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish names, and 5 points for each arthropod (insect, spider, etc.) names. As you can see in this exercise you get more points when you answer with arthropod names. A few of the possible arthropod (insect/spider) answers are:


  1. fly/maggot, carrion beetle
  2. any insect or other arthropod
  3. walkingstick, underwing moth, crab spider
  4. any insect or other arthropod
  5. monarch butterfly
  6. ant, yellowjacket, white grub/beetle
  7. fly, bee, wasp, ant, moth, butterfly, beetle, bug, grasshopper, dragonfly, mayfly, caddisfly, in fact most adult insects.
  8. Praying mantis, ladybird beetle, aphidlion, wolf spider, tarantula, centipede
  9. Monarch butterfly, painted lady butterfly, green darner dragonfly, leafhopper
  10. Ant, honey bee
  11. Cicada, cricket, katydid
  12. Morning cloak butterfly, ladybird beetles
  13. Termite, wood-boring beetle (not ants)
  14. Queen termite
  15. Bee, monarch (caterpillar), swallowtail (caterpillar), beetle
  16. Louse, flea, tick
  17. Dragonfly, damselfly, mosquito, stonefly, mayfly, caddisfly
  18. Butterfly, moth, bee, fly
  19. Any insect or other arthropod (except a few aphids and roaches)
  20. Grasshopper, cricket, leafhopper, flea, flea beetle
  21. Antlion, spider
  22. Moth, most beetle
  23. Many butterflies and beetles
  24. Mosquito, caddisfly, and many caterpillars
  25. Stink bug, bombardier beetle, black swallowtail caterpillar


Young Entomologists' Society, Inc., Minibeast World of Insects and Spiders, by Gary A. Dunn, M.S., F.R.E.S., Director of Education

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