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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 December 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...
- ...raids the garbage
- ...is cold blooded
- ...hides from other animals by using camouflage
- ...changes shape as it grows
- ...is poisonous and covered with scales
- ...lives in the ground
- ...is capable of flying
- ...attacks and devours (eats) other animals
- ...migrates long distances
- ...gathers and stores food
- ...sings to attract a mate
- ...hibernates as an adult
- ...eats wood
- ...lives longer than 40 years
- ...is striped
- ...lives on another animal
- ...spends part of its life cycle in the water
- ...drinks nectar from flowers
- ...lays eggs
- ...has big back legs and is a good hopper
- ...catches their prey with traps
- ...is active mostly at night
- ...is brightly colored
- ...is covered with hairs
- ...gives 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:
- fly/maggot, carrion beetle
- any insect or other arthropod
- walkingstick, underwing moth, crab spider
- any insect or other arthropod
- monarch butterfly
- ant, yellowjacket, white grub/beetle
- fly, bee, wasp, ant, moth, butterfly, beetle, bug, grasshopper, dragonfly, mayfly, caddisfly, in fact most adult insects.
- Praying mantis, ladybird beetle, aphidlion, wolf spider, tarantula, centipede
- Monarch butterfly, painted lady butterfly, green darner dragonfly, leafhopper
- Ant, honey bee
- Cicada, cricket, katydid
- Morning cloak butterfly, ladybird beetles
- Termite, wood-boring beetle (not ants)
- Queen termite
- Bee, monarch (caterpillar), swallowtail (caterpillar), beetle
- Louse, flea, tick
- Dragonfly, damselfly, mosquito, stonefly, mayfly, caddisfly
- Butterfly, moth, bee, fly
- Any insect or other arthropod (except a few aphids and roaches)
- Grasshopper, cricket, leafhopper, flea, flea beetle
- Antlion, spider
- Moth, most beetle
- Many butterflies and beetles
- Mosquito, caddisfly, and many caterpillars
- Stink bug, bombardier beetle, black swallowtail caterpillar
Source:Young Entomologists' Society, Inc., Minibeast World of Insects and Spiders, by Gary A. Dunn, M.S., F.R.E.S., Director of Education
- During a single meal, a female mosquito can drink her own weight in blood.
- Some mayflies live 24 hours or less as adults.
- The smallest insect ever discovered is a hairy-winged beetle from the tropics. It measures 1/100 of an inch (.25 mm) in length.
- The longest insect ever found is a tropical stick insect from Asia. Some of the females get to be over a food (30cm) in length.
- Over one million different kinds of insects have been discovered. This is twice the total of all other kinds of animals put together.
- A swarm of desert locusts (of the grasshopper family), containing over 1000 million insects, has covered an estimated area of 2000 square miles (5200 KM2). Swarms of locusts have been seen at sea 1200 miles from land (1920 km).
- Bombardier beetles can shoot a hot, smelly liquid from their abdomen that is 212 ° F (100° C).
- Fireflies aren't the only light-producing insects. Some click beetles, springtails, and gnats also light up.
- There is a fly in California called the petroleum fly that lives and breeds in petroleum.
- The largest animal in Antarctica that lives strictly on land is a wingless fly less than 1/4 of an inch (6 mm) long.
- The color a head louse will be as an adult can depend on the color of the person's hair is living in. For example, a louse living in blond hair would most likely be alight color; one living in black hair would be dark.
- A cockroach can live nine days without its head.
- Fleas can jump 200 times the length of their bodies.
- Some queen termites live as long as 50 years.
- The atlas moth of India is one of the world's largest insects. It measures 12 inches (30 cm) from wingtip to wingtip.
- A tiny insect called a biting midge can beat its wings 1000 times a second.
- How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey?
- Two million
- How far does a hive of bees fly to bring you one pound of honey?
- Over 55,000 miles
- How much honey does the average worker honey bee make in her lifetime?
- 1/12 teaspoon
- How fast does a honey bee fly?
- About 15 miles per hour
- How much honey would it take to fuel a bee's flight around the world?
- About one ounce
- Why are honey bees sometimes called "white man's flies?"
- North American natives called honey bees this because they were brought to North America by European colonists.
- What is mead?
- Honey wine
- How long have bees been producing honey from flowering plants?
- 10-20 million years
- What Scotch liqueur is made with honey?
- How many sides does each honeycomb cell have?
- What is the U.S. per capita consumption of honey?
- What state is known as the beehive state?
- How many wings does a honey bee have?
- How many beekeepers are in the United States?
- An estimated 211,600
- How many honey-producing colonies of bees are there in the United States?
- The USDA estimates that there are approximately 3 million honey producing colonies. This estimate is based on beekeepers who manage five or more colonies.
- Hall of Fame Trivia Bugs
- How many flowers does a honey bee visit during one collection trip?
- 50 to 100
- How do honey bees communicate with one another?
- "Dancing." Honey bees do a dance which alerts other bees where nectar and pollen was located. The dance explains directions and distance. Bees also communicate with pheromones.
- What does "super" mean to a beekeeper?
- The super is the hive box in which honey is stored.
Source:National Honey Board