Odd bugs: Fascinating facts about praying mantises, walking sticks and other unique-looking insects
On this day in history, June 5, 1968, presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy is fatally shot in Los Angeles
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Spring has sprung!
That means the bugs and insects have come out to play.
Now is your chance to test your knowledge about some interesting facts about common spring bugs and learn about some of the most bizarre insects found in America.
You may even find some of these odd insects in your garden this spring.
Read on for more details …
1. How many horns do horned treehoppers have?
The horned treehopper, scientifically labeled centrotus cornutum, can have one to three horns that help this insect blend into its surroundings.
Treehoppers with three horns are called tri-horned treehoppers.
They are exclusively native to Australia.
Horned treehoppers have the horned helmets to help”the treehoppers avoid predation through camouflage or intimidation,” according to Nature Journal.
2. How many legs does a monkey slug caterpillar have?
This fuzzy-looking spider will one day transform into a hag moth.
The monkey slug caterpillar has six fuzzy arms, according to IFL Science.
The monkey slug’s tentacle-like arms extend and reach out as it crawls, “giving the appearance of a terrestrial octopus,” according to Insectidentification.org, a database of insects, bugs and spiders.
MOTH FACT #141
The Monkey Slug caterpillar is the larva of the Hag moth (Phobetron pithecium). It can lose one of its shaggy ‘appendages’ without any ill effects! #themothyouknow @wenlamp pic.twitter.com/RKhZD5tvHf
— Our Daily Mothz (@barnhugz) April 24, 2023
“Though other hairy caterpillars have a reputation for prickly defenses, this caterpillar does not sting,” the website states.
“Quite often, the caterpillars of this family attract more interest than the adult moths.”
These ugly-duckling bugs can be found as northbound as Maine and as southbound as Florida, extending westward to Nebraska, Arkansas and Mississippi, according to treehugger.com, a sustainability website.
3. How many eggs can a praying mantis lay at a time?
The praying mantis is one of the most identifiable insects found in the spring because of its recognizable stance that resembles hands in a prayerful position.
Praying mantises can lay up to 400 eggs at a time, “which are deposited in a frothy mass that is produced by glands in [the female’s] abdomen,” Boreal Science reported.
There many unique-looking insects in the mantis family, from the orchid mantis to the devil’s flower mantis.
Yet the most common types mantis found in North America are the Carolina mantis, European mantis and the Chinese mantis, said the National Pest Management Association in Virginia.
4. In what year was the man-faced stink bug first discovered?
The Man-Faced Stink Bug was first discovered in 1778 by British entomologist Dru Drury, Scientific American stated.
While stink bugs are a common spring pest in the U.S., this specific face-patterned insect is only native to Southeast Asia and India.
Man faced stink bug. 🙀 pic.twitter.com/klISwriqwQ
— M-K 🌹 🇮🇪 💙NHS. (@marie_kate2) May 1, 2021
5. What is the average lifespan of a walking stick in the wild?
It is common for insects to only live a certain amount of weeks or months.
However, the walking stick can live upwards of three years, said National Geographic Kids.
🚨Invasive species alert! While admiring a funky succulent, I almost didn’t notice this Indian walking stick! Native to southern India, these bugs have been shipped around the world & marketed as an easy, low-effort pet for kids. This one is likely a descendant of an escapee. pic.twitter.com/wVFQtzzOlm
— Smithsonian NMNH (@NMNH) September 1, 2021
“Newly hatched walking sticks reach adult size once they’ve undergone several molts [and] they reach maturity between three months and one year,” according to the National Wildlife Federation.
6. What do the seven spots on a ladybug mean?
The spots found on the back of a ladybug serve as a defense mechanism to ward off any predators, according to National Geographic Kids.
The seven spots of the ladybug, the lady symbolizing the Virgin Mary, are said to have represented “Mary’s seven joys and seven sorrows,” the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee stated.
7. How many bees does it take to weigh one pound?
One bee weighs .00025 pounds, according to Big Island Bees, an organic honey supplier located in Hawaii.
It would take 4,000 bees to exactly one pound exactly, the brand continued.
“Euglossine bees are incredibly fascinating. Known as orchid bees, they are the exclusive pollinators of ~700 orchid species.🤯 Many Euglossine bees boast metallic jewel tones in brilliant sapphire blues and deep emerald greens.” – Tovah Siegel, @NMNH_Entomology #NatureNerding101 pic.twitter.com/Yjh6P7wGHl
— Smithsonian NMNH (@NMNH) June 23, 2020
That single .00025 pound bee will produce one tablespoon of honey in its lifetime.
8. How long does it take an assassin bug to kill its prey?
Native to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and other southern states, the assassin bug has a beak that will retract and inject its prey with poison.
Within 30 seconds, the insect’s prey will die form the toxins injected into its system, Growing Small Farms from North Carolina State University wrote.
If you are bitten by an assassin bug, wash the bite and apply antiseptic, the National Pest Management Association advised.
Contact a medical professional if you notice changes to the bite area or if you start showing signs of a life-threatening allergic reaction “such as swelling, itching, hives or difficulty breathing,” the site stated.