Usually when we talk about bugs or insects, we imagine something repulsive and gross, and even scary. Probably more than one of you even has a phobia and can’t stand those little critters. But it might surprise you that there are some bugs that have such interesting forms and colors that you entirely forget they are related to the cockroach living under your sink in your student dormitory.
Knowing that, Bored Panda searched high and low, roaming the internet to find the most impressive bugs that resemble works of art because of their bright colors, intricate patterns or unusual forms. And what is best of all, you can safely observe their beauty from the comfort and safety of your own home, so enjoy!
Steel Blue Ladybug
When talking about bugs, we should probably start with defining what they are. To help us do that, Bored Panda contacted a couple of entomologists. They are people who study insects. One of them is Cole Gilbert, who is a professor at Cornell University and his fields of interest include insect behavior and insect physiology. And we also got in touch with Claudia Husseneder, who is a professor at Louisiana State University who specializes in population genetics and molecular biology of insects and symbionts.
Both scientists admit that this is a tricky question as the word ‘bug’ can refer to a number of things, like a computer bug or something that is ‘bugging them.’ Entomologists consider true bugs to be about 110,000 of the million different kinds of insects.
Made A New Friend
Professor Cole Gilbert explains what differentiates bugs from other types of insects: “They have the wings crossed over the back in an X pattern, rather than with a straight line down the middle of the back like beetles have. And they do not have chewing jaws, they have a tube for mouthparts. It is stiff, not curly like that of a butterfly or moth. They stab their food with the tube and inject salivary enzymes to digest the food, whether it is a plant or animal, and then suck the juicy insides out.”
Not All Bees Are Yellow And Brown, This Is A Northern Blue Banded Bee
Bored Panda was curious to know if all the million insects are important to keep the ecosystem going and even such creatures as cockroaches are really necessary to earth. And the scientists are have no doubts about that, because all beings have such intricate interactions between each other that “the loss of some could drastically change the environment,” as Professor Gilbert puts it.
Professor Husseneder explains in more detail: “Ecosystems consist of complex interwoven food webs and insects are part of the foundation/basis of the food pyramid. From the human perspective, cockroaches are pests, but they are the biomass cleaning and recycling crew of the planet, removing decaying plants and animal waste. And they make a tasty protein snack for animals.”
Really Cool Grasshopper
Of course, some species go extinct and if the process is slow, ecosystems will adapt, but if they are drastic, “it can disrupt the balance and, in extreme cases, lead to a cascade failure.” Professor Claudia Husseneder gives a metaphor to help you imagine it easier: “Imagine a net. You can cut a few strands and it still holds its shape and your weight, because other strands can compensate. If you cut too many strands, other connections will snap, and when the point of no return is reached, the whole thing collapses.”
The Amazing Picasso Bug
This Moth My Neighbor's Dog Found
So there are bugs like cockroaches that we hate to see and they gross people out, but they actually have a place in the ecosystem, whether we like it or not. But in this list, we found the most impressive bugs that look so colorful and unusual.
Entomologists have several explanations why some of them are less boring than others. Both professors agree that one of the reasons is to attract mates and the other is to intimidate the enemy. Cole Gilbert adds that bright colors often indicate “that the insect is dangerous in some way, especially poisonous. Even their toxin does not kill a predator that tries to eat one, the bold colors are more memorable and the predator will likely not try for seconds.” Claudia Husseneder adds that “Harmless insects mimic warning colors to 'pretend' that they are not good eats or they make themselves invisible by using camouflage.”
Mecynorrhina Torquata, One Of The Largest Flower Beetles In The World
Eww! Bugs Can’t Be Adorab... Never Mind
Ladybug In Morning Dew
It was really fun to chat with these specialists and get answers to our questions, but what are the questions that these scientists ask themselves? What do they want to know the answers to? Well, both entomologists started with saying that if you ask different people, they will have different interests. Professor Husseneder thinks that the “greatest challenge of the future is the loss of insect abundance and the extinction of species that we didn’t even know were there.”
She thinks it is very important to collect data and determine what impact to the world even the tiniest creatures have, “to assess impact of challenges and devise solutions to make sure we can live in balance with the good, the bad and the colorful.”
Cole Gilbert also has his list of what he would like to know more about. Like “Is there really a decline in insect numbers worldwide, and if so, what is the cause?” Is it the pollinators? He suspects that they do have a part in that, but not all insects.
Another thing to think about is “Where did insect wings come from? All the other groups of creatures that fly, i.e., birds, bats, and extinct flying reptiles, lost the ability of their front legs for walking, but evolved them into wings. Insects did not lose the function of any of their 6 legs to get the two pairs of wings they have.”
What confuses entomologists is also “Why are there no insects in the ocean? Insects dominate the land and are abundant in freshwater, but not marine systems. Crustaceans, which are the closest relatives of insects, are present in oceans and freshwater systems, but not so much on land. What causes this separation?”
So now we know that every creature from the smallest to the biggest is an important part of this world, but there are also so many other things to find out.
But for now we can just admire the interesting beings that live on this Earth that people captured in photos. We would love to know what you think of this list, and did you see the beauty in them? Also, we are curious if you have any guesses to answer the specialists’ questions? Leave us your thoughts and reactions in the comments!
And if you would like more colorful bug content, here you will find an article Bored Panda made with makeup artist Duran Jay, who creates eye makeup inspired by the little creatures.
Elephant Hawk Moth. Was Cutting Down Some Hedges And Found This Guy In His Chrysalis
Left him on the windowsill and was making a cup of tea one morning and he landed on my hand.