Some bugs have long legs; others look like they have funny shoes on, while others might stink the place up for an hour. Bugs come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. They can also do an amazing array of tricks and even hide in plain sight. To say bugs are interesting is an understatement. They are similar to what having tiny aliens walking around everywhere must be like. Bugs even come with their very own superpowers in one way or another. Some even have amazingly long antennae! Can you guess why? Let’s find out!
This harmless insect grows to one or one and a half inches long and is invasive in the U.S. These cute beetles are a danger to our hardwood forests. The beetles have comical-looking feet that appear to be wearing shoes. They are native to China and Korea, though they originated in Japan in the 1800s. They were introduced to North America on wood pallets and wood packing material on cargo shipments. The beetles have such long antennae in order to smell, taste, and feel their environment for danger.
Crickets have been worldwide in every country except Antarctica. Their exceptionally long antennae are sensory organs used to check the air for disturbances such as prey or danger. They also help in picking up clues of the sex of nearby crickets. The long antennae are also able to pick up scents much more powerfully than our noses ever could.
Katydids have some of the longest antennae in the entire world of bugs. These interesting bugs make up over 8,000 different species found worldwide! Their massive antennae help them find their way around in the dark since they are nocturnal, and bumping into the wrong thing could end with them becoming someone’s dinner. Some of the larger katydid antennae can measure four inches long! These grasshopper-like bugs are found everywhere, from long grass in fields to suburban gardens. Despite what some may believe, katydids are harmless to plants and gardens. They actually eat many types of insects known to cause damage to garden plants. The katydid sometimes eats small amounts of grass or some plants, though it is never enough to do any real harm.
Wheel bugs are interesting all the way around. Their extra-long antennae with the bent ends just add to their oddness. Unlike some assassin bugs who may gather in large numbers, the wheel bug is solitary and slow-moving. They are common in North America during the summer. The wheel bug is actually a species of assassin bug, which can lead to a painful bite if you try to handle it. They feast on caterpillars, which they bore into with their extra-long mouth receptacle. The wheel bugs also emit a stinky fluid to send their would-be assailant packing. Their antennae serve the purpose of smelling out prey or other wheel bugs. It also tests the environment of movement.
American cockroaches, also sometimes called the palmetto bug or sewer roach, are large, flying, reddish brown colored visions that end up as nightmares to some. They are extremely fast on foot and in the air. They are not typically drawn to food like the other more serious cockroaches, but they seek out moist areas like under homes and can frequently be found at coastal locations. Their antennae, like the other bugs on our list so far, serve the purpose of checking out the environment for potential hazards. The antennae also help them find food and communicate with other nearby roaches. This might make the little guys even creepier when you imagine them talking to each other, or maybe it makes them seem more interesting and cute.
The pine sawyer beetle or black pine sawyer beetle deals the final blow to severely damaged or dying trees. They do not cause damage to healthy, living trees, despite confusion. The beetles lay eggs in the dying tree’s bark, which, when hatched, destroys the tree. They are very common throughout Europe. They are sometimes confused with Asian longhorn beetles, though the sawyer beetles are much smaller in comparison.
The pine sawyer beetle uses its long antennae to sniff out dying pine trees to lay eggs in. Their exceptionally long antennae can be three times the length of their bodies! That’s like being a 5-foot-tall woman with 15-foot-long hair.
The cute acorn weevil uses her long snout, called a rostrum, to bore a hole into the acorn to lay her eggs. The larva may stay in the acorn for up to five years before emerging as an adult! As an adult, the weevils only live a few months in order to reproduce and start the process over again. At the end of the rostrum are saw-like teeth that are used for chewing a hole in the acorn. Their long antennae originate from the extra-long snout and help the weevil find its way to acorns. Some acorn weevils have long snouts, whereas others have short snouts. There are several species of nut weevils with similar builds that are native to Europe and North America.
Some say the timberman beetles’ antennae are like horns that the beetles use to measure sticks they walk on. The male timberman beetle’s antennae can be four times the length of their bodies, making these beetles one insect with some of the longest antennae in their insect world. In fact, their antennae are three inches long! When males fight over females or territory, they try to cripple each other’s antennae in order to shorten them. The antennae are useful sensory organs used to help the beetles sniff out dead wood to nest in. These beetles are found in Europe, Russia, and Asia.
The semi-aquatic caddisfly has very long antennae, though it varies somewhat from species to species. These are commonly used as fishing lures, whether real or false. They are always found near waterways and are attracted to bright lights in the evening, like moths. Their long antennae are hair-like in structure and are used for sensory needs like checking the water source for safety and cleanliness. They are an important food for bats, with the adults living very short lives.
The dobsonfly spends most of its life as a larva, called a hellgrammite. They remain in this stage for three years before emerging and pupating. The dobsonfly is short-lived. It is attracted to bright lights near rivers and streams in the summer. The dobsonfly can grow to over two inches long and has a large wingspan, adding to its terrifying appearance. As a last resort, they are capable of spraying a bad-smelling anal fluid to ward off predators. Their antennae are as long as their bodies and are used for searching for a mate and finding the perfect spot to lay eggs. The antennae have many segments.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © SIMON SHIM/Shutterstock.com
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