As a child I used to love going into the nearby field and searching for new insects. In my area the ultimate prize was a praying mantis, however, like most people, as I grew I came to be more and more uncomfortable around things with more than four legs.
For those of us with an acquired distaste for insects, RocketNews24 is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Insect Academy Awards. It’s a great way to reconnect with a whole planet of those magical little creatures we used to love.
And for those of your who are hardwired to hate things with dozens of eyes, these winners might just change your feelings. To help get you warmed up we’ll kick of the awards ceremony with the “Cutest” award.
1) Cutest – Bee Fly
These little guys are members of the Bombyliidae family of insects. Although they are technically flies, these insects’ appearance and behavior of feeding on pollen and nectar earned them the common name of bee flies. Bee flies live all over the world in different variations; in fact, you’ve probably seen one before but just assumed it was a bee. Quite frankly, most are butt ugly, but among them live the rare and adorable Anastoechus Nitidulus (pictured above). These little pussy willow-looking bugs are completely harmless and, if you’re, lucky can be seen drinking from flowers for that perfect nature photo.
2) Most Photogenic – Silkmoth
The slikmoth’s larva form, the silkworm, tends to get a lot of credit for making all the natural silk in the world. However, when it’s time to grow up and become a moth, they don’t have much use, which is why many have turned to the lucrative world of insect modeling. Their fluffy body and symmetrical features make camera lenses worldwide fall in love. That being said, if one flew into my room I’d probably still throw a shoe at it.
“Okay, now look angry! That’s right, that’s right. Perfect, that’s a wrap!”
3) Most Fashionable – Beet Tortoise Beetle
The competition for classiest was tight this year but the award goes to the “Golden Tortoise Beetle” whose name needs no explanation. These vivid metallic colors are fairly common in beetles, but the translucent outer shells adds to the overall sheen. They narrowly beat out the Glass Winged Butterfly (pictured below) this year.
Image: David Tiller Wikipedia
4) Funniest – Happy Face Spider
Although most people recoil in horror when seeing a spider, these unsung heroes make it their duty to protect your home from other unwanted visitors. The happy face spider (Theridion grallator) of Hawaii tries to make you feel more at ease with a pleasant smile. Not reaching more than 5mm in size, they can help your arachnophobia by asking “Why so serious?”
5) Most Useful – Turtle Ant
Image: Alexander Wild
Some folks have a job that they were just born to do, but not as much as the turtle ant (Cephalotes varians). That round disc on their head is just the perfect size to plug up the entrances of their nest in the event of an invasion. Nature really is amazing.
Image: Alex Wild
6) Least Useful – Giraffe Weevil
Image: Axel Strauss Wikipedia
There are times when you got to stick your neck out and take a chance, but all the time just isn’t the way to live a long fulfilling life. It is believed that the long neck possessed by males helps in nest building. Female giraffe weevils’ necks, meanwhile, are a fraction of the length. You could say that the males got the short (or long?) end of the stick in this deal, but not enough for the next category.
7) Most Sexist – Velvet Ant
Not “sexiest”; this is the “most sexist”, meaning the species of insect when one gender gets royally screwed over. Behold a female Velvet Ant (Mutillidae)! You might be wondering what the big deal is since it looks like a perfectly healthy and quite stylish ant. The problem is that this isn’t an ant at all; it’s a wasp.
Yes, as the males get to fly around all day long with their cool wings, the females are stuck hoofing it everywhere they go. As a compensation of sorts, the females are endowed with an incredibly painful stinger that the males lack.
Velvet Ants can be found in many parts of the world with a wide variety of hairstyles. Best to steer clear of any fluffy ant you may find. She’s probably pissed off.
8) Scariest – Megalara garuda
Image: Zoo Keys
This award was long held by the Japanese Giant Hornet, but a new discovery in Indonesia has yielded the megalara garuda. It’s too new to have a common name, but the media has dubbed it “king of wasps.” Although it’s not as big as the giant hornet its exaggerated features like the huge mandibles seen above look like something out of Tim Burton movies (the older, cooler ones at least).
The stuff nightmares are made of.
Image: Zoo Keys
9) Most Disgusting – Amblypygi
Even the name which means “flat ass” is upsetting to the senses. The name is a reference to the thought that they were “tailless scorpions.” In fact they are not scorpions nor are they dangerous at all. That doesn’t stop them from being completely nauseating. Consider yourself unlucky if you come across a new mother amblypygi; they carry their brood on their back.
“Oh congratulations on the new family… I’m gonna go vomit now.”
Image: Anne Jones Wikipedia
10) WTF of the year – This thing!
Well, clearly it’s not an insect… I think. And it looks like… yeah. I can’t find any details to what exactly this is beyond what everyone’s calling it; you know, “penis fish”. I’m sure there’s a seamen joke in here somewhere, but I’m just too confused right now.
Well, that wraps up this years Insect Academy Awards. We would like to thank the folks at the academy and all you readers who like weird animals. We’re going to leave you with some videos of weird bugs and a fish with a see-through head. Good night!
Source: Vippers (Japanese)