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Insects are the most numerous and diverse class of animals, according to scientists, there are about two million species of these creatures in total, and only a little more than six hundred thousand species are thoroughly studied of them. They live in all corners of our planet, often in the neighborhood of people, or even settling inside buildings and human dwellings. Some of the insects are completely harmless, while others are very dangerous, because they have a potent poison or contribute to the transfer of deadly diseases. Here are ten representatives of this class, meeting with whom will not bring anything good for a person.
An overview of the most dangerous insects in the world
|Rating of the most dangerous insects in the world||10||Bullet Ant||4.1|
|6||Caterpillar of a coquette moth||4.5|
|5||Giant Asian Hornet||4.6|
|4||Red fire ant||4.7|
One of the largest ants, paraponera clavata lives in South and Central America, from Nicaragua to Paraguay. Most often it can be found in tropical rainforests. Bullet ants settle in large colonies numbering several hundred individuals. In addition to the nests usually located near the trees, they sometimes also build nests on the branches. The name of the insect accurately illustrates the sensation after a bite, comparable in intensity to the shock of a bullet wound. According to the Schmidt scale, the bullet ant ranks first in terms of the strength of stings. It is also called a diurnal ant, since pain at the site of the bite will be felt for at least a day, sometimes accompanied by temporary paralysis of the limb. This effect is caused by the neuroleptic poneratoxin, a poison injected during an attack. Interestingly, in some tribes of Brazilian Indians, during the initiation ceremony, young members of the tribe must spend ten minutes in gloves containing the intertwined stings of these ants, only then they will be considered adult men.
Of all the species of fleas, rats are the most dangerous, since they carry the plague stick on themselves, passing it from one animal to another. Insects have repeatedly played a terrible role in history, contributing to the widespread spread of pathogenic bacteria during the 12th century Justinian plague, when about 100 million people died and the Black Death that broke out in the middle of the 14th century, claiming the lives of almost a third of Europe's population. In addition to the plague bacillus, they also carry harmful bacteria that cause encephalitis, tularemia and other dangerous diseases. The bite of a rat flea not only carries the risk of infection, but is also accompanied by prolonged painful itching, headaches, and fever.
The main habitat of triatom bugs is South and Central America, but due to the growing popularity of tourism and emigration of the population, it has spread to some US states. Sometimes this type of insect is found in hot regions of Europe, Africa and Asia. Since they feed on blood, they prefer to settle close to people's homes, especially if they are easily accessible dwellings, such as reed or adobe huts. The sonorous second name “kissing bugs” was given to them for the habit of biting sleeping people on the lips, which are easier to pierce with the sting than the skin. In addition, the heat generated by breathing is attracted to the lips of insects. The bite itself is not dangerous, it only causes swelling and temporary pain, but the triatom bug is a carrier of the parasitic unicellular organism trypanosoma cruzi. Those infected with the parasite gradually develop Chagas disease, most often leading to heart failure and irreversible damage to internal organs. According to statistical medical data, the disease kills at least 12 thousand people every year.
Africanized bees are considered one of the most aggressive insects in the world. They appeared as a result of the mistake of Brazilian geneticists who crossed common and African bees. A new species that has not yet been studied accidentally broke free and over the next years settled in Brazil, neighboring countries of South America, Mexico and has now reached a number of southern American states. They not only conquer new territories, but also capture the hives of local honey bees, killing the queen and replacing her with their queen. For this they were nicknamed “killer bees”. Also, Africanized bees often attack people and animals, in order to provoke them, it is enough to approach the hive five meters. They attack with the whole swarm, and they can pursue their prey at a distance of up to a kilometer. The inhabitants of the coastal region in Rio de Janeiro suffered the most from killer bees in 1967 – after the appearance of the swarm on the streets, about 150 people died from bites. Over the next 60 years, more than 200 people became victims of this artificial species.
Caterpillar of a coquette moth
The larva of the insect megalopyge opercularis, also called the coquette moth, seems completely harmless in appearance. This fluffy creature lives mainly in deciduous forests in the United States, Mexico and northern regions of Central America. It feeds on the leaves of trees and some plant species such as ivy and rose hips. The touching appearance of the caterpillar is deceiving – under it lies a formidable defense in the form of poisonous thorns, the injection of which is dangerous not only for predators, but even for a healthy adult. After the poison enters the skin, severe throbbing pain occurs, gradually spreading to the entire limb, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, vomiting. Without timely medical assistance, the victim may experience shock and respiratory arrest.
Giant Asian Hornet (Vespa mandarinia )
This huge hornet is called vespa mandarinia because the front of its orange head resembles a mandarin peel. The insect is found in a number of Asian countries, the Primorsky Territory of Russia, relatively recently, the range spread to the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands. The diet of the giant Asian hornet consists mostly of bee larvae. Against the adult bees defending their hives, the predators are armed with powerful jaws that make it easy to bite the chitinous shell of the bee in half. The Asian hornet attacks people most often when provoked, but at the same time behaves extremely aggressively. The giant, with a body length of more than five centimeters and a wingspan of seven and a half centimeters, is equipped with a poisonous six-millimeter sting. The sensations from just one bite (and the hornet can use its sting many times), according to eyewitnesses, is comparable to a red-hot nail driven into the body. At the same time, the poison also contains substances that attract other hornets that are nearby, and the attack of several individuals can lead to death even in the absence of allergies. From 40 to 70 people fall prey to these insects annually. In Japan, vespa mandarinia is considered one of the most dangerous animals.
Red fire ant
The largest number of ants of this species inhabit the South American tropics, the modern habitat also includes some states of the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Insects are small in size, their length is from two to six millimeters, despite this they often kill large prey: caterpillars, insects, amphibians and even some mammals. Fire ants show the greatest aggression during the defense of the anthill – as soon as a person approaches him, he is immediately attacked by from several tens to hundreds of individuals at once. Each of the ants, during the attack, inflicts not one, but immediately a series of injections, injecting poison containing the alkaloid solenopsin. Swelling and blisters appear on the stung areas, the sensations from which are comparable to thermal burns. Sometimes, after this, the victim remains scars on the skin, and in the case of multiple bites committed by a large number of ants, there is a high risk of dying from anaphylactic shock.
The most dangerous caterpillar in the world is found in the tropical regions of South America, most often it can be found in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina. In addition to tropical forests, this species began to inhabit fruit trees, resulting in an increased likelihood of meeting humans. The caterpillar of the giant silkworm butterfly is called “lazy clown”, but those who inadvertently touch it will have no time for fun. The poisonous thorns covering her body produce botulinum toxin, which has the property of destroying a protein that is responsible for blood clotting. The amount of injected poison is only one thousandth of the dose normally injected by venomous snakes, but even this is enough to cause serious consequences for the victim. In the best case, the victim will get off with extensive hematomas, in the worst case, there will be internal bleeding, impaired renal function, and potentially a brain hemorrhage. Lonomy poison is believed to be one of the strongest natural toxins in the world. Every year, after contact with such caterpillars, up to 30 people die, and about the same number receive severe injuries to the body, leading to disability.
The tsetse fly lives in tropical and subtropical latitudes of the African continent, mainly in humid forests and near river banks. In total, there are about twenty species of such flies in Africa, they can be distinguished from ordinary ones by a special way of folding their wings and a long forward-directed piercing proboscis, with which it extracts the blood of mammals. The fly is not poisonous, but when bitten, it transmits the parasitic organisms trypanosomes, which are the causative agents of sleeping sickness. This disease can last for months, it first destroys the human immune system, after which the nervous system is affected. It is estimated that more than half a million people in Africa have died from sleeping sickness.
Malaria mosquitoes are considered the most dangerous insects on our planet; every year, due to the plasmodia virus they carry, approximately 300 million people are infected, of which more than 750 thousand die. Almost all cases of infection occur in Africa, in areas south of the Sahara. Children under the age of five are at particular risk, with an average of one African child dying every minute from malaria, according to the World Health Organization. Once in the body through the salivary glands of the mosquito, the virus begins to actively multiply in the liver. The incubation period lasts several weeks, after which the malaria plasmodia invade red blood cells and spread throughout the body, causing severe anemia. Death occurs as a result of internal organ failure or destruction of the blood vessels in the brain. In addition to malaria, this type of mosquito also serves as a carrier of other deadly diseases: encephalitis, Dengue fever, yellow fever.
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