Insects Commonly Found in Tropical Forests

Rain forests are generally found between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, mainly along the equator. Most South American countries, African countries and parts of the Asian continent are commonly referred as tropical countries. The tropical climate is generally characterized by its year round warm temperatures ranging between 930 F and 630 F, yearlong rainy conditions, averaging between 50 to 260 inches yearly.

Tropical rain forests are characterized by a wide variety of both large and small animals and millions of insect species, some of which are considered poisonous. With tropical climate remaining constant throughout the year, the need for migration is greatly reduced, as the ever green foliage provide a permanent home with leafy vegetation and protection from sun’s rays. The ground is constantly wet, providing a suitable environment for crawling insects as well.

It is impossible to discuss every insect species in this article, but general characteristics will be briefly discussed with regard to some commonly known insects.

Moths and Butterflies

Moths and butterflies are so diverse in the tropics. The contributing factors to this diversity include high altitude grasslands and tall trees, which provide large canopies and supports under vegetation. The habitat supports a wide variety of species of both the moths and butterflies, and also enhances longer lifespans beyond two weeks lifespan they are known to live. The country of Peru, for instance, is known to have the largest variety of butterfly species in the world, adding to its economic growth through tourism.

Tropical Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are popularly known as disease carriers or vectors, and are responsible for a number of tropical diseases, mainly malaria. Mosquitoes are known to be constantly annoying with the whining sound they make as they fly. They feed on human blood and in the process, transfer the parasites that cause malaria. They breed prolifically in stagnated water, especially after a heavy downpour. To prevent yourself from mosquito bites, it is advisable to cover yourself in a mosquito net.

Tropical Dragonflies

Dragonflies are known to have been in existence for the past 280 to 380 million years. They play an important role in maintaining the balance of biodiversity in a tropical environment. They are known to prey on mosquitoes, thus helping humans control their breeding. The term mosquito hawk is associated with their carnivorous habit, eating up to a hundred mosquitoes at once; hence it is considered the best defense against blood sucking pests which are associated with overcrowded environment.


Beetles are crawling insects, and are mostly found under the ground vegetation in the tropical rain forests. There are over 500 species of beetles within the tropics, some of which are known to cause diseases, both to humans and animals. Commonly known beetles include fireflies, ladybirds, and Christmas beetles. Their lifespan varies from weeks to years, depending on the species.