The Insect World Explored

Little but BIG!

Today’s animal belongs to the largest class of animals in the world. That means there are more of these than any other animal.

Just imagine you are one of these creatures for a minute. If you are like most of these animals you would have your jaws and your teeth on the outside, not the inside, of your head. You would use your lips to taste your food and guide it into your body. And on either side of your teeth and jaws you have tiny hair-like devices that help you smell and taste your food so you know whether it’s safe to eat or not. (Sort of sounds like something from a science fiction DVD, doesn’t it?) Read on. This gets weirder.

If you need to see what’s going on around you, don’t worry because you have unbelievable vision. In fact more than likely if you were one of these creatures you would have two large eyes, each equipped with 4000 lenses. (We humans only have one lens per eye.) But because for the moment you are pretending to be one of these living beings you not only have two large eyes, but possibly two or maybe even three tiny eyes in between them.

You feel quite a bit lighter being this creature because you now have no bones. In fact you feel so light that you almost think you could fly, which you can because most of these animals are equipped with not one, but two pairs of wings.

No longer do you breathe oxygen through your mouth. You are now equipped with tiny air holes called spiracles. These are located in your abdomen and your thorax. Some of you breathe air in and out of the same spiracles. The rest of you have certain spiracles that breathe in air and others that let the air go out.

Unfortunately, if you were this animal many fish, reptiles, and birds would be chasing you for food. In fact 80% of the people in the world regularly eat the type of animal that we’re imagining you are.

By now you’ve probably guessed that you are one of the more than one million species of insects in the world. The greatest number of species belongs to the beetles, (coleoptera), which number at least 360,000. Number two on the list is the order Lepidoptera, (moths and butterflies). There are over 170,000 species of these known in the world.

Insects have three sections- a head, a thorax, and an abdomen, (the abdomen usually has 11 segments). This class of animal comes in various shapes and sizes. Some are even tinier than the period at the end of this sentence. Others are more than an inch in length. The Goliath Beetle can reach 4.5 inches in length. The Acteon Beetle is 3.5 inches in length. The Giant Weta, (which appears like a cross between a cricket and a cockroach), can grow to 8″ in length and can weigh up to about 2.5 ounces. South American Longhorn Beetles are occasionally found measuring 6 inches in length. Have you ever felt a tickly feeling when an ant crawled on you? Imagine how tickly you’d feel if you had one of these big beetles crawling down your arm? Or would you rather a giant walking stick insect that measures 14″ crawling up your leg? Both the world’s largest moth, (Atlas Moth), and the world’s largest butterfly, (Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing) have wingspans about a foot across.

As large as some of these insects are though, they can in no way compare with the size of some prehistoric insects. Prehistoric dragonflies had a body length of 18″ and a wingspan of 30″. This seems strange when many scientists try to convince us that everything evolved from tinier life forms. The largest dragonflies in our time have wingspans that are merely 7″-8″.

Another thing these evolutionists are troubled with is the fact that evolution has always maintained that insects evolved from wingless ancestors. Unfortunately, these wingless ancestors have never been found in the fossil record. All the fossilized wings examined are quite developed. This would all be much easier to understand if these scientists merely accepted the creation account of the origin of life- God spoke and these life forms came into being. And they were fully developed right from the beginning.

When God created insects He formed them so they would be extremely athletic runners, jumpers, swimmers, and fliers. Cockroaches can run 40 body lengths per second. We humans can only run four body lengths per second. If you were able to jump like a grasshopper you could probably do the standing-broad-jump from one side of your classroom and then land on the other side. (P.S. Look out for the ceiling!) The Click Beetle jumps much like a pole vaulter. If it lands on its back it springs back up into the air and lands on its feet again. Great Diving Beetles are champion swimmers. They use their rear legs to row themselves through the water. Hairy bristles on their legs brush the water aside as the beetle floats along. Hawk moths can fly at speeds just over 30 miles per hour. Dragonflies can fly sideways, upward, downward, and backward and have been clocked at 60 miles per hour. The fastest insect is the Tabanid Fly. This fly can soar at speeds up to 90 miles per hour!

The insect that flies the farthest is the Monarch Butterfly. Monarchs can travel 125 miles in one day. After many days it reaches the end of its migration. By that time some have flown 1,875 miles! The monarch finds its way to a grove of pine trees in Mexico using the sun as a compass.

Some insects can lift tremendous amounts of weight. Ants for instance can lift 20-50 times their weight. Rhinoceros beetles can support 850 times their weight on their back. Human weight lifters can only lift 2-3 times their weight.

Insects are very important creatures. God created them for many special purposes. Bees and many other insects are needed to help fruit and vegetables pollinate. God created some creatures for beauty. He could have created all the butterflies a drab grey color, much like some species of moths. But He didn’t. God knew that we would enjoy many different colors of butterflies. So He made them with bright colors and clever designs.

If you can see through God’s eyes you can start seeing His clever design in the creation of all insects. The next time you go on a hike see how many of these tiny animals you can spot along the way. You can take pictures if you have a camera. If it’s okay to do so where you hike you can even lift rocks and old tree branches. You might be surprised to see how many insects you can find hiding beneath them.

Should we be Eating Insects?, Tim Dowling, ‘The Guardian’, London , UK , January 16, 2008.

Molecular Basis of Monarch Butterfly Migration Discovered, ‘Science Daily’, Jan 8, 2008.

Bugs Up Close, Diane Swanson, Kids Can Press, Toronto , Ontario , 2007.

Bug Athletes, (from Bug Zone), Barbara Taylor, Chrysalis Education, North Mankato , Minnesota , 2003.