Insects were one of the first animals to emerge after the land was colonised, 400 million years ago. They have survived five mass extinction events since then. Now, there are 26,000 million insects living in every square mile of habitable land on Earth.
There are around 350,000 described species of beetles. Of course, there are many more waiting to be discovered. In fact, there are so many different species of beetles that it lead Haldane to famously state, God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles.
Record Breaking Insects
The largest beetle is the Titan beetle from the Amazon Basin. It is up to 17cm long. Dragonflies are the fastest insect fliers in the world, attaining speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour.
- A swarm of desert locusts may consist of up to 50 billion individuals between them chomping somewhere between 75-100,000 tonnes of food.
- A 500g jar of honey represents about ten million trips from the hive to flowers and back again.
- The magnificent, iridescent colour of a butterflies wings doesnt come from the pigment as you might have assumed, but actually from microscopic scales that scatter light.