If you had to choose between a chance encounter with the following insects – hissing cockroaches, blister beetles, earwigs, Jerusalem crickets, Giant Wetas and the like – which ones would be your lesser evil? And would you rather take gross or venomous? Here’s our Top Ten countdown of nature’s most diabolical insects. But be advised, if you’re the jumpy kind, proceed at your own risk…
Insects are the most diverse group of animals on the planet, with species of common insects like bees, wasps, true bugs, moths and beetles ranging in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Given this diversity, picking only ten of the most “diabolical” was not an easy feat. And considering the fact that these insects make up just one million classified insects (more than half of all known organisms) of six to ten million still waiting to be discovered, undoubtedly there are more diabolical ones still lurking somewhere. But for now, read on for the known ones.
Including cockroaches of any species in a Top Ten list of most diabolical insects for me was a no-brainer. I’ve lived for many years in humid, well-populated climates perfect for cockroaches and had my fair share of cockroach experiences of the third kind. So yes, I’m biased but hey, at least I didn’t put them in the top slot!
Hissing cockroach close-up:
Image: Jason Scragz
For those who think they’re not that bad, just let the names of the following cockroach species roll off your tongue: true death’s head cockroach (Blaberus craniifer), false death’s head (Blaberus discoidalis), blabbering devil’s apprentice (Blaberus luciferus).
Okay, I made up the last one but you never know, among 4,000 cockroach species, one might just be named like that. Did you know that of those 4,000 species, only 30 are associated with human habitation? The four most well-known pests of those 30, if their point of origin is anything to go by, definitely seem to have caught the travel bug: there’s the American cockroach, the German one and the Asian and Oriental cockroaches.