18. Bullet ant
The stings of many ants are rarely a problem for humans, but the bullet ant must have missed the memo. The inch-long creature lurks in the South American rainforest and its sting has been categorized, along with the tarantula hawk’s, as the worst on the planet. Entomologist and sting expert Dr. Justin Schmidt explained that the waves of pain, which last for 12 hours, feel like “walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel.”
17. Ghost mantis
The appropriately terrifying ghost mantis, before striking its prey, relies on its coloration and leaf-like body to help it blend into the background of its arid African habitat. It may only measure around two inches in length as an adult, but that doesn’t stop it from gobbling down fully grown crickets.
16. Jerusalem cricket
Somewhat confusingly, this insect is not a true cricket, nor does it hail from Jerusalem. It actually lives in the western U.S. and Mexico, where it forages at night for roots and insects. While this two-inch-long critter is capable of creating a foul stench and delivering a nasty bite, it is not venomous. Still, that offers little solace to the males of the species, which often get eaten by the females after mating.