There are about 950,000 known species of insects – compared to only about 60,000 species of vertebrates (mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, and amphibians), and about 297,000 species of plants, including lichens and red and green algae. Most scientists agree that there are more unknown (unnamed, undocumented) species of insects than there are known ones – between two and 30 million species of insects have yet to be named by scientists. At any given moment, there are ten quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) living insects on the planet.
And most of them are doing really weird things.
The pine processionary is a moth that lives in North Africa, Central Asia, and southern Europe, where it is most destructive to the pines and cedars of the region. It gets its name from the odd behavior of its caterpillars, which do this:
A single generation of these caterpillars is capable of destroying as much as 73 percent of a pine forest. Though they’re only about 20 millimeters long when they first hatch, they are capable of biting through pine needles at birth. Though the baby caterpillars stick to eating only the needles within their tent-like cocoons at first, they eventually emerge to eat the rest of the forest, forming this caterpillar train in order to bust through the cocoon walls.
Most species of ants are foragers. They pick up whatever food they can find lying around, or maybe they milk some aphids or something. The
|Similar to this, but with more dismembering.|
Image by PHGCOM from Wikimedia Commons.
|And then each other, presumably.|
Image from Wikimedia Commons.