The longest insect is the Borneo walking stick (Phobaeticus kirbyi) can grow to up to 32 centimeters long, with another 14 centimeters if you measure the legs stretched out! But you might not see one, even if you are in Borneo and looking for them, since they closely resemble the slender tree branches they live on.
Goliath beetles (Goliathus) are the largest insects in terms of bulk and weight. They can reach over 4 inches long, which doesn’t sound like much, til you look at the picture. The beetles are native to the African tropics, where they subsist on tree sap and fruit. Goliath beetles can be kept as pets, just feed them dog food.
The Hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules) is a species of rhinoceros beetle that lives in South America. It can grow to over 6 inches in length (counting its horns), but its claim to fame is its strength. The Hercules beetle can support 850 times its own weight on its shell! This beetles eats only vegetation and is not aggressive, except to other Hercules beetles, when males fight each other over females.
The mosquito (Culicidae) causes the deaths of millions of people every year. They spread yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and malaria from person to person, without being affected by the diseases themselves. They also transmit the debilitating filariasis worm, which can lead to elephantiasis in humans. Mosquitos are nasty business.
The Orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) is a variety of flower mantis usually found in Malaysia and Indonesia. Doesn’t the mantis pictured look just like an orchid? They hide in the flowers they resemble, waiting for other delicious insects to alight. See a beautiful picture of a pink flower mantis here.
The weirdest insect of all is the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera). That may surprise you, but the only reason they don’t seem strange is because we are familiar with them. But think… how many insects produce a delicious food product enjoyed by bees, bears, and people? In addition to honey, bees produce beeswax, honeycombs, royal jelly, and venom. Bees communicate with each other, coordinate colony activities, determine the fate of the next generation, and are master architects, chemists, and engineers. Bees are crucial to food production as they pollinate billions of dollars worth of crops each year.