Four Bugs That Have Gained Evil Superpowers

Insects are often the overlooked outcasts of the animal kingdom, mostly because we literally walk all over them every day without even realizing it. We are the Godzilla of the entomological world, carelessly murdering folks without a second thought. But the bugs are fighting back. Maybe it’s not enough to defeat us just yet, but…

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4
Lone Star Ticks Gives You Meat Allergies

Since way back in the 1990s, scientists have observed a link between people who suddenly developed allergies to red meat and those bitten by a certain species of tick, the lone star tick, which, contrary to the associations of its name, is mostly found in the Southeastern U.S. They’re not sure why, but something about the tick’s saliva jacks up your antibodies to saccharides found in beef and pork. Take a nice hike in Florida, and now you can’t eat cheeseburgers anymore. 

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The bad news is that it’s spreading, having been recently spotted in the Northeast and Midwest. The good news is the condition is called alpha-gal syndrome, for one of the saccharides, so if anyone sees your diagnostic paperwork, you can tell them you’re pathologically badass.

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Bombardier Beetles Shoot Boiling Liquid Out of Their Asses

We’ve all had burrito binges that ended up making us feel like we were doing the same thing, but a species of beetle can literally shoot boiling liquid out of its ass as a defense against predators. Who would have thought something called a “bombardier beetle” could be scarier than that name? It’s actually a combination of two chemicals stored separately inside the beetle that react when combined at the moment of attack, which is how the beetle prevents itself from boiling alive. It must be a neat trick at woodland parties.

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Tiger Moths and Beetles Create Sonic Illusions

If you remember your third-grade science, you’ll recall that bats “see” in the dark with echolocation, making squeaky noises and listening for where they bounce to map out their surroundings. If you’re something a bat can eat, you don’t wanna get bounced off, so the tiger moth has biological mechanisms for imitating bats’ squeaks, effectively jamming their signals. It’s just as well, because tiger moths are toxic to bats, so in turn, their brothers in stripes, the tiger beetle, has learned to imitate them, thus joining magicians and drug dealers in the group of creatures who can make you see things that aren’t really there.

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Parasitoid Wasps Control Minds

When you think of scary insects, you probably think of spiders and cockroaches, but consider that there’s a whole category of parasitic wasps that control the minds of their hosts. In fact, there are more species of this asshole than all beetles combined. One of them, appropriately named the Euderus set after the Egyptian god of war and chaos, nicknamed the “crypt-keeper wasp,” can manipulate the actions of at least seven other species that serve as its hosts, including forcing it to sacrifice itself for the wasp. 

To be fair, if we had to name a species most likely to destroy the world, wasps would be pretty high on the list.