I’m reading Extreme Insects, by Richard Jones (the book weighs 5kg); click here for a lovely photo gallery. Insect reality is more outlandish than any fantasy. Some of these might crop up as characters in my next bug novel:
- The snowy tree cricket is also a thermometer. Its rate of chirping will tell you the air temperature: count the number of chirps in 7 seconds and add 4˚C.
- The silk moth wraps itself in a single thread up to 2 kilometres long.
- Cicada membranes produce noise (louder than lawnmowers) because they have amplifying air sacs tuned to the same frequency.
- The wings of a biting midge beat at 1,046 strokes per second!
- The tiny minim ants ride shotgun on top of leaves carried by their big sister leaf-cutter ants, to protect them from parasitic flies.