Many insects are cute, cuddly, and harmless. We tend to ignore them unless they annoy us by buzzing about our heads or crawling close to us. But some insects are nightmarishly terrifying and downright dangerous.
They can cause intense pain on their enemies that will last for hours or even days. Some deliver bites or stings that can even result in death. Here is a list of 10 of the most terrifying insects in the world.
10 Giant Silkworm Caterpillar
Photo credit: Centro de Informacoes Toxicologicas de Santa Catarina
This creepy-looking caterpillar resides in South America and is responsible for several deaths each year. The giant silkworm caterpillar has tiny bristles that release a potent toxin that is poisonous when ingested. It has been called the “assassin caterpillar” or “killer caterpillar,” but it is just the larva of a giant silkworm moth (Lonomia obliqua).
The venom from this insect can cause gangrene-like symptoms throughout the body, the leakage of blood into the brain, and even death. The toxin’s strong anticlotting agents will prevent you from stopping the bleeding and ultimately cause death. There have been over 500 confirmed deaths caused by the giant silkworm caterpillar.
9 Bullet Ant
The world’s most painful insect sting belongs to the bullet ant. It is also the world’s largest ant and possesses a powerful, venomous sting. A worker ant can be over 2.5 centimeters (1 in) long and looks like a wingless wasp. The queen ant is nearly the same size. These creatures have reddish-brown hair and are hairier than other related ants. Bullet ants are most likely to be found in Central and South America.
The bullet ant gets its name from the shot of intense pain that it delivers. The venom-filled sting can produce agonizing effects in the recipient for up to 24 hours. According to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, the bullet ant is rated at a Level 4—the highest level of pain. It ranks higher than the harvester ant, paper wasp, and even the tarantula hawk wasp.
8 Amazonian Giant Centipede
Photo credit: Katka Nemcokova
With a maximum length of 35 centimeters (14 in), the Amazonian giant centipede is often considered the world’s largest centipede. It is widely found in South America and the Caribbean and is also known as the Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede. The body of this creature consists of 21 to 23 well-marked sections, each containing legs.
The Amazonian giant centipede is aggressive and nervous, and it will latch onto its enemy with all its legs during a fight. The venom that this critter carries is potent and fatal to many small animals. It is usually nonlethal to humans.
Even so, the venom causes severe pain, swelling, chills, fever, and general weakness. It could possibly be lethal to those who are allergic to the toxins.