Category Archives: insects

Treehopper

Treehopper

Have you ever known a hat guy? The treehopper is the hat guy of the animal kingdom. Its usual “go-to” headgear is an unobtrusive green number. If you didn’t notice it was attached to its head you might think the treehopper was just a humpy little bug instead of a tremendously odd little bug.

Relatively reasonable.

Relatively reasonable.

Not all its hats are so subtle.

RImage  FRENCH GUYANA - SEPTEMBER 2005: Bocydium globulare, fullface. The sensory hairs or sensillae around the little balls may act as a warning for the insect by capturing air vibrations when any predators approach. (Photo by Patrick Landmann/Exclusive by Getty Images)

This is just too much.

Special powers

Some of these crazy hats have certain advantages. The hairy globes above serve as a disincentive for anyone considering eating the treehopper. Its antler hat gained it access to the hottest deer club in town.

“I don't see your name on the li-... Oh I'm sorry, sir. Welcome to Salt Lick.”

“I don’t see your name on the li-… Oh I’m sorry, sir. Welcome to Salt Lick.”

Weaknesses

It calls socks “foot hats.”

The treehopper’s more elaborate hats have drawbacks in terms of mobility.

The wings just seem overly optimistic here.

The wings just seem overly optimistic here.

Number of legs

Six.

Is it secretly balding?

I don’t know for sure, but it has to be, right?

Choice Wikipedia Quote

“Distinguishing males from females is accomplished only by looking at the genitalia.”

What if it fought a bear?

It would lose.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

It’s not intrinsically wrong to be a hat guy. But there’s limits, and the treehopper does not recognize them. It will go full Duchess-of-Chiquita-at-the-Kentucky-Derby, regardless of whether the venue is appropriate for it.

Dial it back, treehopper.

Like, a lot.

Like, way back.

 

2/10

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Dementor wasp

Dementor wasp

I’ve said before that we here at Rate Every Animal don’t often cover current events. But sometimes there’s huge news in the animal world that can’t be ignored, and this week is one such time. A newly published report reveals 139 new species that have been discovered in the Greater Mekong region.

They include the color-changing thorny toad as well as new kinds of coral, bat, moth, and stick insect. Today, though, I’d like to talk to you about the dementor wasp.

May I have a moment of your time? (Photo: Michael Ohl/Museum für Naturkunde/WWF)

May I have a moment of your time? (Photo: Michael Ohl/Museum für Naturkunde/WWF)

The dementor wasp is named after a Harry Potter thing. I was more of an X-wing novel kid and I only ever saw the one movie where they go camping and a little bit of the one where one of the Harry Potters finds the Ryder Cup in the hedge maze from The Shining, so I don’t know much about that.

possible dementor (UNCONFIRMED)

Is it this one? Is this it?

Special powers

The dementor wasp’s favorite thing to do is sap other insects of free will, using its venom to make its prey into a “passive zombie.” That’s not my exaggeration; that’s in the words of the World Wildlife Fund.

Weaknesses

As a brand-new animal, there are still some glitches in the user interface, but most can be solved by a quick manual restart until the patch comes out.

Number of legs

Six.

Romantic ties

I heard the dementor wasp likes Karen as more than a friend.

What if it fought a bear?

We’ve only just discovered the dementor wasp. We don’t know how vulnerable the bear would be to its zombifying venom, but the last thing we need is a soulless undead bear. We must ensure they never meet.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The dementor wasp is a figurative monster. And its name is super-nerdy.[1] But it is fearsome and looks pretty cool. And hey, it’s still in beta, so we can assume its rating will only increase with time and refinement.

 

 

7/10

 

 

 

 

[1]If you disagree, why don’t you name your next child “Dementor?” …That’s what I thought.

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Blister beetle

Blister beetle

Only one animal was used in the creation of the world’s first stink bomb, and it wasn’t the skunk despite what it claims. It was the blister beetle, a.k.a. Spanish fly, a.k.a. Boss.[1]

Special powers

The blister beetle secretes cantharidin, a poison that causes blisters.

Weaknesses

It secretes cantharidin because it has no conscience and doesn’t care who it hurts.

Number of legs

Six.

Nemeses

The blister beetle has no enemies any more than it has friends. We are all just objects to its mind.

sociopath

Sociopath.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear hates blisters. It won’t bother with this beetle.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The blister beetle may feel nothing for or against me, but I consider this sociopath my foe.

 

 

1/10

 

 

 

[1]It is called this by every single customer-facing male employee it meets. Even the judge at the blister beetle’s arraignment called it that.

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Praying mantis

Praying mantis

As one might guess, the praying mantis is very religious. Exactly what old god it prostrates itself before is known only to itself and to its victims when it whispers this secret just before biting their head off.

Special powers

The praying mantis is an expert in camouflage and cleanliness.

found you

I was lucky to find it and take this picture.

It is also very, very good at murder.

Weaknesses

The mantis is a Level 150 Nexus Paladin in its religion. That sounds impressive[1] until you hear that some of its peers at church are nearly Level 300. Don’t ask the mantis about it, though. Even hearing your question will taint the mantis’s aura with negativitatrons.

Number of legs

Six.

Fierceness factor

High.

Mating rituals

The female is larger than the male. It often starts eating the male immediately following coitus, as is its religious right. It is a voracious user of Tinder.

What’s its astrological sign?

Alibi. This is folded into its own belief set – how I don’t pretend to know.

What if it fought a bear?

It is a bug, and thus squashable.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The mantis doesn’t look so much like a real creature as it does concept art for a somewhat implausible movie alien. That’s pretty cool, if a little scary. Fortunately any fright is mitigated knowing that (a) it is far too small to bite my head off, and (b) we’re Facebook friends so I won’t come up on its Tinder.

That secretive religious stuff and all the murdering and cannibalism, though. That’s sketchy as all get out.

 

 

4.5/10

 

 

 

[1]If that’s the right word.

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Boll weevil

Boll weevil

The leaf-rolling weevil isn’t the only creative mind in the weevil family. While it writes for television and rolls leaves, the boll weevil specializes in ghostwriting lyrics for popular musicians and eating cotton.

Special powers

It’s real good at eating cotton.

boll weevil

Too good, some say.

There’s also the songwriting thing. It has contributed lines to many famous artists.

Drake:

“I watch Thundercats and think of you.
Think of you
Think of you
‘Cause you look like Cheetarah an’ you cheat wit’ Ira.
I see you driving in that Buick Lucerne.
You’re too good for a car with only a three-power-circle J.D. Power rating, girl.
I hope you know it.”

Modest Mouse:

Well we JUMped uUP O-ver the moOOn. And cauught our owwn tAIl.
And kept it in a CAUFfin. Of our OWN de-SIGN.
BUT ALL THESE JUNKYARD DOGS ARE SINKIN
A GREAT BIG CRAB STOLE ALL OUR JOB
WELLLLLL WE NEVER MET THE PEEEOPLE THAT WE WERE
IF YOU’RE CALLIN’ THAT A TROPHY THEN I’LL EAT A SACK OF SHIT
AHAHAHA.
AHAHAHA?”

The Hold Steady:

“She used to party on drugs that she bought from Jimmy and Shakey.
She got drunk and passed out; now everything’s aching.
Some townies came by in an ATV and offered ’em rides.
Jim said you can almost see heaven if you turn on the brights.”

Lil Wayne:

“Real Gs move in silence like lasagna.”

(The Gs refer to “Garfields.” This was a subtle jab at Tiny Wayne, a rapper looking to usurp Lil’, whose favorite comic character is Nermal.[1] Tiny Wayne quickly passed out of public consciousness as people could only barely hear his wee little voice.)

Jimmy Buffett:

(The boll weevil collaborated with Jimmy Buffett on the songs “Two Sandals and a Guitar,” “Pineapples on Mosquito Gulf,” “Beach Bumming,” “Heart of a Pirate, Soul of a Poet,” “Sunshine Soup,” “The Captain’s Daiquiri,” “Papaya in San Juan,” “I Wanna Dance With The Equator,” “Put A Lime In It,” and “Boat Drinks.”)

Weaknesses

Pesticide and patricide.

Number of legs

Six.

Circumstances of birth

The boll weevil is born inside a cottonball and eats its way out, just like that dream I had.

Does it have a monument named after it?

There's the plaque

Yes.

Related sports teams

The University of Arkansas at Monticello plays sports under the name of the boll weevil, and aren’t you jealous?

What if it fought a bear?

Little known fact, the bear is made of a kind of strong cotton and the boll weevil will tear that thing up.

Is it noble?

Moderately.

Final rating

The boll weevil has accomplished a lot for a little bug. It’s actually kind of too bad its son will kill it.

 

 

6.5/10

 

 

 

[1]“Noooo,” Tiny Wayne is often heard to say as he opens the newspaper, “not Abu Dhabi again. You deserve a thousand Mondays, you cruel beast.”

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Cicada killer

Cicada killer

The cicada killer is named the cicada killer, and that’s rude. Specifically, it’s rude to the cicada. Like, what’s your name? Jennifer? Is your name Jennifer? Imagine if you met somebody named Jennifer-Killer. You wouldn’t get along.

bzzz

Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing Jennifer

Special powers

Like any given wasp, the cicada killer has a stinger.

Unlike the average wasp, the cicada killer carries a switchblade. Cicada killer’s a blade man, man.

It can blow bubblegum bubbles really well.

Weaknesses

The cicada killer is frequently targeted by the velvet ant (street name “The Cow-Killer”), which will lay its egg in the nest of the cicada killer so its newborn can kill and eat the cicada killer’s children. Preying on a predator, the velvet ant is sort of like nature’s own “Dexter” from the hit TV show “Dexter,” but more messed up.

Don't push his buttons

Dexter and his dark passenger.

Number of legs

Six.

Wikipedia Talk Page Theatre

In which a twist arrives late in the tale:

“The testmaster saw some of these before. They are ginormous. They fly around like crazy and almost fly into you like they are trying to attack. I was so scared that I ran to my car (this was before the testmaster got a DUI). Testmasterflex

Drink of choice

Michelada, served in a hollowed-out carapace.

What if it fought a bear?

It’s the cicada killer, not the bear killer.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The cicada killer is the best at what it does, and what it does is kill cicadas and chew bubblegum – and it has a lot of bubblegum. If you need any, just ask; it will gladly give you some.

But despite that generosity, the cicada killer is still something of a one- to two-trick pony, where its main trick is killing a creature and its whole family.

 

3/10

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Hornet

Hornet

There are many wasps in this world. The hornet does not seem at first blush to be a remarkable one. But that’s because the first time you’re blushing at it, you don’t yet know about its successful restaurant business.

Special powers

The hornet is a very successful restauranteur. Below are just a few of the signature menu items at the hornet’s restaurant, sqüeeze.

 

APPETIZERS

 

Clams A l’Orange

Octopus Hearts A Cappella

Braised Duckling Feet in Bernaise Madoff

Chicken Finger and Pork Wing Platter

Chowder of the Day

Deep-fried Pork Belly Sliders

Honey-smoked Nacho Zingers

Pan-seared Orlando Salmon Flip-floppers

Beer-soaked Tequila Balls

 

MAIN

 

Sierra Nevada Battered Tilapia Cones

Re-pickled Goose Butt in Udon Alfredo

Goat‘s Nodes a la Larry King

Barbecue Onion Nublets in a Cider Glaze

The Rabbit‘s Gambit

Chef’s Trio (pigeon, robin, and gerbil hog-tied to the railroad by a fiendish rogue with a list of demands)

Chicken-Fired Travel Cup Gravy Guzzler

Desultory Land Mussels In An Air Salt, Rock Salt, and Fire Salt Embalming

Sun-Dried Filet of Stork Leather On A Bed of Bone Marrow Salsa

Surf ‘n’ Turf (Angus steak and a skewer of Collin shrimp, with Steve potatoes prepared your way)

Turf ‘n’ Surf (our classic Surf ‘n’ Turf, in reverse)

East Virginia Brisket Splinters Drizzled With Hyper-Butter

Crisis on Infinite Turfs

Tarragon-Dashed Brussels Sprout Pockets Parmaggiano

Fair Trade Techno-Organic Cyber-Salad

Decanted Reducted Infused Disembodied Thai Peanut Un-Vapor

Slip-off-the-bone Rybz: An Authentic Simulacrum Sprinkled With Bacon-Inspired Protein Krunches®

Genuine World-Famous Sink Chunks

 

DESSERTS

 

Wasabi Rice Sorbet With One Fist-Sized Almond On Top

Barrel-aged Vanilla Mint Session

Vanilla-crusted Cedar Plank Barrel (serves 20)

Crème Braise Frisson Brulet Fraîche

Fudge-Sized Personal Pan Cereal-Style Marshmallow

LA KISS Presents Terminal Cancer By Chocolate

 

WINE

 

2012 Mad Australian Cabernet: A patois of plum and reveille, with notes of fetid armories.

2005 Bitches’ Gumbo Red: The wine of an illiterate, served in the commemorative Yoda cup of an imbecile.

2011 Chateau du Monde: A generous flim-flam, reconstituted and coronated for a new generation.

2009 Latverian Riesling: Supple with the piquant brine of a beloved janitor’s lanyard. A revelation for the trained mustache palate.

2008 Art Brut White: Connoisseurs of Grandmother’s dustiest cupboard will detect a hypothesis of marsh jewels.

2011 Grandeur Merlot: A tickle from a consumption-stricken youth born into wealth, followed by an afterthought of shame.

2008 Pellegrino: Heightens the senses, unseats the powerful, walks on the ceiling.

2001 Fellini White: The cast of J*A*G spits in your mouth.

2004 Greble Chardonnay: A resplendent slurry of false memories of vegetables that never were. Finish of Game of Thrones spoilers.

2002 Really Nice Wine: A really nice wine.

Weaknesses

The hornet is vulnerable to gasoline, napalm, dynamite, and missiles. This is not a comprehensive list.

The mortal hornet

The hornet can be physically destroyed.

Number of legs

Six.

Do I own a Beanie Baby of it?

No.

What if it fought a bear?

As there are no honey-based disagreements between the hornet and bear, they have no quarrel.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

I know people like the hornet’s restaurant, but I just don’t get it. Sorry.

 

 

7/10

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Tortoise beetle

Tortoise beetle

The tortoise beetle knows your secrets.

When intelligence operatives talk about sweeping a room for bugs, it’s bugs like the tortoise beetle that they’re talking about. Many bugs are nosy, but the tortoise beetle takes snooping to another level.

Special powers

The tortoise beetle is so good at spying, it even has information on the CIA, and we here at Rate Every Animal have the exclusive scoop on what it has found.[1] Specifically, it has discovered an internal document that details CIA plans for its future tweets, such as:

  • “Don’t tell anyone but sometimes we hide our most sensitive secrets in Pharrell’s big hat.”

  • “Trust us, we listened in to all of that foreign national Borat’s calls. We learned a lot about… HIS WIIIIFE!”

  • “Our unofficial motto is: And you shall know the truth and the truth shall get in one little fight and my mom got scared. She said you’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel Air.” (note: more than 140 characters. Can we apply for an exemption? Look into it.)

  • Could we get “drone’d” trending as a synonym/replacement for “pwned?”

  • “bae: come over

    me: I can’t

    bae: Osama bin Laden is here.

    me: *leaves roadrunner style dust cloud*”

  • “Kill list? Nah, all we’ve got is a trill list! ;)”

  • Intelligence suggests Grumpy Cat could be paid to pose for photographs. Maybe do something with that?

  • “I can haz South American #coup?”

  • “Waaaaaassssuuuuup! Remember? Like in the commercial? I can only feel anything any more by torturing a human being.”

Rarely, a golden tortoise beetle will be born. The golden tortoise beetle is said to grant wishes to those precious few lucky enough to discover it. This has never been confirmed by science, but a living bug made of metal would certainly seem to be magic of some kind.

Weaknesses

The tortoise beetle is still using MS-DOS at home. It pretends it’s making a statement and that it’s better somehow, but everyone knows it’s just scared to try to learn a new system.

Number of legs

Six.

Did I find something mentally scarring in a University of Florida article about the tortoise beetle?

Yes, and here it is.

tortoise beetle larva's anal fork

Guess what it’s for. Nope, just as gross though.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear can smush the tortoise beetle in normal circumstances. One made of gold, however. That might be enough to chip a tooth.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The tortoise beetle is quite attractive for an insect. It also violates everyone’s privacy on the reg. Fortunately, it doesn’t usually release those secrets, but then again it told me all about the CIA’s twitter. It’s probably best to stay on its good side.

 

10/10

 

 

 

[1]Eat your heart out, Julian Assange.

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Silverfish

Silverfish

This animal, this silverfish, is the worst thing to ever be made of silver. Most of the time something is only made out of silver if it really seems worth making. That calculus never entered into the creation of the silverfish.

Special powers

It’s not all bad, of course. Being made of metal, it is one of the most durable insects around. And it’s good with cross-stitch.

Weaknesses

The silverfish is a commitment-phobe and social coward. Science has studied its methods for avoiding obligations of friendships and ending relationships entirely, and discovered another fifty ways to leave one’s lover, in addition to the first set enumerated by Dr. Paul Simon. Some of these new entries include:

1. Text her, Dexter

2. Start a G-chat, Matt

3. Hit unfollow, Waldo

4. Call a conference, Hortense

5. Make up a story, Corey

6. Pretend you’re sick, Nick

7. Take the fire escape, Snape

8. Resort to defenestration, Nathan

9. Use a decoy, Troy

10. Fake your own death, Beth

11. Tie hundreds of balloons to your pants, Lance

12. Hide in the trash, Ash

13. Become a hobo, Joe

14. Be a huge jerk, Dirk

15. Walk into the sea, Lee

16. Snap into a slim, Jim

17. Fall in a latrine, Gene

18. Say you lost a bet, Rhett

19. Replace yourself with a robot, Scott

20. Walk like you got crab knees, Dabney

21. Ride a T. Rex, Lex

22. Take the form of a bat, Pat

23. Buy a full-page color ad, Brad

24. Tell her in rhyme, Jeff

25. Hold court, Voldemort

26. Go screw, Andrew

27. Jump up your own butt, Helmut

Besides being a bad friend and worse romantic partner, the silverfish is shiftless and physically feeble.

Number of legs

Six.

Favorite video game

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Online presence

The silverfish accesses the Internet solely through apps. It uploads Vines of its meals as they’re cooking (usually Ramen mid-boil), takes Instagrams of ceiling fans, and tweets vague statements of emotion with excessive ellipses.

silverfish

“So I guess it’s like that today huh…………. I don’t need this anyway………..”

What if it fought a bear?

It would run away, Faye.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

Even the worst fish (that deceitful, mate-absorbing ol’ racist the anglerfish[1]) is better than the silverfish.

 

1/10

 
 

[1]Until I come across a worse fish. It’s like Taken said in The Phantom Menace, “There’s always a worse fish.”

 
 

Programming note: This blog will take off one to two weeks, but will return with our big 150th review spectacular. Stay tuned!

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Flea

Flea

Not all blood-sucking parasites who feature in circuses are clowns. Some are the flea.

flea in profile by Robert Hooke

“Am I a clown to you?”

The flea circus is the premier live show for insects, by insects. Cirque du Soleil transitioned to human entertainment when it couldn’t hack it in the flea circus’s shadow. Acts include Teddy the Ant with a Mane, The Amazing Web Line Dancers, Cuonzo the Tattooed Moth[1], Bug Gallagher, The Living Ball, The Stilt Bug, Aldus the Larger-Than-Normal Mite, and The Literally Flying Pelluccis. The goliath beetle got its start in the flea circus lifting extremely heavy things like cup lids and coins.

Special powers

The flea’s incredible feat is leaping high into the air. Well, high in relation to how small it is. It can not jump higher than me, for example, due to my extreme height advantage. What I’m trying to explain is that the time it beat me in basketball was a fluke.

The flea is also a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It loves California and funking out, not necessarily in that order.

Weaknesses

The flea sucks blood from other creatures in order to survive. It is a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

what the peppermen say

Did you know the famous RHCP logo is an anus? Maybe put a sock on THAT next time, fellas.

Number of legs

Six.

Drink of choice

It craves BLOOOOOOD!

What if it fought a bear?

It has been fighting the bear for years, and the bear has not noticed.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The flea is a consummate entertainer and skilled bassist. It is also a profoundly obnoxious parasite and it made my hair itch just researching it. Even that means it has personally offended me more than most animals I review. This has nothing to do with it beating me at basketball that time.

 

3/10

 

 

 

[1]Sorry to blow up your spot, Cuonzo, but you’re obviously just a butterfly.

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