Mental Floss

Ugly Bugs

Miss Cellania
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A wolf spider looks much more menacing when you stare him in the face. This image by photographer Steven Flanagan gets up close and personal. I wonder if he can see us with those eight eyes as well as the camera sees him!

Continue reading for bugs that take prizes for ugliness.

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The Oklahoma Microscopic Society has an annual Ugly Bug Contest. The contest for 2008 begins in August. This Dobsonfly, submitted by Sulphur Elementary, was featured in the Live Science article World's Ugliest Animals.

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Screw worm larvae (Cochliomyia) burrow into any available food source, such as livestock, and cause maggot infestation. The USDA came up with a control procedure that involved breeding huge numbers of Cochliomyia that were sterile, and releasing then to compete for mates. Fruitless mating led to vastly reduced numbers of screw worms. Insert your own punch line.

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As beautiful as butterflies and moths are to human eyes, under a microscope they can scare the daylights out of you! This image of a pyralidae moth was taken with a scanning electron microscope. Note the retractable tongue.

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Allomerus decemarticulatus, a type of Amazon ant, builds traps to snare and then dismember other insects.

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Dust mites are normally about half a millimeter long, and can be seen with a magnifying glass if the light is right. But you don't want to see them in your home, even though you know they are there!

See also:
Delightful Insects of Summer
Honeybees: Master of Utility
Ugly Jugs

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