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Most of you are well aware of our stance on nature here at Cracked: We're against it.

It's scary, it's weird and it keeps trying to kill us. Mother Nature is the world's greatest supervillain, and her cruelty is only outweighed by her deviousness. Sure, none of the diabolical predators below will hurt you personally--that we know of--but just imagine what some of the poor victims go through when these crazy-ass organic ninjas strike.

The Glow Worm Cave

Imagine that you're a moth in New Zealand (please, as if you weren't already). You're whirling around in the dark one night, thinking moth thoughts--how much you like light, you wish you had some light, isn't light great--when you accidentally blunder into a cave. No worries, happens all the time. You don't exactly have GPS here; you're just a stupid moth. So you turn right around and hey! There's the sky right there! I guess you weren't in a cave after all! Isn't being a moth great?

You spread your wings and spiral up, up into that sparkling sea of stars... and smack your face right into one.

Oh god, did you finally do it?! You did! You flew towards the sky-lights so hard that you actually reached it!

You turn to flap away to brag to your moth friends back home, but something is pulling you back. As you're hauled up into the heavens themselves, your last sensation is of something long and slimy chewing its way into your sides.

Considered a stunning tourist attraction by us humans, the dazzling lightshow of the Glow Worm Cave is more like a lesson in nature's callous brutality. What appears to be the fanciful twinkling of the night sky there is actually the dangling mucus strands of fungus gnat maggots illuminated by colonies of bacteria.

The ropes of maggot phlegm operate on the same cunning principle as your porch light, confusing nocturnal insects who navigate by the light of the stars and moon. Once they feel a tug on their festive blue boogers, the maggots reel in the trap, eat the bug and then lower it again once they're done. So yes, it's a wonderful, magical destination; go ahead, grab the whole family to take a gander at H.P. Lovecraft's Carnivorous Christmas lights.

Blister Beetle Grubs

You're a male Habropoda pallida, a type of solitary bee, and we're all very impressed that you're using the Internet right now. But let's play pretend, shall we? Let's say you're out there flitting about in nature, when you happen to glance down and spot a female. You bumble* your way down in typical horny bee fashion to show that honey* what a stinger can do (we don't really understand bee anatomy; the stinger is the penis, right?), but something's not right. It feels different. It feels... wrong.

*Yes, those were bee-based puns, and yes, you're welcome.

That's because you just boned a giant blob of hairy, squirming, baby-eating worms. But... why? Do bees even have tequila? Why on Earth did you do that?

Because broods of the parasitic blister beetle, Meloe franciscanus, fooled you: They clumped together in approximately the shape of a female bee, and then released a pheromone to entice presumably wasted bees with low standards buzzing their way home from last call.

So while the bee tries in vain to find a vagina in a ball of worms, the grubs latch onto his fur and stay there until the next time he mates with an actual female, at which point they'll transfer to her body and hitch a ride back to the bee nursery, free to feast upon the helpless infants within.

So in summation: Meloe franciscanus are, essentially, living parasitic STDS. You couldn't have a worse sexual experience if you went down on C'thulu against a dumpster in the alleyway behind a crackhouse. You ruined sex for everything, Meloe. Thanks a lot.

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Portia Spiders

So you're lounging around in a freshly-built web one day--just chillin', hangin' out, all bein' a spider and shit--when you feel the telltale struggles of a delicious little victim. As you prepare to pump your squirming dinner with venom, something goes terribly awry; the "trapped" bug easily scurries out of view, and you feel a pair of tiny fangs sink right into your ass.

O, irony!

Wait, is that irony or does that just suck? You don't know. You don't understand complicated English concepts; you're just a damn spider. Or at least you were.

Now you're dead.

You ran afoul of the Portia spider, and it's not really your fault that it totally kicked your ass at being a spider. See, the Portia displays more brainpower than was ever thought possible in an insect. Each individual Portia employs their own unique and vast arsenal of dastardly impersonations to trick, ensnare and consume their prey.

A Portia spider might strum a pattern on a strand to impersonate the buzzing of a fly caught in another spider's web, while a different spider of the same exact species might opt to catch a real fly to throw in the web and, while the prey spider is distracted, sneak up behind it. It may pretend to be inanimate by moving only in the wind, it may observe and duplicate another spider's entire mating ritual or sometimes it might even build a complete web of its own that attaches to its victim's, thereby creating a trap out of the spider's own trap.

Jesus, Portia, there's being clever and then there's just being a dick.

Portia spiders design a new tactic for every individual spider they hunt, noting the prey's species, behaviors and circumstances before formulating their plan of attack. The Portia spider is so ingeniously murderous, it makes the Joker look like a furious mongoloid with a sledgehammer.

Don't believe us? Think we're exaggerating?

Hell, maybe you're right. Maybe you should tell us. Maybe you should click to leave a comment in that little box down there... .*

*Cracked Industries has recently merged with Portia Inc., and by reading this notice you acknowledge and waive all legal right to complaint arising from any and all comment boxes that have been secretly replaced with hungry spiders.

Photuris Fireflies

You, sir, are a firefly. Yes, you're a firefly this time. You're a male firefly to be specific, just emerged into a cool, breezy, moonlit summer meadow. Crickets are chirping, frogs are croaking and the trees sigh softly in the wind. What's that light? Ah! Of course, the tell-tale flashing pattern of a beautiful young lady to share your evening with. You venture forth, a song in your heart and a merry lilt in your flight-path.

Too bad she's just going to rip your heart out.

No, you're not just being bug-emo; she is literally going to rip your heart from body and devour your intestines if you fly over to have sex with her.

"Can't we just cuddle? Maybe a handjob?"

Some female fireflies go out at night hoping to find the same thing we all want: Just a little lovin' and maybe a chance to pass on our genes (or the very least some new strange that'll let us do the weird stuff). But a select few of those hotties--you know the ones, just hovering there, blinking like skanks--are actually traps: They're really females of the Photuris genus, who answer the signals of entirely different species in order to seduce, slaughter and devour their menfolk.

Oh, snap! Mothafucka got Ackbar'd.

This deviant behavior not only serves to feed the femme fatales, but also helps to control the numbers of competing species for their offspring and, to add insult to injury, they also absorb their prey's defensive toxins for their own benefit. In some cases, Photuris devote so much time to perfecting their Siren song that they lose their own distinct signal. Often male Photuris end up having to imitate other species themselves, just to get close to the female. So while she's expecting a hot meal, all she's getting is a super-size portion of humpin'. It's basically the firefly equivalent of the porno pizza guy.

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The Cobra Lily

So you're flitting through the swamp one day, just doing what flying insects do--looking for food, a mate, somebody's head to fly into and annoy--when you catch sight of a distinctive red leaf in the sea of otherwise monotonous green. Like a hypnotic beacon, it leads you ever downward, all the way into a tight, hairy little tunnel that smells just a little odd.*

*Some things are too easy, even for Cracked.

So you finally get deep down into that sweet, sweet tunnel action--expecting to reap the appropriate rewards--only to find yourself suddenly stumbling about in a stagnant pool of corpses. Hey, we've all been there, right? No big deal; as long as you get out before the cops arrive, that's just a bad weekend and a life lesson learned: Never trust hairy stank tunnels.

Hairy stank tunnels are the plant kingdom's version of a big butt and a smile.

But when you turn for the nearest sunny exit, you bounce right off it. So you try another opening. Oop, you bounce off that too. You buzz around the mocking chamber for hours, nowhere to rest on the slick walls and a watery grave below...

"What? So my guts are a drowning pool of rotting corpses. You look fat in that dress. We all got problems."

A single species in its own special genus, the Cobra lily is one of the world's most unusual carnivorous plants, having evolved to toy with its victims like a flesh-eating house of mirrors. Its only true opening is secretively tucked beneath its serpentine hood, while its insides are lined with dozens of transparent windows. Any fly who enters is going to waste all of its energy banging its head on the walls until it collapses from exhaustion in the fluid-filled pool below, where symbiotic bacteria slowly break it down into plant food. Sound familiar? That's because it's the insect equivalent of the thing that ate Boba Fett at the end of Jedi.

Assassin Bugs

So you're a termite patrolling the tunnels of your colony when one day you stumble upon a dead body just sort of dangling there. You sigh wearily: That's an obvious health code violation. And since some evil bastard forgot to give you hands, you clamber up there, silently curse the wicked god that made you grab corpses with the same part of your body that you taste with and prepare take out the trash the only way you know how. But the second you bite down, something long, sharp and horrible slams clear through your body, and starts to boil you from the inside out...

You've just made the acquaintance of an assassin bug: A diverse group of predators who impale prey on straw-like mouthparts and pump them full of digestive enzymes; sucking out their innards like an Organ Slurpee (the second to worst flavor behind banana) and leaving behind a practically unmarred, but entirely empty exoskeleton.

Like spiders, these vampiric fiends employ a whole range of unusual hunting tactics--some cover themselves in sticky plant juices to both attract and ensnare their victims, some live in partnership with carnivorous plants, while still others camouflage their spiny bodies in dust, debris or even the corpses of past prey.

That's right: They wear the corpses of their victims like clothes. The animal kingdom has found its Buffalo Bill.

The termite assassins utilize a unique two-part cloaking technique to hunt their prey: First, they cover themselves in bits and pieces of the termite mound itself, rendering them essentially invisible. Now that they can come and go as they please, they wait near a convenient opening for a worker to wander too close, devour it and then dangle the corpse just inside the nest to attract more termites. As soon as another insect latches onto the body for disposal, it gets hauled up, slaughtered and added to the trap which, counter-intuitively, becomes more effective as the number of corpses increase... because apparently termites operate on horror movie logic.

"Dear God it's terrifying! Wait here while I go check it out."

Jonathan Wojcik has a lot more to say about bugs, parasites and even weirder creatures on his own website, Bogleech.com.

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If you're glad you aren't an insect, then maybe you should check out the animals that have no qualms about killing humans in The 6 Deadliest Creatures (That Can Fit In Your Shoe) and The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You.

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