5Tiger Moths Create Sonic Illusions
To understand the superpower of the tiger moth, you have to understand its predator, the bat. Bats, when not striking fear in the hearts of criminals everywhere, are true marvels of nature. First, studies show that bats are actually more efficient and agile fliers than birds.
Aside from actual tigers, what can this guy blend in with?
And bats of course also have one of the most sophisticated sonic detection systems in the animal kingdom, pinpointing bugs in the pitch black of night with ultrasonic waves. It's these astounding abilities that make bats the unstoppable hunters in the night that they doubtlessly are.
They should make a superhero out of that.
Tiger moths, while potential bat prey, are one of the few creatures that can detect the high-frequency projections of bats, so they know when they're coming. But rather than go running away, they simply jam the signal. Now, if you think they're just screaming really loud so the bat can't hear, that certainly is part of it. But that wouldn't qualify as a superpower.
Though looking like a prostitute's underwear helps its case.
No, what's amazing is the moths will make fake echoes off of nonexistent objects. Basically, they can make bats see things that aren't there with sonic illusions. A bat could be flying around and then all of a sudden: "Holy shit, what is that? Break right! Break right!"
Scientists, of course, have been eager to study the tiger moth's powers. In one study they -- following the tried and true scientific motivation of "shits and giggles" -- pitted bats against moths in gladiator-style death-games to see just how good the moth really was. The outmatched bug managed to screw up the bats' sonar senses despite being tethered, crippled and pitted against three bats at once.
4The Ironclad Beetle Lives Up to Its Name
What is the greatest weakness all insects have in common? They can be crushed. Bug spray might not kill everything. Some pests aren't fooled by the soft glow and relaxing hum of a bug zapper. But at the end of the day, a well-placed boot is logically pretty much the only weapon you'll ever need to defeat a raging insect.
Well, logic, you're in for disappointment when you happen to stomp on the ironclad beetle. It will scoff at your puny efforts.
"Piss off, buddy."
This slow-moving, bird-crap-camouflaged insect has two distinct powers. The first is thanatosis, which sounds like a kick-ass comic book doomsday weapon but is really just a science-y way of saying that they like to play dead. In fact, these beetles play dead so well that jewelers in Mexico decorate and sell them as living bling.
"Aww, a giant insect permanently disfigured by cheap rhinestones and a hot glue gun! He totally gets me!"
Perhaps more importantly, though, the ironclad beetle has what amounts to the hardest exoskeleton of any arthropod in existence. They are, for all intents and purposes, the tanks of the insect world. And yes, you can literally step on one and the damage you do is likely to be precisely jack shit. So it'd be like if a person was strong enough to withstand being stood on by Godzilla.
It took a whole platoon of U.S. Marines to bring this guy down.
And get this: you know those insect collectors who like to impale things with pins and put them in little display cabinets? Those guys have to use drills on ironclad beetles, because you can't get a pin through them without power tools.
Oh, and they also have grittier cousins called, no kidding, diabolical ironclad beetles, whose appearance is not unlike a demonic murderer's black heart set on six legs.
"I am the last thing you see before you die."