Extreme Bugs!

(image credit: Nick Currie)

It’s time for our latest installment of Extreme Bugs! This time we will focus on what we consider to be the world’s most “unique” bug. Granted, this was no easy task as God’s entomological creation does not lack for creativity and vast selection!

In fact, according to Encyclopedia Smithsonian, insects are the most diverse group of organisms; some 900 thousand different kinds of living insects are known. That’s a lot of bugs!

After much deliberation and careful thought, we chose Bocydium globulare or the Brazilian treehopper. This little guy is just a marvel of weird! It looks like some sort of helicopter insect from an alien planet. That’s why we love it!

Treehoppers (Membracidae) are related to the cicadas. There are over 3000 species of treehoppers, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Their most unique feature is the helmet, which comes in a variety of interesting shapes and sizes.

The amazing antenna-like round helmet on our Brazilian treehopper is certainly eye-catching! While they actually look like eyes, they are simply ornamental and scientists are unclear as to their function. They speculate that it might deter predators or provide additional sensory input.

Other than looking like an out-of-this-world alien bug, the treehopper is a fairly normal little insect. It enjoys a solitary life in the treetops, munching on leaves.

The image in the top left is a beautifully crafted model by the legendary science sculptor Alfred Keller (1902—1955). Here’s a couple of actual photos of the wacky treehopper:

The Brazilian Treehopper

The Brazilian Treehopper

Pretty wild, huh? Which do you think is the most unique bug in the world? Share with us in the comments section; we’d love to hear from you!

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