Top 10 most rare insects in the world (2024): Are they poisonous?

Top 10 most rare insects in the world (2024): Are they poisonous?

Insects are the most diverse group of living organisms and comprise the world's largest biomass. It is estimated that there are 900,000 insect species (80% of global species) and several others that are yet to be named by science. About ten quintillion individual insects are alive at any moment. Despite their huge biomass, there are rare insects that can only be found in certain parts of the world.

World's rarest insects
Collage of a Karner Blue Butterfly, Land Lobster, and Ladybird Spider. Photo: BobGrif on Getty Images, @janschramm2 on Twitter, Paul Starosta on Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: UGC

You may hate insects like cockroaches and mosquitos because they spread diseases and love butterflies because of their beauty, but all insect species are crucial in balancing the ecosystem. They help keep the planet in check through such activities as soil aeration, pollination, energy cycling, and decomposition.

What is the rarest insect in the world?

What is the rarest bug? Rare species are scarce organisms that are infrequently encountered and are sometimes classified as threatened or endangered. The following are the world's rarest insect species, according to

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10. American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)

Rare bugs in the world
The American Burying Beetle feeds on carrion. Photo: Jason Ondreicka
Source: Getty Images

American Burying Beetle (also called Giant Carrion Beetle) is found in Texas, Rhode, and several regions in the Midwestern US. Their bodies are shiny black with orange markings. The beetles are carnivorous and feed on carrion. They can smell dead meat from up to two miles away.

The insect's natural habitat overlaps with oil and gas industry operations. It was listed as an endangered species in the late 1980s due to near extinction and was later downlisted to a threatened species in the United States in 2020.

9. Hine's Emerald Dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana)

Rare bugs
Hine's Emerald Dragonfly is an almost extinct dragonfly species. Photo: Bookguy
Source: Getty Images

Hine's Emerald Dragonfly is an almost extinct dragonfly species scattered in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada. They have green eyes, a dark metallic green thorax with two creamy-yellow lateral lines and distinctively shaped terminal appendages. Their wings become smoky before they die. Hine's Emerald Dragonflies are endangered and legally protected insect species in the USA and Canada.

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8. Karner Blue Butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuels)

Rarest insects in the world
A Karner Blue Butterfly is an endangered species. Photo: BobGrif
Source: Getty Images

Karner Blue Butterflies are scattered in New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. They live in relatively rare ecosystems, including oak savannas and pine barrens, and their survival depends on the blue lupine plant. They have been listed as an endangered species since 1992.

7. The Panda Ant (Euspinolia militaris)

Rarest insects
A panda ant is a type of wasp that resembles a panda. Photo: Marc
Source: UGC

Panda ants are mainly found in Chilean sclerophyll forests, and a few have been spotted in the southern US and parts of Mexico. Despite its name, the species is not an ant but a type of wasp. They have black eyes and a white head, while the rest of the body has black and white spots.

6. Hornet Robberfly (Asilus crabroniformis)

Rare bugs
A Hornet Robberfly is one of the UK's largest flies. Photo: Mark Horton
Source: Getty Images

Hornet Robberfly is found in Southern England and South Wales in the United Kingdom. It is one of the UK's largest flies, with an approximate body length of up to 2.5 cm. It has a brown thorax and black abdomen with yellow markings. Its similarity to a hornet helps to protect it from predators.

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5. Delhi Sands Flower-loving Fly (Rhaphiomidas terminatus abdominalis)

Endangered species
The Delhi Sands Flower-loving Fly was the first fly to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Photo: Westernrca
Source: UGC

Delhi Sands Flower-loving Flies are found in Delhi Sand Dunes regions of Sand Bernardini and Riverside counties in Southern California. They are orange-brown with transparent wings and dark brown oval spots on the upper side of the abdomen. The fly is a nectar feeder active around August and September, during which they feed and reproduce. It was listed as endangered in 1993, making it the first fly to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.

4. Canterbury Knobbled Weevil (Hadramphus tuberculatus)

Rare insects
Canterbury Knobbled Weevils are sound in New Zealand. Photo: Albatross
Source: UGC

The Canterbury Knobbled Weevil (also called Spaniard weevil or Banks Peninsula speargrass weevil) is a rare bug found in the tussock grassland at the foothills of the Canterbury region in New Zealand. It has a dark-brown body with greyish-brown scales and bumpy ridges on its back.

The insect was considered extinct in 1922 before being rediscovered in 2004. Their population is about 138 adult weevils, and they are listed as critically endangered species.

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3. Giant Lacewing (Polystoechotes punctata)

Rare bugs
A Giant Lacewing was rediscovered in eastern North America in 2012 after being considered extirpated in the 1950s. Photo: Rincón Curioso
Source: UGC

The Giant Lacewing is a rare insect from the Jurassic Era, mainly found in North and Central America. It was considered extirpated in eastern North America in the 1950s, but one was rediscovered about 50 years later in 2012 at an Arkansas Walmart. Giant Lacewings have a wingspan of about two inches across.

2. Ladybird spider (Eresus sandaliatus)

Rarest bugs in the world
A ladybird spider resembles a ladybird. Photo: Paul Starosta
Source: Getty Images

Ladybird spiders got their name because of the arachnid's male bright red bodies that are covered in black spots. The females have jet-black bodies. The species are mostly found in the United Kingdom. They were considered extinct in the mid-1980s before a few of them were rediscovered in Dorset in Southwest England.

1. Land Lobster (Dryococelus australis)

Rarest bug in the world
A Land Lobster is considered the rarest insect in the world. Photo: @janschramm2, @dyknimalfacts on Twitter (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Dryococelus australis (also called Lord Howe Island stick insect/phasmid or tree lobster) is considered the rarest bug in the world. They were once an abundant species on Lord Howe Island in Australia but disappeared after a shipwreck introduced black rats in the region in the early 1900s.

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What is the most beautiful insect in the world?

Picasso Bug (Sphaerocoris annulus) from tropical Africa is one of the most beautiful bugs in the world. Its colourful appearance can be compared to Picasso's paintings. Other beautiful insects are the Orchid mantis, Chrysina aurigans, and the Rosy Maple moth. Insects usually have different colours and patterns for protection, camouflage, and mating.

Beautiful bugs
A Picasso Bug from tropical Africa is one of the most beautiful insects in the world. Photo: Chris Minihane
Source: Getty Images

What is the rarest flying insect?

One of the rarest flying insects is the Delhi sands flower-loving fly (Rhaphiomidas terminatus abdominalis). The flies are an endangered species, with only about 2% of the original habitat remaining due to urbanization.

What is the most exotic insect?

Exotic insects have unusual physical features. The most unusual bugs include Goliath Beetles, which can measure up to 4 inches in length, making them the largest beetles in the world. Giant Stick Insects are long like sticks with tiny wings, while the male Hercules Beetles (Rhinoceros beetles) have horns.

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Unusual bugs
Rhino beetles have horns. Photo: MaZiKab
Source: Getty Images

What is the smartest insect?

Honeybees are considered the world's most brilliant bugs because they are socially cooperative, have efficient working methods, and have sophisticated communication methods. Other clever bugs are farmer ants, which are known to grow and harvest food.

Brilliant bugs
Honeybees are considered to be the smartest insects. Photo: Brenda Snape
Source: Getty Images

The above rare insects are only found in select geographical regions, and you may need to travel there to see them. They are all crucial to the planet's ecosystem.

READ ALSO: List of research institutions in South Africa highlighted research institutions found in South Africa and their role. Mzansi has several facilities dedicated to conducting research in different fields of study, including medicine, environment, oceans, space, flora and fauna, and humanities.

South Africa is known for having some of the best research facilities on the continent. The country's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is Africa's largest premier R&D institute responsible for socio-economic growth through innovation.

Source: Briefly News

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