Welcome to the list of the UK’s weirdest insects!
While the UK may not best Australia when it comes to harbouring some of the feared and most dangerous insects across the globe, many might be surprised to hear that we do play host to a few weird insects.
Here at AMES, we’re always on the lookout for insects that offer a little more character, that’s why we’ve come up with our very own list of the weirdest insects we’ve come across during our travels! We’ve stumbled across everything from furry dragonflies to ruby-tailed wasps.
So, let’s crack on with our list!
7. Shrill Carder Bee
We’ll start with something slightly less inconspicuous – the Shrill Carder Bee. Yes, on first inspection, this bee may just look like any other bee however they’re slightly different to their bumblee bee cousins.
Shrill Carder bees are possibly our rarest type of bee and they’re known for their high-pitched buzzing sound. Unfortunately, the Shrill Carder Bee is down to only about seven populations across southern England and South Wales. Although, there is now a huge focus on keeping our bees happy, with some serious and successful conservation projects taking place across the country, our bees will hopefully live to fight (and pollinate) another day.
6. The Norfolk Hawker
Now for something slightly more intriguing. Dragonflies and damselflies both belong to the Odonata order and are definitely among the UK’s more glamorous insects.
Dragonflies and damselflies are known for their ability to hover in midair and swiftly change direction at any moment. The Norfolk Hawker follows this same movement pattern but is separated by its brown appearance. While it may sound somewhat dull, the Norfolk Hawker is one of only two hawkers found in Britain! It’s also one of our rarest dragonflies and one of the first to emerge in its season.
As you may have already guessed from its name, it is native to the marshes of Norfolk
5. The Ruby-tailed Wasp
You’re not alone if you think wasps are one of the most annoying insects to grace the UK. However, unlike our typical yellow and black terrors, the Ruby-tailed Wasp offers a slightly more appealing appearance. As the name suggests, this wasp is characterised by its metallic, ruby-red tail alongside a myriad of other pearlescent colours including blue and green.
Unlike the Norfolk Hawker, there are many Ruby-tailed Wasps across the UK. However, the issue is that they’re incredibly hard to tell apart, even for an expert! Some are incredibly rare and are classified as a Priority Species. If you have seen one, you’re incredibly lucky, and we’d love to post it on our site, so send it to us here!
4. The Garden Tiger Moth
Moths aren’t exactly the most elegant or beautiful insects to grace the UK. Moths, for the most part, are known for chewing through clothes and looking generally dull. However, the Garden Tiger Moth breaks this trend. This is one of the UK’s most colourful and dare I say it, beautiful moths.
The UK plays host to over 2,500 species of moths but unfortunately the Garden Tiger Moth has suffered a massive 92% population fall over the last 40 years. Experts believe that the warm, wet winters have reduced the survival chance of the moth during its caterpillar stage.
If you’ve been lucky enough to see a Garden Tiger Moth, please send your photos to us for a chance to get featured on our site!
3. Stag Beetle
Stag Beetles are well-known over the globe, but I bet you didn’t think you’d find one in the UK!
Stag Beetles can grow up to 90mm and the males are characterised by their antlers (they’re actually called mandibles) which can grow as long as their body! This makes them the largest land beetles in the world.
The larvae can take several years to develop, so if you’re looking to have one, you might not want to get rid of that rotting wood in the garden. They emerge during the start of summer (May/June) and only live for a few weeks! Their primary goal during this time they will be searching for a mate.
2. The Ladybird Spider
Getting its name from the ladybird, the Ladybird Spider is definitely one of the most exotic spiders found in Britain. It is a very rare and protected species which was actually thought to be extinct for over 70 years until it was rediscovered in 1980!
However, despite this miraculous rediscovered, its population is still so small that it can be literally counted on your hands.
These are usually found in sand dunes, under leaf litter, stones and even old bird nests. They are very rarely seen due to both their secretive nature their small size. It feeds on tiny creatures such as mites and springtails, using their claws to paralyse their prey and suck out their tissue… grim.
While they may look like scorpions, they’re actually tiny invertebrates that closely resemble scorpions. The main difference is that they lack a stinging tail. There are 26 species of pseudoscorpion living in the UK, 12 of which are quite common! One of the species (Cheridium museorum) can genuinely be found in old libraries where they feed on book lice… amazing!
Are there any insects you have seen that could rival our weirdest insects? Maybe you’ve discovered a species that we’ve yet to uncover? Leave a comment below or send us a picture of what you’ve found during your travels across the UK. We look forward to hearing from you!
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