Insects are one of the most diverse groups of animals present in the world, with roughly more than half of all species on our earth being insects. Scientists estimate that there are 1.8 million different known species of insects present in the world, and that there might be as many as 30 million. There are some amazing facts about insects known to science today, for example, at any time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion individual insects alive. Recent data indicate that there are more than 200 million insects for each human on the planet. The combined weight of all the insects in the world is 12 times greater than the weight of the entire human population.
Well, with so many of these little creatures, it is simply very difficult to come up with top 13 fastest flying insects, because there is still a whole world of these little wonders out there waiting to be discovered, not to mention that insect flight remains a poorly studied topic. Scientists are still struggling to understand the flight abilities of insects by using various methods and latest equipments, like state of the art high-speed cameras. Only time will tell us the more mysteries about these tiny but some of the most successful organisms present on this planet. Here are top 13 fastest flying insects in the world.
13. Desert Locust
33 km/h (21 mph)
It is a species of locust in the family Acrididae. Desert locusts are considered as one of the most dangerous pests, thanks to their incredible ability of flying. Even small swarms can fly up to 200 km in a single day consuming enough crops to feed about 35,000 people. The largest known swarm was about 40 billion individual insects, which is a world record. Desert Locusts are so destructive that crop loss by these insects has especially been noted in sacred books of Quran and Bible.
12. Asian Giant Hornet
40 km/h (25 mph)
With a body length of about 2 inch, Asian Giant hornet is the largest hornet in the world. It is also very powerful flyer having ability of flying up to 100 km in a single day. These hornets contain high levels of pain-inducing compounds and Masato Ono, the world’s expert in the Asian Giant Hornet, describes what it feels like to be stung by one as “a hot nail through my leg”. This specie feed on other smaller insects and bees. Amazingly, only 30 Japanese giant hornets (which are subspecies of Asian giant hornet) can destroy entire hive of 30,000 European honey bees.
11. Southern Dart
48.44 km/h (30.1 mph)
It is a kind of butterfly known as Skipper. It has several names i.e. Greenish Grass-dart, Green Grass-dart, Southern Dart or Yellow-banded Dart. This skipper Butterfly is found in the Australian continent. It is a very fast flyer with a top speed of 30.1 mph.
10. The Common Cleg
50.4 km/h (31.31 mph)
It is also called pale giant horse-fly. It has a body length of about 25–30 mm. It is a member of family known as Tabanidae, of which 4,500 species have been described from around the world. Its genus is called Tabanus, which consists of blood sucking flies including this specie. The common Cleg has very colorful compound eyes. Like mosquitoes, these flies are also harmful to humans.
9. Death’s-Head Hawk-Moth (Acherontia atropos)
54 km/h (33.5 mph)
Death’s-head Hawk moths consists of three species. These moths have skull-shaped pattern on their thorax. These moths are very powerful flyers with ability to fly for long distances. Its unique appearance earned it a place in the painting of artist William Holman Hunt, known as The Hireling Shepherd, along with horror novel Dracula and in numerous movies.
8. Southern Giant Darner
56.3 km/h (35 mph)
It is a species of dragonfly endemic to the continental Australia. Dragonflies are very powerful fliers, often regarded as helicopters of the insect world. It was claimed that the Southern Giant Darner flying at nearly 60 mph (97 km/h) in a rough field measurement, but a more reliable record shows a 35 mph speed. We need further research to confirm flight speed of this dragonfly.
7. The Regent Skipper
60 km/h (37 mph)
It is the 2nd fastest flying butterfly in the world. Found in Australia, it is the only member of genus Euschemon. Skippers are very fast butterflies which skip from place to place with very fast wing movement. There are more than 3500 species of skippers found in the world.