Wildlife Informer is reader-supported. When you click and buy we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 of the Strongest Insects on the Planet!

When people think of strength, they tend to think of bodybuilders, superheroes, and animals with incredible displays of power. However, the realm of strength isn’t just limited to the world of large animals, and you’ll be amazed to find out that despite being some of the smallest animals on Earth, there are some of the strongest insects that boast strengths in ways that go against the laws of physics. 

8 Strongest insects

In the following list we will learn about some examples of these insects and the incredible capabilities of these interesting creatures. 

1. Dung Beetle

Dung beetle insect
Dung beetle | image by John Knight via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Scarabaeidae

Dung beetles have earned their reputation as the most powerful insects on Earth. As their names suggest, these creatures primarily consume feces through various methods, such as rolling them into balls, burying them in any available location, or even sustaining themselves by directly living off of them. 

You’ll most likely observe these animals in habitats such as deserts, grasslands, and savannas, as well as in farmlands and both native and planted forests since these environments are home to numerous herbivores. If you want to know how strong this type of beetle is, it can pull around 1,141 times its own weight. 

2. Leafcutter Ants

Leafcutter ant
Leafcutter ant | image by U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Atta cephalotes

The leafcutter ant, a species endemic to South and Central America, and some parts of the southern United States, is well-known for its incredible strength. If you watch closely, you might even see them returning to their nests with pieces of leaves that they tore off with their jaws. 

These leaves are then fed to the fungus, the primary food source for the leafcutter ants. This ant can lift twenty times its own body weight, a necessary skill for moving various parts of leaves into its underground nest. 

3. Ironclad Beetle

Diabolical ironclad beetle
Diabolical ironclad beetle | image by jen via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific name: Nosoderma diabolicum

If you are searching for an insect with outstanding strength, capable of enduring even the impact of a car running over it, then the ironclad beetle might be the creature you are looking for. Incredible as it may seem, this species won’t budge no matter how much weight is being applied to it—up to nearly 40,000 times its own. 

You’ll find them in the trunks of oak trees, which is where they like to live. Unlike other species of beetles, which have rounded bodies, ironclad beetles have flat bodies, which is one of the reasons why they’re so difficult to kill. Some people even refer to them as a tiny tank with six legs.

4. Asian weaver ant

Asian weaver ant
Asian weaver ant | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Oecophylla smaragdina

Asian weaver ants are arboreal, meaning they build their nests in trees rather than underground like most other species of ants, and their nests are made of leaves that are held together with their larvae’s silk. By cooperating as a colony, these insects are able to consume a wide variety of arthropods for food. 

They’re able to carry weights that are more than one hundred times their own body weight while in an inverted position on a flat surface. They accomplish the task thanks to the adhesive pads on their feet.

You may also like:  How Do Butterflies Communicate With Each Other?

5. Rhinoceros Beetle

Hercules beetle
Hercules beetle | image by Didier Descouens via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific name: Dynastes hercules

Some rhinoceros beetles can reach a length of six inches, making them some of the largest and strongest beetles you’ll encounter. Although they may appear intimidating due to their size, these creatures are actually harmless to humans. They prefer hiding under logs or blending into vegetation to camouflage themselves from predators during the day. 

These species have the remarkable ability to carry loads up to 850 times their own weight, and they primarily use this power to immediately avoid and escape from potential threats and dangers that may come their way. 

6. Honeybees

western honeybee
Western honeybee

Scientific name: Apis mellifera

Honeybees have gained popularity worldwide because of their ability to produce honey, which happens to be one of the most beloved treats among humans. Through their diligent efforts, they also contribute to the overall well-being of the entire ecosystem.

These pollinators play a crucial role in maintaining the health and balance of the environment by actively pollinating a diverse range of plants. Honeybees are among the strongest and most well-liked insects due to their ability to transport nectar, accounting for nearly half their body weight. 

7. Cockroaches

American cockroach
American cockroach | image by Len Worthington via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Periplaneta americana

Many people may not consider cockroaches to be their favorite insects, but it’s undeniable that they have incredible strength and resilience. These species typically inhabit human habitats, where they conceal themselves in warm and humid crevices near food sources.

They also have an incredible ability to withstand forces that are up to 900 times their own body weight. This remarkable characteristic allows them to avoid being easily killed or crushed by objects that weigh less than 2 pounds. 

8. Trap-jaw ants

Trap-jaw ant
Trap-jaw ant | image by Jean and Fred Hort via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name:Odontomachus 

Trap-jaw ants are predatory insects with incredibly fast and powerful mandibles, capable of catching even the fastest prey. They communicate through vibrations and sounds to work together and defend their territory, making them one of the most successful and adaptable ant species.

Sources:

  • “Oecophylla smaragdina – Asian Weaver Ant”, J. H. K. Ian, Wiki.nus, August 25, 2020, wiki.nus.edu.sg
  • “Ironclad beetles offer a lot to learn for engineers and entomologists”, B. Wallheimer, Purdue University, March 15, 2021, ag.purdue.edu