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Word Power: How well do you know your insects?

By August 30, 2019January 23rd, 2023FinGlobal

Word Power: How well do you know your insects?

August 30, 2019

Love them or hate them, insects are vitally important to the continued health of our ecosystem. South Africa is home to a wide diversity of insects. If you think you know everything about South African insects, take this proudly South African quiz and see how well you do.


Facts about insects: insect quiz



  1. What is the world’s strongest insect?
  2. What insect lives as long as 2 years underwater?
  3. What insect uses the Milky Way to navigate and orientate itself?
  4. How many insects in South Africa are edible?
  5. What edible worm is regarded as a great delicacy in Southern Africa?
  6. What is one of the fastest insects?
  7. What insect can live for weeks without its head
  8. What insect has hair on its eyeballs?
  9. What insect eats its mate?
  10. What insect makes up part of the African Small Five?


  1. The horned dung beetle is found in South Africa and is able to pull an incredible 1.141 times its own body weight, which is the same as a 70kg man lifting six full double-decker buses.
  2. The dragonfly. Dragonflies lay their eggs in water and when the larvae hatch, they can live underwater for up to two years.
  3. Dung beetles are the only insects to use the Milky Way to navigate and orientate themselves.
  4. South Africa is home to the largest diversity of edible insects – with more than 500 species being regarded as edible. The most commonly eaten insects are caterpillars, termites, crickets and palm weevils.
  5. A mopane worm is a caterpillar that feeds on the leaves of the Mopane Tree. These worms are picked from the tree and their innards are carefully squeezed out. Afterwards they are dried in the sun and either smoked or boiled. They are also preserved in cans.
  6. The common fly beats its wings up to 200 times a second and is regarded as one of the speediest insects.
  7. Cockroaches are creepy for many reasons, but one reason is the fact that they can live for weeks without their heads – and they can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes under water, so don’t think that flushing them down the loo will kill them!
  8. The common honeybee has the best eyesight in the insect world and the fine hair on their eyeballs helps them to pick up and transfer more pollen as well as tell what direction the wind is blowing from and the humidity in the air.
  9. Female praying mantises eat their mates (although the male, if he is strong enough, can defend himself and survive). In fact, some females will eat the heads of the males even before mating!
  10. The ant lion is part of the small five. It is an insect whose larvae dig pits to trap ants or other prey. The adult insects are less well known and commonly referred to as dragonflies. The ant lion larvae create holes in the soil and when a small walking insect like an ant walks over it, the ant lion larvae grabs it and pulls it underground and sucks out its juices.

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