For those newly arrived to the Bullhead City area in the Colorado River Valley, the creatures large and small that inhabit the desert can be a little unnerving. This is especially true for folk that have migrated from the north country.
But in comparison, these critters pale to insects and bugs found in other parts of the world. One example is the scorpion fly. It has the appearance of a grotesquely blended wasp and scorpion.
But as with many desert dwellers looks are deceiving. Dominating the head is what appears to be a beak. But his only used for scavenging. The tail that looks as dangerous as that found on a scorpion is simply for display during courtship.
As they are native to the rainforest of Central and South America it is not likely that you find one here in the deserts of western Arizona. That is a good thing as the Hercules beetle is quite intimidating. At seven inches in length it is one of the largest insects in the world.
Another creature common to South America is the assassin caterpillar. Looks can be deceiving. Unlike the scorpion fly this insect is beautiful in appearance, and deadly.
Its powerful venom is responsible for a number of deaths each year. The larvae has tiny spines that release a toxin which is highly poisonous to humans. The infected person will experience gangrene type symptoms, and blood seepage that eventually affects the brain.
The toxin has an anti-clotting property. As a side note this one reason that this is one of the most studied caterpillars in the world as scientists look for medical applications.
Also native to South America. the Titan beetle at six and a half inches long is one of the world’s largest beetles. Even though they are not very aggressive their hiss and size can be intimidating.
But they are not benign. The body has sharp spines that cause welts. And the large, powerful jaws can a pencil or finger as well as cut flesh.
Bullet ants are another South American monster. Up to an inch long they are aggressive and their feet secrets a glue like substance that allows them to attach to almost any surface. They inflict what is claimed to be the most painful bite in the world transmitted by an insect. The pain can be an intense burning sensation that last for twelve hours or more.
When it comes to frightening and deadly insects Australia is king. The thirty five species of Australian funnel web spider have toxins that are so deadly a human can be killed in fifteen minutes.
The Sydney funnel-web spiders are large, aggressive and with rear facing fangs that can pierce a fingernails, frightening. An antivenom was developed in 1981. Before that date these spiders were responsible for numerous deaths annually.
But be it scorpions, odd beetles, oversized ants, an array of spiders or something more menacing, for folks living in Bullhead City or the Colorado River, the professionals at Baron Services are just a phone call away.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America