The fastest running insect is the American Cockroach which can cover 50 of its own body lengths a second.

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Centipede Centipede feeding on a cricket
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Bug venoms and poisons pack a more powerful punch than you would expect from such small animals. Some bugs are venomous, some are poisonous and some are both.


Venoms are toxic fluids that must be injected to take effect. Venomous bugs use their venom to either kill or paralyse their prey, or to defend against attackers. They inject the chemical into the body of their victim using fangs or a sting.

Venomous animals will only use their venom when it is necessary. Scorpions, for instance, will not waste their venom on their smaller prey.

Humans that are bitten or stung by a venomous bug can experience breathing problems, skin inflammation, tissue damage and, in extreme cases, death. The most dangerous venoms for humans contain neurotoxins. They stop the brain’s messages from reaching the rest of the body, preventing the muscles from working and causing paralysis.

Centipedes are venomous. Their two front legs have been modified into pincers to inject venom into prey, such as insects, slugs, worms and occasionally small lizards. Their venom is not especially toxic to humans. A sting usually results in only minor pain and swelling. In fact, centipedes are eaten in some cultures and are an important protein source.


A poison is a toxic substance that must be eaten or absorbed through the skin to take effect. Bugs only use poisons for self-defence. They use it to either make themselves distasteful to a predator or to make the predator sick.

Some poisonous bugs manufacture their poison inside their bodies, while others eat poisonous plants to obtain the required chemicals. Touching a poisonous bug may cause human skin to blister. If the bug is ingested, it may cause death.

Millipedes are poisonous. They are herbivores, or plant-eaters, and don't have venomous fangs. They cannot hurt you if you pick them up and handle them, but you would get very sick if you ate one. Some millipedes are capable of producing a toxic fluid, but generally the only effect of this fluid is an offensive smell.

 Millipedes  Spiders
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Spider fangs, link to large image Spider fangs

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Hairy Caterpillar, link to large image Stinging hairs

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Millipede, link to large image Poison fluid
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