Some of the smallest creatures can be the most destructive living beings on planet earth. A handful of these destructive small creatures are responsible for millions of dollars worth of property damage. But property is not the only thing these creatures destroy. Some destroy life-giving crops, sending thousands of people to an early grave via starvation. Others, cause a sort of psychological destruction, where their annoyance has led people to become alcoholics and even cause structural damage themselves all in the name of dealing with the traumatic experience. And yet others terrorize humanity with their silent but deadly ability to transmit diseases to unsuspecting people with devastating results. Ranging from minor annoyances to nightmares of Biblical proportions, these are 11 most devastating tiny creatures in the world. Written by Theodoros II
It’s difficult to grasp how such a small creature can be so destructive, but rest assured, the mosquito is by far the most destructive creature on this list. Even though the mosquito is incapable of causing any significant structural damage, it more than makes up for this by infecting over 300 million people a year with Malaria and Dengue, two life threatening diseases. Furthermore, in the United States, mosquitoes are responsible for infecting over 30,000 people with the West Niles Virus since 2001; 1,200 of which have resulted in death. Currently, mosquitoes have gained the spotlight thanks to their contribution in spreading the Zika Virus, which has been linked to thousands of birth defects.
Though not destructive in the structural sense, Tsetse flies are estimated to be responsible for the endangerment of anywhere between 250,000 to 300,000 people annually. Tsetse flies are large biting flies that inhabit large regions of Africa between the Sahara and Kalahari Deserts. They live by feeding on the blood of vertebrate animals and are the primary African biological vectors of trypanosomes, which causes human sleeping sickness and animal trypanosomiasis, also known as nagana.
Beautiful and deadly the lionfish is also highly destructive. Native to the Indo-Pacific, the lionfish has established itself as a significant invasive species of the East Coast of the United States and has been described as “one of the most aggressively invasive species on the planet”. It aggressively preys on small fish and invertebrates and are territorial towards other reef fish. This poses a major threat to reef ecological systems which consequently could be experiencing a decrease in Atlantic reef diversity by as much as 80%.
BRAZILIAN WANDERING SPIDER
Brazilian wandering spiders, also called armed spiders or banana spiders, belong to the genus Phoneutria, which means “murderess” in Greek. And it’s no wonder why since this spider is one of the most venomous on Earth. Its bite can be deadly to humans, especially children, although antivenom makes death unlikely. For the record, the Guinness Book of World Records has named the Brazilian wandering spider the world’s most venomous multiple times.
Beavers have the potential to do great good or great damage to their environment. Their dam building habits have been linked to the beneficial creation of new habitats which benefit a variety of animals. On the other hand, this same behavior has led to some flooding and millions of dollars worth of damage annually. This figure includes their destructive impact on timber and agricultural crops.
A common house pet, rats are one of the most destructive vertebrates. For starters, when introduced into locations where rats previously did not exist they can cause a huge amount of environmental degradation. In fact, the black rat is considered to be one of the world’s most invasive species and has contributed to the extinction of many wildlife species including birds, reptiles, small invertebrates and even mammals. Aside from its invasive nature, rats are also know to carry diseases such as the bubonic plague, Lassa fever, leptospirosis, and Hantavirus infection.
The loathsome deer tick, now known as the black-legged tick, is defined more by the disease it spreads than by its own characteristics. These blood-sucking members of the arachnid family were brought to the public’s attention in the mid-1970s when it was discovered that they are the primary (and possibly only) transmitters of Lyme disease. According to the CDC, It’s estimated that about 300,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.
Fleas might be considered relatively harmless albeit annoying, but they’re among the deadliest bugs in history. That’s because their disease carrying nature is responsibly for the death of almost two-thirds of Europe during the Black Plague. Fleas are considered vectors, meaning they transport bacteria and disease from one host to another (e.g. the bubonic plague from rodents to humans).
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in the United States, ranging from 3.4 to 13 mm long. Similar to carpenter bees, carpenter ants are capable of causing damage to wooden structures. They cut spaces into the wood grain to form nests and provide passageways for movement from one section to the other. They do no eat wood so they’re not as destructive as termites, but their presence can still be a great nuisance for home owners.
Their wood eating habits place termites among the most destructive creatures on Earth. Many homeowners have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with the aftermath of a termite infestation. In Southwestern United States alone termites cause approximately $1.5 billion in damages annually. Though they may bite, these wounds are not toxic. Furthermore, termites are not known to carry diseases harmful to humans. However, people living in homes infested by termites may suffer from allergic reactions.
Locusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers. Normally these grasshoppers are innocuous, their numbers are low and they cause little economic threat to agriculture. However, under suitable conditions of drought followed by rapid vegetation growth, serotonin in their brains triggers a dramatic set of changes: they start to breed abundantly, becoming gregarious and nomadic when their populations become dense enough. They form bands of wingless nymphs which later become swarms of winged adults. Both the bands and the swarms then move around and rapidly strip fields and cause damage to crops. The adults are powerful fliers and can travel great distances, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles. Their sudden destruction of crops has led to famine and starvation.