The glasses may be fake. But the corduroy is all too real. Please to enjoy the video presentation of The Japanese Giant Hornet.
And for the text-dependent:
The Giant Japanese Hornet.
Sometimes called The Giant ASIAN Hornet by those who tend to be less specific in their characterizations.
Sometimes called The Giant ORIENTAL Hornet by those who tend to be a little racist.
To understand the life cycle and habits of this bug means you will need to reconnoiter your mind for everything you think you know about insects –retrieve every snippet and factoid, everything you believe to be true about insects and bugs and all manner of harmless little crawly things one finds under a rock. For real – all that stuff you mistakenly believe you know about bugs, round up, take it out back and burn it, because The Giant Japanese Hornet defies every expectation, violates every convention, flouts every natural law you could name.
In the larval stage, The Giant Japanese Hornet is the size of a fingerling potato. Twenty minutes after hatching, it grows to the size of a canned ham. When they reach adulthood – like an hour later – they have eyes the size of manhole covers, their legs are as big around as fire hydrants, and their thorax is comparable in size to some third feature of the municipal landscape familiar to you but which I cannot now call to mind. A bus shelter, maybe? Doesn’t matter. Point is, these are atypically large creatures.
It is worth noting, after all that we refer here to The JAPANESE Giant Hornet. Japan, like many island ecosystems around the globe, is home to a number of uncommonly large species, including The Japanese Giant Salamander, The Japanese Giant Spider, Mothra, and of course the fearsome Rodan.
Now, you may be protesting: “And what of Godzilla? You have neglected to mention Godzilla!” Slow down, nerd.
This misapprehension pops up with baffling frequency, and I feel obligated in interrupt myself to emphasize: Godzilla isn’t real. Godzilla is the metaphorical embodiment of man’s technological hubris run rampant. To be frank, I have always been at a loss as to why the Japanese felt compelled to devise Godzilla at all when Mothra and Rodan roam the earth, literally pulverizing Japanese cities to actual dust, but there we are.
But back to The Giant Japanese Hornet.
To humans, the diet and means of predation The Giant Japanese Hornet is especially brutal. They fly great distances in search of food – up to sixty miles per day – and when an individual locates a meal, they will deposit a chemical marker upon it, retrieve other members of the colony, and attack in a swarm of overwhelming force. Given their brute strength and the toxicity of their venom, this is a murderously effective predator. They are equipped with a stinger that is not barbed, so they can sting repeatedly, like Ebert in his review of the recently released “Kick Ass” – I mean, meee-YOW.
Perhaps the saddest part of their ruthless hunt is their prey: The Japanese Giant Hornet feeds exclusively on a diet of baby ducklings. Little, tiny, helpless baby ducklings, that are just as cute and sweet and innocent as they can be. Testing has demonstrated that if the ducklings are extra fuzzy and peeping in that way they have that just about breaks your heart, well then The Japanese Giant Hornet is over twice as likely to eat them. In short, the cuter the duckling, the more vicious the attack. Sometimes? It’s just flat out murder.
If, for example, a baby duckling were sitting quietly on a steel table, nearby Hornets would attack it about 60% of the time. If that same duckling were to be found frolicking with his brothers and sisters, tumbling out of a basket onto the grass in a heedless and joyful manner, peeping in that way they have that just about breaks your heart, well then they are as good as dead. Any Japanese Giant Hornet catching sight of this adorable tableau will instantly be seized by an overpowering bloodlust and will wipe out the whole basket of ducklings with a jaw-dropping swiftness that makes the fire-bombing of Dunkirk look like a eating Skittles on porch swing.
And here’s the kicker: they LOOK RIGHT AT YOU, these Hornets, as they are devouring adorable, flightless ducklings. Entomologists in both field conditions and in laboratory settings report that the Hornet will, when engaging in this sickening display of avian dismemberment and evisceration, meet the gaze of observers with their dead, soulless eyes in what researchers from the University of Osaka report is “an insolent manner” and that “specimens seemed to be defying research personnel to stop them”.
This, we believe, is the first recorded instance of a non-human subject in the natural world, pulling what the lead biologist on the project called “a dick move”. He continues: “and I mean seriously, not just any dick move but a WILLFUL and MEAN-SPIRITED dick move for NO GOOD REASON. They didn’t even EAT all the ducklings. They just killed them. And I could swear they were smirking at us when they did it.” Chilling stuff, indeed.
Current theory holds that the Hornets are not merely aware of nearby researchers, have come to recognize that researchers will not intervene, and that even if they were inclined to do so, they live in fear of the enzyme in the Hornet’s saliva that can dissolve human flesh, causing excruciating and unsightly lesions.
They are also known to be nature’s most effective identity thefts. I cannot stress this enough: IF YOU RECEIVE AN EMAIL FROM A JAPANESE GIANT HORNET, DO NOT OPEN IT.
Dr. Simon Pendragon of the University of Kansas at Lawrence attempted during field work on Yagishiri Island to intervene verbally in a swarm of Hornets engaged in a gruesome duckling massacre. Later that day, the colony had cleaned out his checking account. Attempts to implicate the Hornets have thus far proven impossible, but the species is widely known to be sophisticated hackers.
And they make this like sucking noise when they chew? Makes you berserk in like two minutes. And you do NOT want one for a roommate – they leave wet towels on the floor and they’ll use up all your coffee and not replace it, and plus? They will try to kill you in your sleep. If they’re not committing insurance fraud, they’re peeing in your sock drawer.
While it may constitute a violation of my scientific pledge to strive for objectivity, I feel compelled to say it: Japanese Giant Hornets are totally, totally uncool.