10 Creepy Endangered Bugs You Shouldn't Squish

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It's easy to want to save endangered species that are adorable, and most of us can even find something sort of cute about the ugly ones -- but when it comes to saving spiders, flies, and beetles, not many people raise their hands. Still, just because these creatures had the bad fortune to be born looking creepy to many humans doesn't mean they aren't important to the environment.

Goliath Bird Eating Spider

Take this guy: Just the name Goliath bird eating spider is enough to conjure up nightmares for anyone with a fear of giant insects (the biggest specimen on record was more than 11 inches across, which is about the size of a dinner plate). And though the venom of this member of the tarantula family isn't lethal to humans, it does have another painful technique: According to Extreme Science, it can flick tiny hairs at people and animals it considers a threat, and those hairs can irritate skin or cause bigger problems if they're ingested. This spider gets the latter half of its name from a reputation for stealing small birds from nests, though the Goliath also eats frogs, bats, lizards, and even small snakes. Photo via Virgin Media

Spruce-Fir Moss Spider

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The spruce-fir moss spider isn't nearly as big as it looks in this photo -- they range in size from about .1 to .15 inches -- and that makes it much tinier than its better known cousin, the tarantula. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the spruce-fir moss spider builds tube-shaped webs between rocks and moss in the spruce-fir forests of North Carolina and Tennessee, but since they need the conditions to be just right (not too wet or too dry), and since the forests have dwindled in size in recent years, this endangered spider faces its biggest threat from habitat loss. Photo via US Fish and Wildlife Service

Fen Raft Spider

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If you're an arachnophobe who comforts yourself with the mantra "At least I'm safe in the water," then you might want to avert your eyes from Britain's fen raft spider, a .8-inch-long spider that makes its home in fens and marshes. ARKive says that instead of building a web, they are comfortable hunting over open water -- using leaves and plant stems as temporary watch points, and then attacking by running across the surface tension of the water. Worldwide, this spider has only been found in three parts of the United Kingdom; since they weren't discovered until 1956, the reasons for the small population are unclear, but biologists suggest the decline in the number of wetlands that provide their habitat. Photo via Dear Kitty

Kauai Cave Wolf Spider

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In Hawaii they call this spider the pe'e pe'e aka 'ole, but to the rest of us it's the Kauai cave wolf spider, a 3/4-inch long arachnid that, unlike other wolf spiders, has no eyes. Like the fen raft spider, it chases down prey and catches it instead of building a web, and it depends on the endangered Kauai cave arthropod for food. The female lays as many as 30 eggs at one time and carries the baby spiders on her back until they are old enough to fend for themselves. As humans take over the country's caves for development and agriculture, the Kauai cave wolf spider population has dwindled, says Earth's Endangered. SLIDESHOW: Incredible Blind Animals That are Hardly Senseless Photo via Southeastern Outdoors

Katipo Spider

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You only need to worry about coming across the endangered katipo spider on the beaches of New Zealand -- that's the only place in the world where they live -- but when you see one you want to steer clear. The katipo is a widow spider with a bite that's painful (though generally not fatal). The females have a black "pea-sized abdomen," according to the Museum of New Zealand, with a red stripe that crosses the abdomen, and "a red hourglass shape on the underside of the abdomen." The males have more white, but they're not as dangerous: Only the females have fangs big enough to bite humans. Photo via E2NZ

Blackburn's Sphinx Moth

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Anyone who has ever opened a closet in the spring to find an entire wardrobe of sweaters holey from months of moths knows how much of a pest these little winged insects can be. But the endangered Blackburn's Sphinx moth doesn't exactly qualify as "little," with a wingspan of up to five inches. Native to Hawaii, the moths were considered extinct until a new population was discovered in 1984 -- since then, however, they've been the victims of habitat loss and newly-introduced predators. Two more small groups of the moths have been found on Maui. Photo via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Salt Creek Tiger Beetle

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The Salt Creek Tiger Beetle is a .5-inch-long beetle that models its attack after the much bigger tiger, grabbing other insects with its mandibles, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They make permanent burrows for their homes, but are found only in eastern Nebraska -- and in 2005, only 153 adult beetles remained. Photo via National Geographic

Frigate Island Beetle

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The inch-long Frigate Island beetle is the kind of creepy-looking bug that you'd be inclined to smush if you found it in your house -- but since it's critically endangered, you'd be doing the world a disservice They're also only found on the island of Fregate in the Seychelles -- making finding them in your garage unlikely. Though the beetles have survived a recent influx of people and development -- and an infestation of brown rats that find them tasty -- scientists are still developing conservation efforts that include breeding programs and "rat eradication." Photo via WebEcoist

Red Barbed Ant

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Although the red-barbed ant lives all over Europe, its small distribution on the Isles of Sicily and a nature reserve in Surrey make it the United Kingdom's rarest animal, according to ZSL Living Conservation. A victim of habitat loss and development, the ant has benefited from breeding programs that have brought up more than 20 colonies, but is still considered endangered in Great Britain. Photo via The Guardian

Delhi Sands Flower Loving Fly

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We spend so much time swatting away flies in the summer that it's hard to imagine any of them being endangered, but that's the case for California's Delhi Sands flower-loving fly. The fly feeds on nectar (similar to a hummingbird) and lives in the sandy soils of the eastern Los Angeles Basin, and its habitats are being turned over for urban development projects in massive numbers: Berkeley reports that only 3 percent of the original sands are still bare. Photo via National Geographic