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Insects Were on the Ark

By Karl C. Priest November 13, 2010 (revised 12-30-13)

I love the cartoons of Noah, the Ark, and insects! They usually involve mosquitoes or termites. I saw one where Noah had a problem with the aardvark eating the ants. Another one show drops of rain splattering around Noah as he holds a magnifying glass over an object in his other hand and says, “We’ll shove off as soon as I can identify this insect.”

The last cartoon examples, though funny, reminds me of some of the asinine attacks by atheists regarding why they think (in their confused minds) Noah’s Ark was impossible.

Of course I will key in on what happened to insects during the Noachian flood. If you want to study further challenges to the veracity of Genesis chapters 6 through 8, I highly recommend the detailed book Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study by John Woodmorappe.

Some of the dumber skeptics dismiss the biblical Ark as being unable to hold the “millions” of insect species. For one thing, many species are merely a variety of a particular insect kind such as butterflies. Realizing that scientific fact decreases the amount of insects Noah would have had to consider had he needed to do so. Also, Noah would have been smart enough to just take eggs which would greatly lower the amount of cubic feet for insect “housing” had it actually been needed. See addendum #8.

Other, smarter, skeptics will actually read the Bible and think about the scriptural text. A few of them will also read some of the creationist thinking. They will admit that insects were not “flesh” as used in Genesis 6:19 and insects did not have the same type of life (breathing mechanism) as other creatures. So, realizing the “not enough space” argument is bogus, this brand of skeptic falls back on a claim that Genesis 7:21 says that “all flesh” (including that of creeping things) was destroyed. This gets us back to the classification of insects on the same level as other animals. (A little insight into this subject can be obtained from my article “Dragonfly’s Demise” and addendum #1 below.)

The most honest skeptics will argue that insects lacked the ability to survive a worldwide flood.

These more thoughtful scoffers point out that most insects could not survive for a year on floating debris. It’s sad that they are so devoted to attempting to debunk the Bible they close their minds to thinking about how it could have actually happened.

It would not be anti-biblical to allow for some species to not have survived the flood or to have gone extinct shortly thereafter. But, let’s think about the survival of insects.

Some could have survived for long periods in the air streams. This is not the ultimate survival technique, but it could have been helpful initially and the very concept is one that has not been studied extensively.

Many insects could have survived on floating vegetation and animal carcasses. TalkOrigins, the Internet arsenal for evolutionists, claims (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH511.html) that insects that feed on “animal corpses” would not have survived the Flood. That argument is bogus since it is a well known fact that a corpse floats and there would have been untold numbers of corpses after the Flood. Enough said on that subject.

The same webpage disputes the “vegetation mats” idea. In a short list of insects that could not survive a flood, TalkOrignis lists “dry wood” (sic) termites. I could use evolution “just-so stories” against them, but will just provide some scientific facts and let the reader consider the possibility of drywood termites surviving the Flood.

Can wood be absolutely moisture free? Referring to drywood termites we find, “Unlike the subterranean termite, they do not require any contact with the soil. They live in un decayed wood with a low moisture content.” (http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/termites/wood_destroying_insects.htm)

“Drywood termite colonies develop slowly. The entire colony may take five years or more to mature. Limited space and resources prevent them from even attempting the rapid growth of subterranean colonies.”
(http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/urban/termites/c_cavifrons.htm)

Evolutionists like to describe the wonderful ability of animals to adapt to a new environment. I prefer Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo’s terminology. Dr. Mastropaolo says, “God designed the DNA (and other genetic material) to yield a population with vast variation for each life form. Each individual carries the blueprint for the whole population so that if even one breeding pair survives, the whole population may be reconstituted. It does not matter whether conditions favor big dogs for several decades, then small dogs for several decades, then repeated in any pattern whatsoever, because every dog carries the plan for the entire population.”

Another pertinent scientific fact is that “Hundreds of insect species spend much of their time underwater, where food may be more plentiful.” (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080730155354.htm)

Then there is something called diapause.

In the words of an evolutionist:

“Many species of insects have “evolved” (Quotation marks are mine. See my article “Helping Evolutionists Get It Right”) a strategy called diapause. Diapause is a suspension of development that can occur at the embryonic, larval, pupal, or adult stage, depending on the species. In some species, diapause is facultative and occurs only when induced by environmental conditions; in other species the diapause period has become an obligatory part of the life cycle.

“Diapause is not a physiological response brought about by harsh conditions. Rather, it is brought about by token stimuli that presage a change in the environment. Diapause begins before the actual severe conditions arise.”
(http://8e.devbio.com/article.php?id=211)

More words written by a scientist not interested in propagandizing for evolutionism:

“Prolonged periods of dormancy are well-known among invertebrates.

“Some insects, such as the golden buprestid Buprestis aurulenta L., have an extended larval life. According to Linsley (1943), the larvae usually require from one to three years to complete their development, but Huguenin (1915) reported delayed emergence of specimens from structural timbers as long as 26 years after infestation. In a critical review, Smith (1962) presented 32 additional cases in British Columbia, with 11 of the cases being between 26 and 51 years.

“Diapause, as defined by Tauber et al. (1986), is a neurohormonally mediated, dynamic state of low activity that occurs during a genetically determined stage(s) of metamorphosis, usually in response to environmental stimuli that precede unfavorable conditions.

“Diapause lasting more than a year, also called “prolonged” or “extended” diapause, is known in many species of insects

“Barnes (1952), studying wheat-blossom midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), reported the emergence of Cantarinia tritici Kirby after the larvae had been in soil up to three years, whereas larvae of Sitodiplosis mosellana G‚hin spent as many as 12 winters in the soil before emergence of the adults. However, Powell (1989) reported the emergence of adults of the yucca moth Prodoxus y-inversus Riley (Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae), after prepupae spent 19 years in diapause.” (http://ufbir.ifas.ufl.edu/chap03.htm)

Evolutionists like to say, “We exist, so evolution happened”. Creationist can say, “Insects are here, so they survived the flood.” In this life we will not be able to know all of the details of how God worked it out for insects to survive the Noachian flood.

The bottom line is that atheists and evolutionists (not an oxymoron) do not like the implications of the side of God that displays His punishment for sin. They make up all kinds of scenarios to comfort themselves that the story of Noah and the flood was not an historical occurrence. The ulterior motive is to avoid facing a coming judgment for all of mankind. The issue of insects is one of the main arguments they use to shake their figurative fists at God.

Any Christian reader who fears being ridiculed for believing in a worldwide flood, as described in the Bible, should take a look at silly evolutionist beliefs in my articles “BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!” and “Helping Evolutionists Get It Right”. Insects really bug evolutionism and atheism!

So, however God orchestrated the insect survival of the flood, the obvious fact is that insects survived the flood. Most survived through natual processes that God established when He created insects. Some may have survied through God’s direct intervention—a miracle.

If the ark was without insects that came aboard on their own it would truly be a miracle. Just think about trying to make your house completely insect free. If you ever succeeded your house would not be a healthy place for you to live!

So, yes, insects were on the ark.

Addendum

1.
One of the arguments that insects differ from other animals is the way they breath. Without getting too detailed, here are a couple of aspects of that argument. Biblically, God certainly distinguished between living animals and plants.

“People and animals are described in Genesis as having, or being, nephesh (Hebrew), where nephesh chayyah is translated “living creatures,” and in Genesis 2:7, where Adam became a “living soul” (nephesh chayyah). Nephesh conveys the basic idea of a ‘breathing creature.’”
(http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v1/n1/genesis-and-justice#fnMark_1_1_1)

Couple that point with the next one and there is some basis to say that insects life differs from other animals.

“Insects and some molluscs use a fluid called hemolymph instead of blood, the difference being that hemolymph is not contained in a closed circulatory system. In most insects, this "blood" does not contain oxygen-carrying molecules such as hemoglobin because their bodies are small enough that their tracheal system suffices for supplying oxygen.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood)

It could be argued that the biblical context is the key with a separation of a soul (humans) to respiration (only) for animals.

For those who wish to study the matter (and educate me), here are some resources.

Concise definition

Detailed study

Handy tool

2.
Wood-dwelling termites, such as Cryptotermes secundus (Kalotermitidae) live in a single piece of wood that is both nest and food. This lifestyle is considered the ancestral state in termite evolution. (http://www.frontiersinzoology.com/content/4/1/7) Cryptotermes secundus is the drywood termite.

3.
Every floating log I have seen has about half of it above water. Here is some information about subterranean termites which has some bearing on this particular subject.

After termites had grasped on to something, Forshcler and Henderson dripped water into the plastic container and made some interesting observations. If termites were in galleries that were horizontal, termites would antennate (probe, feel or explore) the slowly advancing water and instead of attempting to flee, they would stop moving and allow the water to overtake them, becoming submerged. If termites were in vertically aligned galleries, termites would antennate the water and head up, toward the surface. But once the surface was reached, they would turn back toward the water. They would often repeat this process several times before stopping in the gallery and becoming inundated.

Forschler and Henderson very patiently found that termites could hold their breath for a surprisingly long time. It took over 19 hours to kill 50 percent of the Eastern subterranean termites (R. flavipes), but only 11 hours to kill 50 percent of the Formosan subterranean termites. Interestingly, if termites were allowed to forage in soil and then the soil was saturated with water, the LT50 of Eastern subterranean termite was 67 hours! They hypothesized that pockets of air in the soil sustained the termites.

But what are they doing with all that debris from the demolition of existing structures? Some states were forced to bury the debris or move debris to landfills outside the hurricane stricken areas. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see termite problems where they didn’t exist before, particularly with the Formosan subterranean termite.

Another invasive species to keep your eyes open for is the arboreal termite, Nasutitermes corniger. Although the Ft. Lauderdale home of this termite was hit hard during hurricane Wilma, I am uncertain as of this writing, if any debris containing this termite has been transported outside of the known areas of infestation. (http://www.flpestpro.com/archive/janfeb2006/termites.htm)

4.
Another area of interest is that some insects do not need much oxygen.

From Department of Entomology & Nematology at the University of Florida:

“This paper discusses how insects have adapted to low-oxygen environments… These insects generally obtain oxygen by diffusion of oxygen through the body cuticle into the tracheae where oxygen comes out of solution and can be more readily transported as a gas to the areas of need.

“Chironomids*, occurring in sediments of high organic matter and very low oxygen content, have been uniquely successful in exploiting these environments as a result of behavioral and physiological adaptations. The larvae and pupae of most species occurring in low oxygen sediments construct burrows and fixed tubes of sediments held together with silky secretions. Tube and burrow dwellers are able to ventilate their tubes with fresh water by dorso-ventral undulations of the body, thereby facilitating gas exchange during times of low ambient oxygen. In Chironomus dorsalis, tube height above the sediment bed has been shown to be dependent on oxygen concentrations, with larvae extend-ing the tubes above the sediment bed as oxygen concentrations at the sediment bed level decrease (Konstantinov 1971). Other species, such as C. plumosus, construct burrows within the sediments which are interconnected and ventilated in a mutualistic effort (Jonasson & Kristiansen 1967). The undulations, in addition to ventilating the tubes and burrows, draw in food from nearby organic sediments, thereby reducing activities related to food gathering. During periods of anoxia, chironomid larvae become inactive and some species are able to survive for extended periods of time. In a laboratory study of resistance to anoxia, Nagell and Landahl (1978) found that C. plumosus survived anoxic conditions about twice as long as C. anthracinus. The corresponding LT50 values were ca. 205 and 100 days. (http://ufbir.ifas.ufl.edu/chap20.htm)

*Chironomids (and midges) are a family of flies. (Karl)

5.
Noah may have taken certain specimens such as bees. Bees are commonly transported by truck all over America.

Bringing some insects for use as food would not be difficult. Pet stores do it daily.

6.
The following does not prove that ants could have survived the Noachian Flood in the ways mentioned, but it provides insight into the survivability of ants during floods.

When faced with flooding, fire ants join together into a big, bouyant mat to float en masse.
(http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=fire-ants-link-together-to-stay-afl-11-04-25)

Some ants survived the eruption of Mount St Helans in their underground colonies. ( Sugg, P.M., Arthropod populations at Mount St Helens: survival and revival, in: Ref. 4.)

There is one species of ants known that can swim, even submerge. These ants called Polyrhachis sokolova live in the mangroves of Australia. (http://ant-maps.blogspot.com/)

7.
An article that denies insects were on the ark is “ Noah's Ark — Insects Not Invited” (http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/BNoahsArkAndInsects49.htm). The author uses the meaning of Hebrew words to argue his point. He uses the Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament to define the Hebrew words. I have not checked that volume, but Strong’s Concordance provides complete definitions of the Hebrew words. Insects can be derived from the Hebrew.

Remes (Genesis 1:24, 25; 7:14, 23): from ramas

AV - creeping thing 15, moving thing 1, that creepeth 1; 17
1) creeping things, moving things, creeping organism
1a) creeping things
1b) gliding things (of sea animals)
1c) moving things (of all animals)

ramas (Genesis 7:8, 14:

AV - creep 11, move 6; 17
1) to creep, move lightly, move about, walk on all fours
1a) (Qal) [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qal_(linguistics)]
1a1) to creep, teem (of all creeping things)
1a2) to creep (of animals)
1a3) to move lightly, glide about (of water animals)
1a4) to move about (of all land animals generally)

In Genesis 7:21 “every creeping thing that creepeth” are: Sherets from sharats

AV - creeping thing 11, creep 2, creature 1, move 1; 15
1) teeming or swarming things, creepers, swarmers
1a) of insects, animals, small reptiles, quadrupeds

sharats

AV - creep 6, bring forth abundantly 5, move 1, breed abundantly 1,
increase abundantly 1; 14
1) (Qal) to teem, swarm, multiply
1a) to swarm, teem
1b2) to swarm

He also uses the word “flesh” (basar) to support his premise. Strong’s allows a wider interpretation.

Basar (Genesis 7:15, 16, 21):

1) flesh
1a) of the body
1a1) of humans
1a2) of animals
1b) the body itself
1c) male organ of generation (euphemism)
1d) kindred, blood-relations
1e) flesh as frail or erring (man against God)
1f) all living things
1g) animals
1h) mankind

8.
There are close to one million insects species named and scientists think that there could actually be close to 100 million insects. It is reasonable to ask how the ark could contain them. The short answer is based upon John Woodmorappe’s (Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study) argument for reduction in the number of mammals aboard the Ark which is "kinds" such as the dog kind means only one dog-like pair could eventually produce the wide range of today’s canines (domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, and other dog-like mammals). Just think of the variety of dogs alone! The “diversity in domestic dogs derives from a small genetic tool kit." Likewise, the number of insects would be reduced to a manageable level.

Using taxonomy (the classification of organisms in an ordered system that indicates natural relationships), animals (including insects) are “divided into increasingly smaller groups based on similarities”-- Kingdom -> Phylum -> Class -> Order -> Genus -> Species.

The inventor of modern taxonomy, Charles Linnaeus, was a Christian creationist who “loved nature deeply, and always retained a sense of wonder at the world of living things. His religious beliefs led him to natural theology, a school of thought dating back to Biblical times but especially flourishing around 1700: since God has created the world, it is possible to understand God's wisdom by studying His creation. As he wrote in the preface to a late edition of Systema Naturae: Creationis telluris est gloria Dei ex opere Naturae per Hominem solum -- The Earth's creation is the glory of God, as seen from the works of Nature by Man alone. The study of nature would reveal the Divine Order of God's creation, and it was the naturalist's task to construct a "natural classification" that would reveal this Order in the universe” according to the University of California Museum of Paleontology.

Species is defined as “related organisms that share common characteristics and are capable of interbreeding.” Evolutionists point out that “the boundary of a species is blurred. It’s not so surprising that these blurry places exist—after all, the idea of a species is something that we humans invented for our own convenience!”

Since at least 1994 creationists have pointed out that “species” and “kinds” fit well into a creationists view and have developed a system to classify the created kinds (baramins).

Baraminology “is a creation biology discipline that studies the ancestry of life on Earth (biosystematics). It draws from the presupposition that God created many separate kinds of organisms as described in the Biblical book of Genesis, and uses scientific means to determine which organisms belong to the same kind (baramin) and by contrast which are unrelated.”

The Creation Biology Society is studying this subject with scientific scrutiny beginning with a journal report in 1999. To date, insects have not been extensively dealt with.

A Creation Biology Society member, Dr. Gordon Wilson (whose master’s degree is in entomology), believes insects were on the ark. In a December 11, 2013 email to me he said, “ I'm sure they were on the ark. I think the kinds are below family level.”

Also see:

Creation of the Insects
Does God Think Insects are Good?
Insects in the Bible