CBC Kids | Play Games, Watch Video, Explore


14 of the world’s weirdest insects


Photo by schmechf licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

Insects are everywhere! Some people find them super interesting while others can’t even stand the thought of them. Either way, we share this planet with these alien-like creepy crawlies. Insects were here on Earth long before humans, and they are here to stay. There are actually way more insects than humans on Earth — there are 900,000 known species and probably millions more that haven’t even been discovered yet! Check out this list of some of the weirdest (and coolest) ones we could find.

1. Hercules beetle

a hercules beetle

Wikimedia/Didier Descouens/CC BY-SA 4.0 

Also known as a rhinoceros beetle, the Hercules beetle is the longest beetle and is the strongest creature on Earth for its size — it can carry 850 times its weight! That’s like a person carrying seven elephants!

2. Giant long-legged katydid

photo of katydid

Photo by CW Gan licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

Also known as bush crickets, think of these green leafy-looking things as giant grasshoppers. They are most active at night and because they look like leaves it’s easy for them to hide in plants and trees. Some katydids can be as big as or even bigger than your hand!

3. Assassin bug

an assassin bug close up

Wikimedia/Fir0002/Flagstaffotos/CC BY-NC 3.0 

The assassin bug uses its straw-like mouth to inject prey with a toxin that liquifies their insides, which it then sucks it back up through its straw mouth. How creepy is that?!

4. Goliath beetle

goliath beetle close up

Wikimedia/w:en:user:fir0002/CC BY-SA 3.0 

The goliath beetle is one of the largest insects on earth. Some people who have these giant beetles as pets will feed them dog and cat food! They are found mostly on the continent of Africa in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

5. Giant burrowing cockroach

giant burrowing cockroach close up

Wikimedia/Urasimaru/CC BY-SA 2.0 

Also known as the rhinoceros cockroach, this is the heaviest cockroach species. They can weigh up to 35 grams, which is almost as heavy as a golf ball. These giant cockroaches like to burrow about one metre into the ground.

6. Titan beetle

huge titan beetle in someone's hand

Photo by Bernard DUPONT licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 

Like the Hercules beetle, the Titan beetle is one of the largest beetle species. They have super strong mandibles (jaws) that can easily slice a pencil in half!

7. Thorn bug

two thorn bugs on a branch

Photo by Malcolm Manners licensed CC BY 2.0 

Thorn bugs look just like thorns, but not just any thorns — they each have a cool-looking brightly coloured thorn sticking out of their heads! They are part of the treehopper family.

8. Devil’s flower mantis

devil's flower mantis bug close up

Photo by Frupus licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 

These mantises are very good at mimicking the flowers they sit on. They will wait completely still until prey arrives, which they will then snatch right up. They like to eat flies, moths, butterflies and beetles. Thousands of these insects are sold as pets every year!

9. Brazilian treehopper

brazilian treehopper close up

Photo by Pavel Kirillov licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 

From the same family of insect as the thorn bug, these guys have a strange crown of fuzzy circular horns on their heads. It’s not clear why they have these ball-like horns but they're probably a good way to keep their enemies away!

10. Australian walking stick

australian walking stick bug on a branch

Wikimedia/Rosa Pineda/CC BY-SA 3.0 

When they sense danger, these woody-looking Australian insects give off a scent that smells like peanut butter to humans. As you can see, it’s easy for these guys to hide in trees because they look like the bark and branches they sit on.

11. Atlas moth

an atlas moth on a tree with its wings open

Photo by txbowen licensed CC BY 2.0 

These massive moths have a 25.4-centimetre wingspan (almost as long as a ruler) with wing tips that look like snakes! Because of the patterns on their wings, they're also known as cobra moths. Atlas moths can be found in India and South East Asia and are often farmed for their silk.

12. Calleta silkmoth caterpillar

calleta silkmoth caterpillar on a branch

Photo by ColoradoEO licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 

This big caterpillar has wonderful colours and spiky barbs all over their backs. You'll find these guys in Guatemala, Mexico and parts of the southern United States.

13. Scorpion fly

scorpion fly in a tree

Photo by Judy Gallagher licensed CC BY 2.0 

These flies looks like a cross between a scorpion and a wasp. Although the raised tail of the male scorpion fly looks like the tail of a scorpion, it does not use it to sting you like a scorpion can.

14. Giant weta

giant weta in a man's hand

Photo by Sid Mosdell licensed CC BY 2.0 

This giant insect from New Zealand basically looks like a massive beetle but is actually a cricket. The largest weta ever captured weighed about 70 grams — about as heavy as a tennis ball. This was a rare case though. They normally weigh about 35 grams — about the same weight as the giant burrowing cockroach.

Want more cool creepy crawlies? Check out our post about amazing spiders!