Who says all creepy crawlies are nasty!? These insects are all natural works of art. From beautiful patterns to dazzling colours, we take a look at the 10 cutest and most colourful insects on earth.
Oleander Hawk Moth
The oleander hawk moth is native to parts of Africa and Asia. During the summer months this beautiful moth migrates to Eastern and Southern Europe Especially areas of Turkey. The adult moth feeds on many different species of fragrant flower while the caterpillar feeds mainly on oleander, a highly toxic plant to which it is immune.
Pink Orchid Mantis
The pink orchid mantis is native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia including Malaysia and Indonesia. It has an amazing ability to camouflage alongside orchid flowers with it’s hind legs resembling flower petals. This ingenious creature grabs hold of an orchid flower and begins to sway from side to side. It lures smaller insects closer with the black dot on it’s abdomen that resembles a small fly. Once the insects are close, it strikes out with it’s forearms, seizing and eating it’s prey.
Venezuelan Poodle Moth
The Venezuelan poodle moth was only recently discovered by Dr Arthur Anker of Kyrgyzstan in 2009. Native to the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela, South America, the aptly named poodle moth looks like it it covered in wool similar to that of a sheep. With it’s long brown antennae and large black eyes, this furry little moth looks cute AND creepy all at the same time!
Coreid Bug Nymphs
The Coreidae family of insects include more than 1900 individual species. Commonly known as leaf-footed bugs due to the leaf-like hind legs of some species, Coreidae can often be found on squash and pumpkin plants on which they feed. Coreidae range in size and can grow larger than 10 mm (0.4 inch) in length. They come in a wide range of colours from brown and green to intricately coloured designs like the ones pictured here.
The most common variety of Oblong-Winged katydid is usually a shade of green but there is also a much rarer pink variety. Originally scientists believed the variance in colour to be an ability of the insect to adapt and camouflage to Autumn (Fall) hues in it’s surroundings. This theory was abandoned after American entomologist and myrmecologist, William Morton Wheeler found pink katydids in the prairies of Wisconsin and Illinois during July. The colour variance is now known to be genetic with an even more rare yellow and orange variety also observed.
The rainbow grasshopper has three sub-species all with their own distinctive colour markings. Native to North America and Northern areas of Mexico, this brightly coloured grasshopper was first classified in 1843 by the German entomologist Toussaint de Charpentier. It inhabits low desert grasslands and thinly vegetated areas throughout the western Great Plains of the United States and southward into Mexico.
Rosy Maple Moth
The Rosy Maple Moth is native to North America. It has pink legs and antennae, a yellow body and hind wings and pink forewings with a yellow triangle in the middle. Feeding on the leaves of maple trees, the female maple moth can grow to have a wingspan of 40-50mm. The smaller male of the species does not eat once it has matured into a moth.
The tortoise beetle has a hard outer ‘shell’ which extends outwards, protecting their legs and head from predators. It has the ability to change the metallic colouring on the centre of its outer casing with the edges of the casing being transparent. These amazing beetles have the ability to clamp flat down on a leaf to protect their head and legs from predators such as ants that might try and drag them away.
Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar
The spicebush swallowtail caterpillar uses mimicry as self defence. Just before it is ready to pupate, it develops a swollen thorax and 2 large black dots resembling the head of a common green snake. The caterpillar further mimics the movements of the snake by rearing up and retracting it’s head as if it is getting ready to strike. This helps the caterpillar to avoid being eaten by predators especially birds looking for a juicy meal.
The male peacock spider is known for it’s brightly coloured abdomen which it raises in an attempt to attract a female for mating. This artistic arachnid begins dancing from side to side while clapping it’s third pair of legs together to woo the lucky lady. The female peacock spider will then decide if she is interested in her pursuer. She will either mate with the male or attack and eat him if she is unimpressed. Sounds just like Saturday night down at the disco!
The cutest and most colourful insects on Earth! What do you think? Did we miss any?