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What is the weirdest looking bug?

What is the weirdest looking bug?

There are over 1 million known species of insects in the world, each with its own unique and sometimes bizarre appearance. Bugs come in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures – from fuzzy caterpillars to massive beetles with massive horns to delicate dragonflies with transparent wings. With so many insects to choose from, which ones stand out as the weirdest looking? Here are some top contenders for the title of strangest bug based on their unusual shapes, odd features and alien-like looks.

Stick Insects

One of the most oddly shaped bugs are stick insects, also known as walking sticks. These insects are famous for their amazing camouflage that allows them to blend in perfectly with twigs and branches. They have long, slender, cylindrical bodies and limbs that look just like sticks or twigs. Some species like the Giant Spiny Stick Insect have large spiny protrusions coming off their legs and body which enhances their twig-like appearance even more. When they remain motionless, stick insects are almost impossible to spot as they resemble fallen sticks among foliage. Their natural camouflage helps protect them against predators.

Giant Water Bugs

Giant water bugs belong to the Belostomatidae family and are some of largest insects in the Hemiptera order, with lengths exceeding 4 inches in some species. What makes them so bizarre looking are their large, flattened, oval-shaped bodies and their massive front legs which are modified into pinchers. They use these front legs to seize prey like fish, frogs, and aquatic insects. Their size and prehistoric appearance has earned them nicknames like “toe biters” and “alligator ticks.” Large protruding eyes and a pointy abdomen also add to their alien-bug like appearance. Overall, their large size and unusual body make giant water bugs one of the weirdest looking insects out there.

Orchid Mantises

While most mantises have camouflage coloring to blend in with foliage, Orchid Mantises take insect disguise to the next level. These amazing insects are pink and white colored, with large bulbous eyes and leaf-like front legs. This gives them an incredible resemblance to orchid flowers. They can perch perfectly still among orchid blossoms, waiting to ambush unsuspecting pollinators that come seeking nectar. Their raptorial front legs allow them to swiftly grab prey when it gets close. Orchid Mantises are masters of deception and their spectacular disguise makes them one of the most unusually shaped insects.

Atlas Moth

The Atlas Moth is known for being one of the largest moths, with wingspans reaching over 10 inches. But size isn’t their only claim to insect fame. What really makes them bizarre looking are the large snake head-like patterns on their wings when fully open. Each wing has a serpent face-like pattern with eyes and a curving mouth. This, coupled with their large size, can make them look quite imposing and even frightening. In reality, they are completely harmless, but their wing patterns definitely make them contenders for one of the most unusually designed insects.

Goliath Beetle

The aptly named Goliath Beetle is one of the weirdest looking insects thanks to its massive size. As one of the largest beetle species, these insects can reach up to 4.5 inches in length and weigh over 3 ounces. They are identified by their black or dark brown shiny bodies and thick, armor-like outer wings called elytra. But their most distinguishing feature is the huge protruding horn on the heads of males. This horn is used to battle other males during mating competitions. Between their massive size, imposing horn, and heavily armored body, Goliath Beetles seem almost alien in appearance compared to other beetles.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Cockroaches are already unusual looking insects to most people, but the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach takes roach oddness to the next level. They can grow up to 3 inches long, giving them a creepy, oversized appearance compared to other roaches. What really makes them strange though is the enlarged round disk-like structure on their thorax behind their head. This fits their nickname “poster roach” because it looks like they are carrying a poster on their back. When threatened, they can force air out through breathing holes in this disk, creating a disturbing hissing sound. Overall, their unusually large size, weird body shape, and ability to hiss gives them an alien look.

Assassin Bug

With their cylindrical bodies, curved legs, and strange protruding mouths, Assassin Bugs seem like creatures from another planet. But on top of their bizarre looks, they also have one of the most gruesome feeding methods in the insect world. They use their saliva to liquify the internal organs of their prey, allowing them to slurp up the pre-digested insides. Different species come in a range of sizes and colors, but they all have an unearthly appearance that matches their grim feeding habits. So both their looks and lifestyle make Assassin Bugs some of the most strangely designed insects around.

Giant African Millipede

Millipedes can generally look quite odd, with their long, segmented bodies supported by numerous tiny legs. But the Giant African Millipede takes millipede strangeness to new levels. These millipedes can reach lengths over 12 inches, making them the largest millipede species. Their brown-banded bodies seem to stretch on forever as they slowly crawl along the forest floor. To add to their alien qualities, they can coil into tight spirals when threatened, exposing bright orange warning colors on their legs. While not technically insects, the enormous size and bizarre looks of Giant African Millipedes earn them a spot on the weird insect list.


Dobsonflies, also known as hellgrammites, have one of the oddest transformations in the insect world. Their larval stage lives underwater and has a nightmarish appearance, with a soft body, large pinching mandibles, and rows of filmy gills down the sides. The pupae then grow into giant winged adults that look like a cross between a praying mantis and a wasp. Large, intimidating pincers sprout from the front of their heads. Males have long hooked appendages on their front legs that they use to battle each other. Overall, their freaky larvae and bizarre adult forms make Dobsonflies uniquely weird looking insects.

Giant Ichneumon Wasp

There are around 60,000 species of Ichneumon wasps, but one of the most unusual looking is the Giant Ichneumon wasp. Females have extremely long, thin bodies that can exceed 5 inches in length. Their narrow waists give them an almost thread-like appearance. To go with their long bodies, they have ovipositors nearly as long which they use to deposit eggs inside wood and the larvae of other insects. While harmless to humans, everything about their elongated design looks alien and strange. When combined with their odd reproductive behaviors, Giant Ichneumon Wasps stand out as one of the more unusually constructed insects.

Mole Cricket

Mole crickets are so bizarre looking they seem to defy categorization. They have compact cylindrical bodies with large shovel-like front legs specialized for burrowing. Their tiny eyes and antennas poking out from under the dirt make them resemble swimming moles more than insects. They even have a thick leathery “skin” unlike the exoskeletons of other crickets. And they can swim, walk, or burrow unlike most other insects. Their non-traditional cricket design allows them to live almost entirely underground, making them one of the weirdest insects in terms of lifestyle and anatomy.


The insect world contains endless examples of bizarre, unconventional, and downright strange looking bugs – from massive beetles and roaches, to sticks and orchids that come alive, to hellish underwater larvae. While nearly any insect could seem alien to us humans, some stand out as truly weird due to their camouflage skills, massive sizes, odd proportions, threatening features, or inexplicable lifestyles. Every insect has a vital role in the ecosystem, no matter how odd it looks to our eyes. But we can still marvel at nature’s boundless creativity in designing the insects we see as the strangest looking bugs on the planet. Clearly, this list provides just a small sampling of the diversity of bizarre insects that evolve in unique environments around the world.

Bug Name Weird Features
Stick Insect Twig-like camouflage body
Giant Water Bug Large size, flattened body, pincher front legs
Orchid Mantis Flowery camouflage, raptorial front legs
Atlas Moth Huge size, snake-head wing patterns
Goliath Beetle Massive size, huge protruding horn
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Large size, disk-like structure on thorax, can hiss
Assassin Bug Odd cylindrical body, curved legs, strange mouthparts
Giant African Millipede Enormous length, coils into spiral
Dobsonfly Nightmarish larvae, bizarre adult form
Giant Ichneumon Wasp Extremely long thin body and ovipositor
Mole Cricket Compact cylindrical body, shovel-like front legs, ability to swim