The Extraordinary World of Insects: 5 of the Strangest Organisms Inhabiting the Earth

Nature is truly amazing. While extolling its virtues, many often neglect to focus on insects, the small living organisms that share our world. There are more than a million species of these creatures, and while some are fairly ordinary, others are nothing less than extraordinary. The following insects are all remarkable in their own way, whether it be for their looks, their mannerisms or their general oddities.

Pipevine Swallowtail 

Pipevine Swallowtail

How can something so beautiful start out as something so ugly? Found in both North and Central America, the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly is known for its incredible shade of blue. However, all butterflies first start as caterpillars, and in this case, the larvae is most certainly not beautiful. Some might even say it’s scary. Rather than the attractive hue of blue sported in its butterfly form, the Pipevine Swallowtail larvae is blood red, with rows of horns traveling down the length of its body.

Battus philenor Pipevine Swallowtail

As the caterpillars get older, their color darkens and their horns become more prominent, transforming to a bright shade of orange. Because they feed on poisonous plants, the caterpillars also become poisonous themselves as they retain the toxins over time.

Giant Shield Bugs 

Giant Shield Bug Elvis
Photo Courtesy

The stink bug invasion is taking place in many areas around the world, and most homeowners are not happy when the smelly little creatures decide to take up residence in their homes. How would you feel, though, if you spotted an image of Elvis on the back of one of these little bugs?

The giant shield bug, also known as the Pentatomoidea bug, is in the stink bug family. The markings on its back look remarkably like eyes, a nose and a mouth. Even more incredible is the fact that the dark patch near the end of the bug looks quite a bit like Elvis’s signature hairstyle. Giant shield bugs have been found in both Singapore and Thailand, so chances are you won’t get lucky enough to see one in person. However, if you did, calling an exterminator might not be the first thing on your mind!


Scorpion Fly Face

Scorpionflies are truly unique. They look like a cross between a scorpion and a wasp; the body resembles the winged insect, while the “tail” looks very much like a scorpion stinger. However, unlike the arachnid, the scorpionfly’s stinger is not used for harm. It is actually the organism’s reproductive organ, so while it looks quite fierce, there is nothing to be concerned about.

Elephant Hawk Moth 

Elephant Hawk Moth Larvae

Located in Ireland and Britain, the Elephant Hawk Moth seems fairly unassuming. However, in its caterpillar form, the little creature actually looks and acts like a snake. When it goes into defensive mode, it brings its trunk in towards its body. The exposed area of the caterpillar has markings that mimic a snake’s eyes and head. Most birds avoid the caterpillar as a result.

The Elephant Hawk-moth

Goliath Beetles 


Rounding out the list of the strangest insects on Earth is the Goliath beetle. Found in Africa, these beetles are the biggest of all the insects, growing as long as four inches. Some people have even been known to keep the Goliath beetle as a pet! While the bug may look intimidating, it is actually quite gentle.

You never know what you will find in nature. When it comes to the insect world, there are some truly strange and unusual creatures out there, just waiting to be discovered.



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