53 of the Most Colorful Insects in the World

When most people imagine insects, they picture creepy-crawly, unpleasant creatures. But as you’ll see in a moment, insects are among the planet’s most dazzling animals!

Here’s our list of the world’s most colorful insects:

1. Golden Tortoise Beetle

Golden Tortoise Beetle on green leaf.
  • Latin name: Charidotella sexpunctata
  • Habitat: Parts of the Americas where its host plants grow
  • Size: About 0.2″ to 0.3″ long
  • Diet: Foliage of plants in the morning glory family, including sweet potato
  • Colorful feature: This aptly-named beetle really does look as though it’s been dipped in gold. Though many beetles are metallic, few are this color!

This interesting bug changes color throughout its lifetime. As a larva and pupa, it is a dark and unremarkable brown. And as an adult, it will often change color when it is disturbed. If you touch one, it will often change from brilliant gold to dull reddish brown. And in some cases, it will even play dead if you scare it!

2. Leaf-Footed Bug

Leaf-Footed Bugs on green leaf.
  • Latin name: Spartocera pantomima
  • Habitat: Cloud forests in Ecuador and other parts of South America
  • Size: About 0.8″ long
  • Diet: Various types of plants, including the fruit and seeds
  • Colorful feature: This bug is one of many species of coreid bugs. It is one of the most colorful, too. As you can see in the picture, it is patterned with vivid orange and black and has spindly black legs.

This bug shares a genus with roughly 18 other species of coreid bug. The different species occur across many parts of the world. Unfortunately, since many of them target agriculturally-grown plants like sweet potatoes, they are regarded as crop pests in many areas. Their love of various types of crops has led to their other common name, “squash bug.”

3. Indian Painted Grasshopper

Indian Painted Grasshopper on dirt.
  • Latin name: Poekilocerus pictus
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout the Indian subcontinent
  • Size: About 0.2″ to 4.3″ long
  • Diet: Feeds on the crown flower, a poisonous plant
  • Colorful feature: This grasshopper’s body is marked with stripes of deep blue and bright yellow. The hind part of its wings is rich red.

Since these grasshoppers can grow to become very large, they are often the subject of scientific research. And while they’re especially striking, take care to not pick up immature grasshoppers! They can release a powerful stream of liquid if pinched or picked up. This liquid is meant to deter predators, as it tastes very bad.

4. Cairns Birdwing

Cairns birdwing perched on a green leaf background.
  • Latin name: Ornithoptera euphorion
  • Habitat: Found throughout Queensland, Australia
  • Size: Wingspan up to about 7.5″
  • Diet: Various types of vines and creeping plants
  • Colorful feature: Males of this species are especially colorful. The undersides of the wings have a black base color and are marked with patches of turquoise, grass green, bright yellow, and red.

Birdwings are some of the most colorful butterflies in the world. This one is only found in a relatively small part of Australia. It looks so spectacular that you might think at first that it’s endangered or rare. But within its small range, it’s very common. It prefers rainforests but can be found in gardens in the suburbs as well, especially those with bougainvillea, hibiscus, and lantana flowers.

5. Pink Orchid Mantis

Pink Orchid Mantis standing on flower.
  • Latin name: Hymenopus coronatus
  • Habitat: Found in rainforests in much of Southeast Asia as well as in India’s Western Ghats
  • Size: Up to about 2.8″ long
  • Diet: Various types of insects, especially moths and butterflies
  • Colorful feature: This mantis is usually some shade of pink, and parts of its body appear to be veined like the petals of an orchid flower. However, it does have some color-changing abilities, as it can change color on a gradient from pink to brown depending on the background.

Lots of insects have interesting colors to help them camouflage. But this mantis looks so much like an orchid bloom that it’s easy to not even realize its presence. In order to catch prey, it will hide in an orchid flower. There’s a black spot on its abdomen that looks like a fly and attracts potential prey. When prey lands on it, the pink orchid mantis grabs it almost instantly.

6. Chrysochroa fulminans nishiyamai

Jewel beetle on dead leaf.
  • Latin name: Chrysochroa fulminans nishiyamai
  • Habitat: Can be found across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and surrounding regions
  • Size: About 1.2″ to 1.6″ long
  • Diet: Various types of wood
  • Colorful feature: This jewel beetle is one of the most spectacular creatures on the list. As you can see in the photo, its whole body is a brilliant gradient of metallic color. It includes green, yellow, pink, purple, and blue.

Most jewel beetles live up to the name, and this one especially so. Many members of its genus are primarily green, but this one combines a truly brilliant array of colors. Unfortunately, since it is a wood-boring beetle, it can cause problems for some types of trees or woody garden plants.

7. Thorn Treehopper

Treehopper on vine against black background.
  • Latin name: Umbonia crassicornis
  • Habitat: Warm regions of northern South America, Mexico, and Florida
  • Size: About 0.4″ long
  • Diet: Primarily the sap from inside of fruit trees and ornamental plants
  • Colorful feature: This bug is typically bright green or bright yellow with brown lines around the edges. And while this may not sound all that colorful on its own, it’s remarkable in that it looks very much like an actual thorn!

This insect’s camouflaging abilities evolved to help protect it from predators. Birds will often mistake it for a thorn and decide to not eat it. The thorn bug is especially convincing when it gathers with others on the same branch, as it looks like a naturally thorny branch. Even though these bugs are certainly interesting-looking, they, unfortunately, can become a bit of a pest, as they prefer decorative garden plants and fruit trees.

8. Pachyrhynchus reticulatus

Pachyrhynchus reticulatus isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Pachyrhynchus reticulatus
  • Habitat: Can be found across the island of Luzon in the Philippines
  • Size: About 0.5″ long
  • Diet: Plant tissue within the stems of various host plants
  • Colorful feature: Along with others in its genus, this weevil is sometimes called the “Easter egg weevil.” It’s easy to see why; its black base color is marked with a pattern outlined in iridescent lines. As you can see in the photo, those lines are often a mixture of blue, orange, red, and green.

Most of us only know weevils as boring pantry pests. But as you can see with this species, some exotic weevils add a burst of brilliant color to the world. Though this beetle shares a genus with about 60 other species (most of which live on different islands in Southeast Asia), it is one of the most colorful in the genus.

9. Blue Carpenter Bee

Blue Carpenter Bee isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Xylocopa caerulea
  • Habitat: Many habitat types across India, Southeast Asia, and southern China
  • Size: Around 1″ long
  • Diet: Nectar and different types of plant pollen
  • Colorful feature: This magical-looking bee looks a bit like a bumblebee that has been dyed blue. Its thorax is covered in blue hairs, so it looks fuzzy and blue! The abdomen and head are usually black.

This blue bee is one of the most unusual insects on the list. And while its name might make you think it feeds on wood, it actually digs into wood in order to form a sheltered area to raise its young. It also makes honey, though its honey is a lot thicker than that of a honey bee.

10. Spiny Flower Mantis

Spiny Flower Mantis on log.
  • Latin name: Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
  • Habitat: Various habitat types across eastern and southern Africa
  • Size: About 1.5″ long
  • Diet: Various types of flying insects
  • Colorful feature: This mantis is especially colorful, particularly when it tries to scare off predators. It has whitish wings with a large black, green, and cream eyespot. The inner part of its hind wings is bright orange.

When the spiny flower mantis displays its wings to startle predators, it’s certainly noticeable. But when it’s waiting for potential prey, it does a great job of looking like a flower. When insects approach it in order to feed, it then catches and eats them. This spectacular species can also be kept as a pet, as it is relatively easy to house and feed.

11. Steel Blue Ladybug

Steel Blue Ladybug on red flower.
  • Latin name: Halmus chalybeus
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout Australia
  • Size: About 0.12″ to 0.16″ long
  • Diet: Eats a variety of other insects
  • Colorful feature: This odd and beautifully-colored insect’s wings and head are iridescent blue-green. When sitting on a leaf, it often looks like a glimmering, symmetrical half-globe.

This beautiful bug can be found throughout Australia, but it also has been imported to New Zealand in order to control black scale and blue gum scale insects. These insects feed on citrus trees and can become serious pests if left unchecked. It’s similar in shape and size to more common red and black ladybugs, but it has an unmistakable color that makes it easy to identify.

12. European Peacock Butterfly

European Peacock Butterfly against blurred green background.
  • Latin name: Aglais io
  • Habitat: Can be found across Europe and in parts of temperate Asia
  • Size: Wingspan is about 2″ to 2.2″
  • Diet: Various types of plant material depending on location
  • Colorful feature: This butterfly is one of the most striking in the world. Its base color is tawny brown, and each wing has a bold stripe of red-orange. Each forewing and hindwing has a yellow-rimmed eyespot. The eyespots on the forewings have reddish centers and the hindwing eyespots have bluish centers. The undersides of the wings are rich brown and tinged with blue.

This butterfly is often simply called the “peacock butterfly.” Despite the name, it is not closely related to the American peacock butterflies. This one has proven to be very useful to researchers, as they have studied it extensively to discover how eyespots can protect different species from predators.

13. Racket-Tipped Rubyspot

Racket-Tipped Rubyspot isolated against green background.
  • Latin name: Hetaerina occisa
  • Habitat: Found throughout Mexico, Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago
  • Size: Up to about 2″ long
  • Diet: Various types of smaller insects
  • Colorful feature: This striking damselfly has a mostly-black body, but the thorax is deep red. If you look closely, you can also see yellow lines on the sides. Males have a bright ruby-red spot at the base of the wings.

As you’ll see further down on the list, many species of damselfly are incredibly colorful. If you aren’t too familiar with insects, they can be hard to tell apart from dragonflies. Damselflies fold their wings over their backs while at rest while dragonflies keep their wings spread outward.

14. Assassin Bug

Orange Assassin Bug on green leaf.
  • Latin name: Pselliopus sp.
  • Habitat: Different species have different ranges, but these bugs can be found across much of the New World
  • Size: Can be from 0.16″ to 1.6″ long, depending on the species
  • Diet: Various types of insects
  • Colorful feature: Not all assassin bugs are colorful. But as you can see in the picture, many are bright orange or red with geometric black patterning.

Assassin bugs are so named because they can quickly immobilize and digest their prey. Their toxic saliva digests the internal organs of other insects. These bugs are also known as “kissing bugs.” That’s because when they attack people, they will often bite around the mouth. And while the bug’s saliva won’t kill you, its bite is painful!

15. Cotton Harlequin Bug Nymph

Cotton harlequin bug on flame tree seed pods.
  • Latin name: Tectocoris diophthalmus
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout New Guinea, eastern Australia, and many islands in the Pacific
  • Size: Up to about 0.8″ long
  • Diet: Various types of plants, though it especially likes cotton
  • Colorful feature: The nymphs (immature forms) of this bug are brighter than the adults. Their base color is iridescent blue-green, and they also have bright orange spots. On the adults, the color scheme is essentially flipped: adults are primarily orange with iridescent blue-green spots. However, individual bugs (both nymphs and adults) vary greatly when it comes to exact patterning.

Though this bug is quite colorful, it is generally regarded as a pest. It feeds on and damages cotton plants, but it also attacks ornamental plants including the flame tree, the spider flower, and young bottlebrush trees.

16. Neon Skimmer

Close-up of Neon Skimmer.
  • Latin name: Libellula croceipennis
  • Habitat: Near bodies of water in South America, Central America, and the southwestern United States
  • Size: Between 2.1″ and 2.3″ long
  • Diet: Various types of smaller insects
  • Colorful feature: True to the name, male neon skimmers are incredibly bright: their whole abdomen is hot pink! Females are a duller pinkish brown.

Many species of dragonfly are colorful, but most familiar species are blue or green. This striking insect is unique in that it is not patterned at all; the male’s abdomen is pure neon pink. If you want to see this insect in its natural habitat, you can find it close to lakes, ponds, and slow streams throughout its range.

17. Malabar Banded Peacock Butterfly

Malabar Banded Peacock Butterfly on beautiful red plant.
  • Latin name: Papilio buddha
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout India’s Western Ghats
  • Size: Wingspan is about 4.2″ to 6.1″
  • Diet: Primarily Indian prickly ash plants
  • Colorful feature: This beautiful butterfly has a black base color, and each wing is crossed with a band of brilliant green. Each wing also turns darker green where it attaches to the body.

Not to be confused with the European peacock butterfly, the Malabar banded peacock is another brilliantly colored butterfly. It’s part of the swallowtail family, which is easy to see if you look at the shape of its hindwings. Thanks to its beauty and abundance in the state, the Indian state of Kerala declared it the state butterfly.

18. Lantern Bug

Lantern bug aka Pyrops Candelaria on a tree.
  • Latin name: Pyrops candelaria
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout many parts of Southeast Asia
  • Size: About 1.8″ to 2″ long
  • Diet: Mostly the sap of various types of trees
  • Colorful feature: This bug has a long, bright red proboscis that looks like a long nose. Its wings are intricately patterned in green or blue-green, and they are marked by bright yellow spots, some of which are outlined in white.

Some of the colorful insects on this list are so unusual-looking that they look almost unreal. The lantern bug (also called a “lanternfly”) is one of them. It’s easy to see why these creatures are popular among collectors; both their shape and their size make them stand out in a crowd!

19. Banded Jewel Beetle

Banded Jewel Beetle on dead leaf.
  • Latin name: Chrysochroa buqueti rugicollis
  • Habitat: Can be found in many habitat types across Southeast Asia
  • Size: About 1.6″ to 1.9″ long
  • Diet: Primarily sapwood of different trees and shrubs
  • Colorful feature: This stunning beetle has a bright red head and dark, metallic blue legs. But its back has the most remarkable patterning; the middle is cream-colored with a dark metallic band, while the rear end is the same dark metallic color.

This is another of the stunningly beautiful “jewel beetles” found in many parts of Southeast Asia. It’s striking enough that it can often be found in insect collections in museums. But like other jewel beetles, it can cause damage to plants if too many of them feed on one plant at the same time.

20. Rosy Footman

Rosy Footman on big green leaf.
  • Latin name: Miltochrista miniata
  • Habitat: Can be found in most parts of the Palearctic realm (a region that includes much of Eurasia and northern Africa
  • Size: Wingspan from about 0.9″ to 1.1″
  • Diet: Mostly lichens
  • Colorful feature: This colorful moth has truly remarkable patterning. Much of its body is golden yellow, but each wing is ringed in rosy pink that blends into the yellow. The bottom part of each wing is accented with delicate black markings.

The rosy footman isn’t the only footman moth in the world. You might wonder how the term “footman” ever came to be part of a species name. It’s probably because footman moths hold their long wings close to their bodies so they appear to be standing at attention. That being said, most footman moths are dull and unremarkable in color. The rosy footman is a beautiful exception!

21. Rough Fungus Beetle

Rough Fungus Beetle on rock.
  • Latin name: Cypherotylus asperus
  • Habitat: Can be found in much of the western United States and in Sonora, Mexico
  • Size: About 0.1″ to 0.2″ long
  • Diet: Mostly conk fungus, a fungus that grows on logs and trees
  • Colorful feature: The rough fungus beetle has a somewhat unappealing name, but it has distinctively beautiful coloring. As you can see in the picture, this beetle’s body is soft purple or bluish purple. The small black spots covering it are especially intriguing: each appears to be set in its own small indentation.

The rough fungus beetle is one of the many species of pleasing fungus beetles. The “pleasing” in the name likely comes from the colorful patterns found on most species. Most pleasing fungus beetles are also fairly docile and easy to handle.

22. Madagascan Moon Moth

Madagascan Moon Moth on twig.
  • Latin name: Argema mittrei
  • Habitat: Can be found in rainforests in Madagascar
  • Size: Wingspan up to about 8″
  • Diet: Includes several types of plants, including sweetgum trees and plants in the myrtle family
  • Colorful feature: This incredibly bright moth is almost entirely a rich, sunny yellow. The wings are tipped in a reddish color, and the hindwings have long, slender trails. Males and females have an eyespot on each forewing and hindwing, and their wings are patterned with wavy reddish lines.

This moth is sometimes called the “comet moth,” and it’s easy to see why. Each hindwing has a long, trailing tendril that looks a lot like a comet’s tail. Like many large silkmoths, this moth does not have the ability to eat, so it only lives for around 4 or 5 days. Despite its short lifetime, this moth is beautiful enough that it has been bred in captivity.

23. Malay Lacewing

Malay Lacewing on green leaf.
  • Latin name: Cethosia hypsea
  • Habitat: Can be found in the Philippines, Indonesia, Burma, and surrounding areas
  • Size: Wingspan is about 3.1″
  • Diet: Certain plants in the passionflower family
  • Colorful feature: The Malay lacewing’s upper wings are a bright combination of orange, black, and white. But the underside of its wings is even more spectacular; they are patterned with orange blue, red, black, and cream. The patterning is intricate enough that each butterfly wing looks like a woven blanket.

While this butterfly species is strikingly beautiful, its larvae are more scary than they are beautiful. They are deep wine red with imposing-looking spines. And if that isn’t enough to scare off predators, the larvae are poisonous as well!

24. Seafoam Striped Weevil

Azure exotic weevil isolated on white.
  • Latin name: Eupholus cuvieri
  • Habitat: Can be found across New Guinea and on nearby islands
  • Size: About 1″ long
  • Diet: Mostly yam leaves
  • Colorful feature: This weevil, along with other members of its genus, is among the most colorful weevil species in the world. This one is azure to turquoise in color. If you look closely, you can see that it has unique and beautiful black stripes and spots. Scientists believe its magnificent colors may be intended to warn predators that it tastes terrible!

This weevil almost doesn’t look real, so it’s no wonder that it’s loved by insect collectors the world over. Other members of its genus are as well. Many are some variety of bright blue with a certain amount of black patterning. And even though the genus contains a vast number of species, all of them can be found in and near New Guinea.

25. Beautiful Demoiselle

Beautiful Demoiselle on leaf.
  • Latin name: Calopteryx virgo
  • Habitat: Can be found near fast-moving water across much of Europe, parts of northern Africa, and parts of Asia
  • Size: About 1.9″ to 2.1″ long
  • Diet: Mostly various types of insect larvae
  • Colorful feature: Males of this species are stunningly beautiful, as their entire bodies are an iridescent, deep blue-green. Females aren’t nearly as colorful, but their wings are usually metallic brownish.

This striking damselfly, as its name suggests, is one of the most beautiful insects on the whole list! It stands out among other damselflies in that the male’s wing color develops with age. Younger males tend to have plain black wings, and over time, they develop iridescent blue-green coloration.

26. Rainbow Stag Beetle

Close-up of rainbow stag beetle.
  • Latin name: Phalacrognathus muelleri
  • Habitat: Tropical parts of New Zealand and New Guinea
  • Size: About 0.9″ to 2.8″ long
  • Diet: Mostly decaying wood, though they also will eat nectar, sap, and fruit
  • Colorful feature: This beetle has a truly brilliant metallic sheen. It comes in a range of different colors including blue, black, green, and red. Often, its iridescent shine makes it appear to be many colors at once.

This unusual-looking and spectacular beetle is a standout thanks to both its shiny color and large size. It has been adopted as the official symbol of the Entomological Society of Queensland. Its color may make it seem like a popular choice for insect collectors. But unfortunately, after death, its colors tend to fade away fairly quickly.

27. Metallic Wood-Boring Beetle

Metallic Wood-Boring Beetle on red autumn leaves.
  • Latin name: Chrysochroa fulgidissima
  • Habitat: Can be found in wooded parts of Japan and Korea
  • Size: About 1.2″ to 1.6″ long
  • Diet: Usually various types of wood
  • Colorful feature: This iridescent bug is one of the most spectacular of the jewel beetles. It usually has a greenish base color and appears to have lengthwise stripes of many other colors, including blue, turquoise, orange, red, and purple. Its color appears to change depending on the exact lighting.

This beautiful beetle’s coloration is so complete that it often looks different depending on the light. This color was the inspiration behind a common Japanese expression, tamamushi-iro. Since the beetle is called “Yamato tamamushi” in Japan, the phrase means “tamamushi color.” It’s used to refer to a highly ambiguous statement that could be interpreted in multiple ways.

28. White Ghost Cicada

Close-up of white ghost cicada.
  • Latin name: Ayuthia spectabile
  • Habitat: Can be found in much of Southeast Asia
  • Size: Around 1″ long
  • Diet: Mostly plant fluids from trees and other woody plants
  • Colorful feature: This strange bug’s colorful feature seems to come largely from its lack of color. Its body is mostly white, though its wings are veined in orange and marked with spots of black. The upper body often has a geometric pattern of black and orange.

This striking insect is sometimes called the milky cicada. And while it’s most beautiful in its natural habitat, collectors can purchase framed and preserved specimens. In some cases, these framed cicadas cost $100 or more!

29. African Flower Chafer

African Flower Chafer on dead log.
  • Latin name: Mecynorhina torquata ugandensis
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout Uganda and some nearby areas
  • Size: About 2.2″ to 3.3″ long
  • Diet: Mostly buds of flowers
  • Colorful feature: This stunning beetle’s coloration varies by individual. The brightest, like the ones in the picture, are black and rich red brown with complex cream-colored markings

These giant beetles are among the largest in the world. And while they are beautiful, they also have been useful in scientific research. Researchers have been able to effectively make beetle “cyborgs” by using electrodes to control the muscles that allow it to walk and fly.

30. Neon Cuckoo Bee

Neon cuckoo bee macro pollinating a flower.
  • Latin name: Thyreus nitidulus
  • Habitat: Depending on the subspecies, it can be found in Australia, New Guinea, and Southeast Asia
  • Size: Up to about 0.6″ long
  • Diet: Primarily plant pollen
  • Colorful feature: You might be pleasantly surprised to see that there is a second blue bee on the list! This one’s whole body is banded in black and neon blue.

This beautiful bee is a parasitic insect. That’s because, like the cuckoo bird, it lays its eggs in the nests of other bees. It generally will lay a single egg in an unguarded burrow nest of a blue-banded bee. That way, the neon cuckoo bee doesn’t have to build its own nest, but its eggs still have a safe place to hatch.

31. Frog-Legged Leaf Beetle

Metallic Blue and green color beetles in tropical rainforest.
  • Latin name: Sagra femorata
  • Habitat: Can be found in forested parts of China, India, and Southeast Asia
  • Size: Up to about 0.8″ long
  • Diet: Various types of plant matter
  • Colorful feature: These beetles are one of many on the list that are strikingly shiny. Individual coloring varies a good bit, but most are metallic bluish-green.

If you take one look at a male frog-legged leaf beetle, you’ll see where this beetle’s name comes from. Males have large, long, and strong hind legs that are muscular like that of a frog. However, unlike frogs, these beetles don’t use their legs to jump. Females don’t have these frog-like legs, but they are still beautifully colored. 

32. 14-Spotted Ladybug

Close up of the 14-spotted ladybird on a leaf.
  • Latin name: Propylea quatuordecimpunctata
  • Habitat: Can be found widely distributed throughout the Palearctic region
  • Size: About 0.14″ to 0.16″ long
  • Diet: Mostly various types of aphids, though it also will eat the eggs or larvae of some other insects
  • Colorful feature: This ladybug species is somewhat unique in that it can come in around 100 color varieties! Just about all of them have black rectangular spots, but the spots are almost always connected. The end result is a striking geometric pattern. Many 14-spotted ladybugs are black and yellow. The base coloring can range from pale cream to bright yellow to red-orange.

This beetle looks a bit like the more common red ladybug (or ladybird). It has a uniquely abbreviated common name, too: some people combine the first letter of the genus name and the number of spots it has, and simply call it P-14.

33. Scarlet Lily Beetle

Scarlet Lily Beetle on leaf.
  • Latin name: Lilioceris lilii
  • Habitat: Originally found in Europe and Asia, though it has been accidentally introduced to many temperate parts of the world where lilies are cultivated
  • Size: About 0.6″ to 0.8″ long
  • Diet: Flowers, stems, buds, and leaves of various plants in the lily family
  • Colorful feature: As you can gather from the name, this beetle’s primary color is bright scarlet red. Its head, legs, and antennae are a beautifully contrasting black.

This bright, eye-catching beetle is certainly beautiful. However, because it likes to feed on most parts of lily plants, it is considered to be a pest in areas where lilies are grown. Its larvae cause the most plant damage; they begin feeding on the undersides of leaves and gradually expand to cover much of the plant.

34. Rhododendron Leafhopper

Rhododendron Leafhopper on leaf.
  • Latin name: Graphocephala fennahi
  • Habitat: Found in wooded areas of northern Georgia, southern Virginia, and the western Carolinas, but it has been introduced to parts of Europe
  • Size: About 0.3″ to 0.4″ long
  • Diet: Mostly the sap of rhododendron plants
  • Colorful feature: The rhododendron leafhopper is another of the bugs on the list that looks like it’s painted. Its base color is a pretty turquoise, and it has an eye-catching pattern of bright orange streaks. The belly and legs are a soft yellow.

Though this bug is certainly beautiful, it can become quite a garden pest. It feeds on rhododendrons, though experts believe it also may be partially responsible for the spread of a fungus that impacts rhododendrons. If you find that rhododendron leafhoppers are causing problems in your garden, it’s a good idea to do your best to attract harlequin ladybirds, as they prey on the leafhoppers.

35. Cecropia Moth Caterpillar

Close-up of Cecropia Moth Caterpillar.
  • Latin name: Hyalophora cecropia
  • Habitat: Can be found across much of North America
  • Size: About 4″ to 4.5″ long
  • Diet: Various common leaves including maple, apple, and birch
  • Colorful feature: The giant cecropia moth caterpillar almost looks like some kind of sculpture. It’s pale green and covered in lines of blue and orange protrusions. Many of these protrusions are covered in imposing-looking black spikes.

This giant caterpillar, fittingly enough, eventually becomes a large moth. The cecropia moth is a type of silk moth that can grow to have a wingspan of 5″ to 7″! Unfortunately, it faces a number of threats in the wild, including an introduced parasite intended to control the invasive gypsy moth population.

36. Harlequin Bug

Harlequin Bug on green plant.
  • Latin name: Acrocinus longimanus
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout Uruguay and in parts of southern Mexico
  • Size: Up to about 3″ long
  • Diet: Primarily the sap of various types of plants
  • Colorful feature: As you can likely guess from the name, the harlequin bug is beautifully patterned. It has a black base color marked with intricate swirls of red-orange and cream.

This magnificent beetle has the potential to help those suffering from severe infections. Researchers have found that Alo-3, a peptide that can be found in the harlequin bug, may be able to serve as a treatment for certain severe infections acquired in hospitals.

37. Rosemary Beetle

Rosemary Beetle isolated against black.
  • Latin name: Chrysolina americana
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout northern Africa, the Middle East, the Near East, and southern Europe
  • Size: About 0.25″ to 0.31″ long
  • Diet: Mostly rosemary, lavender, and thyme
  • Colorful feature: This striking beetle looks like a little jewel. Its body is mostly metallic green with purple lengthwise stripes.

Though this colorful beetle prefers to feed on rosemary, it typically does not cause major problems for the host plant. Experts recommend hand-picking these beetles from plants or shaking them off onto a piece of paper if you notice a large number of rosemary beetles.

38. Rainbow Grasshopper

Rainbow Grasshopper on a beautiful yellow flower.
  • Latin name: Dactylotum bicolor
  • Habitat: Grassland areas in much of the western United States, though its range also extends to southern Canada and northern Mexico
  • Size: Males are about 0.8″ long; females are about 1.4″ long
  • Diet: Various types of plant matter
  • Colorful feature: This brilliantly-banded grasshopper has a black base color with bands of red and yellow. It also has a few pale blue-green markings.

This beautiful insect is also called the painted grasshopper or barber pole grasshopper. Its bright colors are an example of aposematic coloring, where a prey animal’s color is designed to warn predators that it is unpalatable.

39. Common Banded Peacock

Common Banded Peacock on pink flowers.
  • Latin name: Papilio crino
  • Habitat: Can be found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent
  • Size: Wingspan is about 3.1″ to 4″ long
  • Diet: Various blooms, especially those on trees
  • Colorful feature: This striking butterfly bears some resemblance to other members of its genus like the Malabar banded peacock. Its base color is dark, metallic blackish-green. Each wing is traversed by a narrow band of bright green with a faint blue tinge.

Some butterflies can be found in large groups, but this one is almost always a solitary traveler. Since it prefers to forage very high up, it can be difficult to spot. However, it occasionally likes to feed on plants low to the ground. If you see one here, consider yourself fortunate!

40. Phantom Flutterer

Phantom Flutterer with grass blades in the background.
  • Latin name: Rhyothemis semihyalina
  • Habitat: Various wet habitat types throughout much of Africa
  • Size: Wingspan up to about 2.8″
  • Diet: Various types of smaller insects
  • Colorful feature: The phantom fluttered has some of the most mysterious coloring on the list. At first, its wings appear to be mostly translucent. But in the right lighting, it becomes brilliantly iridescent!

Most dragonflies are beautiful, but this one is uniquely so. As you can see in the photo, when it’s viewed in the right light, its wings are largely dark metallic purplish blue. The white patches on the ends of its forewings make it especially stunning.

41. Polybothris sumptuosa

Polybothris sumptuosa isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Polybothris sumptuosa
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout Madagascar
  • Size: About 1.4″ to 1.5″ long
  • Diet: Various types of woods
  • Colorful feature: This magnificent jewel beetle is mostly iridescent blue, though it has some highlights of green as well. The upper body is covered in a smattering of silvery markings.

Madagascar is home to a whole host of uniquely beautiful animals. And as you can see with this one, even the smallest creatures of Madagascar are memorable. Polybothris sumptuosa continues to be beautiful even in death, so it can often be purchased in preserved form from insect specialty sites and even some individual crafters.

42. Cinnamon Bug

Cinnamon Bug on green leaf.
  • Latin name: Corizus hyoscyami
  • Habitat: Can be found across much of Europe
  • Size: About 0.35″ long
  • Diet: Foliage of many types of plants
  • Colorful feature: This bug is sometimes called the black and red squash bug. Its back is largely red to fiery red-orange, and it is marked with a distinctive black pattern.

If you think this bug looks familiar, you may well have seen it before. But it also bears a striking resemblance to the firebug, or Pyrrhocoris apterus. The two species are unrelated but have virtually the same colors. However, the black marks on the firebug look vaguely like a face.

43. Flower Beetle

Flower Beetle on branch.
  • Latin name: Chlorocala africana oertzeni
  • Habitat: Can be found across tropical parts of Africa
  • Size: About 0.75″ to 0.94″ long
  • Diet: Mostly rotting fruit
  • Colorful feature: This striking beetle looks as though it’s been painted. As you can see in the picture, it’s a mix of electric purple and rich cerulean blue.

This beautiful bug is one of the subspecies of the African flower beetle Chlorocala africana. Many of these subspecies are some shade of green, though most have markings of red, blue, or purple. For those interested in raising beetles in captivity, this species is a good choice, as it’s easy to breed and develops quickly.

44. Madagascan Blue Stick Insect

A Madagascan Blue Stick Insect standing on a twig.
  • Latin name: Achrioptera fallax
  • Habitat: Can be found throughout Madagascar
  • Size: Males are around 5″ long; females are up to about 7″ long
  • Diet: Various types of plant matter
  • Colorful feature: This strange insect looks almost like an alien. It’s mostly blue but has yellow forewings and red hindwings

This bright blue stick insect’s wings add a burst of color to its already bright body. Thanks to its beauty, it is often kept in captivity. Experts don’t know which plants it prefers in the wild, but when it’s in captivity, it seems to enjoy eating oak, bramble, raspberry, and eucalyptus leaves.

45. Pachyrhynchus gemmatus

Pachyrhynchus gemmatus on white background.
  • Latin name: Pachyrhynchus gemmatus
  • Habitat: Can be found across many islands in Southeast Asia
  • Size: About 0.5″ long
  • Diet: Various types of plants depending on exact location
  • Colorful feature: This magnificent weevil is another of the very colorful Pachyrhynchus genus. Its base color is metallic purplish black, and it is covered with eye-like spots of green mixed with yellow.

Like others in its genus, this weevil lives in an area where many closely related species are nearby. Scientists believe that the genus diversified when weevils “rafted” on host plants to nearby islands. Though most in this genus are very bright, this one’s spotted pattern makes it truly eye-catching!

46. Rosy Maple Moth

Rosy Maple Moth on white wall.
  • Latin name: Dryocampa rubicunda
  • Habitat: Can be found across much of North America
  • Size: Wingspan is about 1.25″ to 2″
  • Diet: Mostly maple leaves, though it also will eat oak leaves
  • Colorful feature: This lovely moth has a woolly yellow body with soft pink and yellow wings. Its legs and antennae are pink, too.

No list of colorful insects is complete without the rosy maple moth. This little creature is quite bright, especially considering the fact that it comes from North America. As we’ve seen, many of the world’s most colorful insects come from Southeast Asia and other tropical regions. Notably, the rosy maple moth is the smallest of the world’s silk moths.

47. Common Milkweed Locust

Common Milkweed Locust in tall grass.
  • Latin name: Phymateus morbillosus
  • Habitat: Can be found in most of Africa and Madagascar, as well as in parts of India 
  • Size: About 2.8″ long
  • Diet: Primarily milkweed plants
  • Colorful feature: Though this insect has “common” in the name, it is extraordinarily colorful! The upper body and hind legs are a lively crimson. The belly is bright yellow, and the wings are black or slate gray with small yellowish spots.

Even though it’s called a locust, this interesting bug is a species of grasshopper. You might wonder how it camouflages with its bright coloring. But when it spreads its wings, it can appear to be a piece of foliage.

48. Rainbow Jewel Beetle

Rainbow Jewel Beetle on brown leaf.
  • Latin name: Chrysochroa fulgens
  • Habitat: Can be found in most of Southeast Asia
  • Size: About 0.8″ long
  • Diet: Various types of wood
  • Colorful feature: This brilliant bug is easily one of the most colorful of the jewel beetles! Its base color is deep metallic blue, and it’s marked with patches that contain every other color of the rainbow. This beautiful coloration is made even more striking by the band of cream coloration across the middle of the body.

The sheer variety of jewel beetle species is incredible. And while all are colorful, this one probably has the largest variety of color of any one species. You can see each color of the rainbow across its body!

49. Crimson Marsh Glider

Close-up of Crimson Marsh Glider.
  • Latin name: Trithemis aurora
  • Habitat: Can be found in most parts of Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent
  • Size: Wingspan is about 1.1″
  • Diet: Various types of smaller insects
  • Colorful feature: Males of this species are incredibly bright: their bodies are almost entirely a rich crimson red. The veins on their clear wings are also crimson, so when viewed from afar, the wings seem to have a reddish cast.

This beautiful dragonfly is very common throughout its native range. You can find it just about anywhere near a relatively large body of stagnant or slow-moving water. Though the males are certainly brighter, some females have a patch of bright orange down the back.

50. Orchid Bee

Close-up of Orchid Bee on flower.
  • Latin name: Euglossa sp. 
  • Habitat: Can be found in most tropical parts of Central America and South America
  • Size: Up to about 0.5″ long
  • Diet: Primarily feeds on orchid blossoms
  • Colorful feature: The term “orchid bee” refers to a number of different species. But all of these species are brilliantly colored: many are deep steel blue or rich blue-green. Some are even closer to being gold or copper.

The different species of orchid bee are difficult to distinguish, so many people just refer to the whole genus as that of orchid bees. Though they are small, they are certainly remarkable-looking. Most bees appear to be somewhat fuzzy. And while orchid bees do have some hairs, they primarily appear to be metallic.

51. Madagascan Sunset Moth

Beautiful green and black butterfly sitting on green leaves.
  • Latin name: Chrysiridia rhipheus
  • Habitat: Can be found in selected parts of Madagascar
  • Size: Wingspan is about 2.8″ to 3.5″
  • Diet: Primarily feeds on tropical plants in the Omphalea genus
  • Colorful feature: This spectacular moth’s forewings are mostly bluish or greenish, and the colors become warmer on the hindwings. The body is marked with splashes of black, and the whole body appears metallic.

The Madagascan sunset moth is a mainstay on lists of colorful insects, as it’s probably the most colorful moth in the world! If you travel to its natural habitat, you may have an easier time spotting it. Unlike most moths, this one flies during the day.

52. Western Horse Lubber Grasshopper

Western Horse Lubber Grasshopper on small tree.
  • Latin name: Taeniopoda eques
  • Habitat: Can be found in much of the southwestern United States and Northern Mexico
  • Size: Up to about 2.8″ long
  • Diet: Largely various types of plant material, though it also will eat spider silk, other insects, and a range of other materials
  • Colorful feature: This beautiful grasshopper has intricate coloring in high-contrast black and yellow. The base color is black, with dramatic yellow streaks by the neck and head. There is fainter yellow patterning across the rest of the body.

This oddly-named grasshopper is one of the many species on the list that relies on aposematic coloring. Since its bright pattern warns predators that it tastes very unpleasant, it’s able to perch high up on desert shrubs.

53. Tailed Jay

Close-up of Tailed Jay on flower.
  • Latin name: Graphium agamemnon
  • Habitat: Can be found in most of Southeast Asia, Japan, New Guinea, and even parts of Australia
  • Size: Wingspan is about 3.3″ to 4″
  • Diet: Primarily foliage of the false ashoka tree
  • Colorful feature: This unusual butterfly has a black base color with a fascinating pattern of pale green spots and stripes. Its underwings are also incredibly beautiful, as it has veins and a few spots of bright pink.

Last on the list is this striking butterfly that somewhat resembles those in the swallowtail family. Thanks to its spots and shape, you may hear it called the “green spotted triangle” or the “green triangle” as well.

Nature’s Brightly Colored Insects

Hopefully you now have a new appreciation for the beauty that insects offer the world. And if you look closely, you can find these many-colored animals just about anywhere, whether it’s in your own backyard or somewhere far away.