Have you ever seen such an adorably coloured moth in your life? Rosy maple moths live in North America and are most active during the night, which seems a shame considering how cheerful they’d look fluttering about during the day. They feed on maple trees, which probably explains their sweet looks.
There are around 15,000 varieties of these beautiful bugs, making them one of the largest beetle families. With so many colour varieties and sparkling, iridescent carapaces on show, it’s no wonder that these showy insects have been compared to jewels.
Delicate and spindly hovering insects that could easily be mistaken for dragonflies, the key difference between damselflies and their cousins is their wings: all four are equal in size, unlike the dragonfly’s shorter hind wings. Damselflies have remarkably friendly faces when you look at them up close, and have even been spotted holding hands with one another. Bless ‘em.
Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar
With their big, beguiling eyes, spicebush swallowtail caterpillars look more like cartoon characters than real creepy crawlies. In fact, those adorable peepers aren’t really eyes at all—they’re merely markings to put off predators, who sometimes mistake the cunning caterpillars for snakes.
Elephant hawk moth caterpillar
Like the spicebush swallowtail, elephant hawk moth caterpillars know that pretending to be a scary serpent gives it a better chance of survival during its delectably squishy (to birds, at least) larval stage. Its name comes from its protruding nose, which looks a bit like an elephant’s trunk.
We dare you not to crack a smile while watching busy bumblebees buzz from flower to flower as fast as their fat, fuzzy little bodies can take them. Nesting bumblebees form the hairs on their legs into makeshift baskets to help them when they’re carrying pollen.
Spiders are notorious icons of horror, but these famously scary arachnids also have a softer side. The male peacock spider flaunts his vibrant colours during elaborate mating dances, wiggling his mandibles and legs around to attract females. Unfortunately the lady spiders aren’t so cute, tending to eat the males they aren’t impressed by.
Although voracious predators in the wild, many people have noted the praying mantis’s apparently friendly nature when handled by humans. Some seem to enjoy being picked up, swaying their bodies and tilting their heads in a curious and lovable manner. The cuteness is only amplified when mantises are spotted riding snails, which they've been known to do on occasion.
The unique-looking saddleback caterpillar derives its cuteness from the prominent ‘saddle’ on its back, which looks like it’s designed to transport smaller bugs from A to B (this doesn’t actually happen, but is an incredibly adorable thought). Its hairy legs and horns give it a cute and fuzzy appearance. However, handling these caterpillars is not recommended—they let out an irritating venom that can cause rashes and nausea.
It must be the polka-dot patterns on ladybirds backs that make them so popular; that and their pest-eliminating diet of aphids. In fact, the red and black patterns found on the shells of these common beetles is supposed to be a warning to predators. We can’t speak from experience, but apparently they taste disgusting.
Baby insects are often called nymphs, and the leafhopper has particularly cute offspring. They come in a wide variety of colours, from mottled green to vivid fluorescent orange with electric blue stripes.
The flannel moth is a considerably fluffy character, covered with fur that lasts from caterpillar to adulthood. As with the saddleback caterpillar, touching the hairs on these impressive animals should not be attempted as they are capable of delivering a painful sting. That won’t stop us from admiring the fantastically furry flannel moth from afar.
Not a fan of insects? We can’t really blame you—creepy crawlies are repeatedly portrayed as ugly, scary, dangerous or downright boring. But take some time to get to know a few species from the mindbogglingly massive world of invertebrates, and you’ll be amazed at how adorable these minibeasts can be. To aid you on your insect appreciation quest, check out this endearing collection of cute bugs.