20 Colorful Insects That Are Unexpectedly Beautiful (2023 With Pictures)

Insects are the most diverse group of creatures on this planet. When the word “Insects” comes to your mind, the first picture that comes up to our mind is crawling-creepy creatures. But, if you dig deeper, you will find that insects have some of the most dazzling and striking colorations on the planet. In today’s list, we will be talking about the 20 Colorful Insects That Are Unexpectedly Beautiful. So without further ado, let’s get things rolling.

20 Colorful Insects That Are Unexpectedly Beautiful 

1. Sunset Moth

Sunset Moth
Sunset Moth

The black, prismatic markings of the sunset moth are red, blue, and green and are iridescent. One of the largest and most impressive-looking insects on the globe, the moth is very well-liked among collectors.

The sunset moth is frequently mistaken for a butterfly due to its remarkable resemblance to swallowtail species of butterflies, notably in its tail and vibrant wings. 

The color of a Sunset Moth’s wings does not come from pigments but due to the interference and scattering of light by microstructures in its wings.

  • Scientific Name: Chrysiridia rhipheus
  • Size: 7-11 centimeter (wingspan)
  • Location: endemic to Madagascar

2. Ulysses Butterfly

Ulysses Butterfly
Ulysses Butterfly

The second insect on this list of Colorful Insects is a large swallowtail butterfly, the Ulysses Butterfly. The wings on the upper side display an electric blue with iridescence, while the underside is a more muted black and brown. 

Ulysses Butterfly is most prevalent in Australia, where it is even utilized as a tourism symbol. It was named after the Greek hero Odysseus (Ulysses). 

These butterflies appear as bright flashes from far away when in flight. Blue objects, including those that are occasionally mistaken for females, are especially attractive to males.

  • Scientific Name: Papilio ulysses
  • Size: 14 centimeter (wingspan)
  • Location: Australia, Papua New Guinea

3. Japanese Jewel Beetle

Popular in Japan as the “tamamushi,” the Japanese Jewel Beetle shows its colors in bright sunlight conditions. The strange fact is this insect does not have any fixed color of its own.

Instead, it has iridescent wings that show various colorations when seen at different angles. The word tamamushi in Japanese refers to something that is not fixed or can have multiple interpretations, referring to the insect’s no well-defined coloration.

  • Scientific Name: Chrysochroa fulgidissima
  • Size: 1.2-1.6 inches in length
  • Location: native to Japan and Korea

4. Orchid Mantis

The next member of this list of Most Colorful insects is the Orchid Mantis, one of the finest examples so mimicry in nature. As the name suggests, Orchid Mantises mimic orchid flowers. They have flat legs that resemble the petals of orchids.

The Orchid Mantis was the first known animal to mimic the entire flower, not just some specific parts of it. Their front legs are for catching prey, which they can do at blinding speeds.

  • Scientific Name: Hymenopus coronatus
  • Size: 6-7 centimeters (females), 2-3 centimeters (males)
  • Location: Southeast Asian Rainforests

5. Golden Tortoise Beetle

Golden Tortoise Beetle
Golden Tortoise Beetle

A herbivorous leaf beetle, Charidotella sexpunctata is also referred to as the golden tortoise beetle. The bug is named after its eye-catching metallic-gold color and dome-shaped shell.

These insects may be dazzling gold, and it is their color that is so stunning. However, their colors can change over time, so the same bug might subsequently become bronze colored or reddish, with some occasional spots.

  • Scientific Name: Charidotella sexpunctata
  • Size: 0.2-0.3 inches
  • Location: America, place where its host plants grow

6. Picasso Bug

The next insect on this list of the most colorful insects is the one that rightfully lives up to its name, the Picasso Bug. The patterned shell with green as the base color is undoubtedly a work of art.

The eleven ring-shaped blotches may have a boundary color of orange, outlined by black and green filling the inside, giving this bug a dazzling appearance.

Despite its appearance, the bug emits a pungent obnoxious smell that deters predators. The ring pattern also serves to be a warning sign to the attackers.

  • Scientific Name: Sphaerocoris annulus
  • Size: 0.3 inches
  • Location: tropical and subtropical Africa

7. Green Milkweed Locust

The Green Milkweed Locust deserves all admiration for its brilliant colors. While at rest, the locust might look like a regular locust, with green body coloration.

But when in flight, the forewings, especially, display a brilliant mix of blue and red colors, giving this insect a dazzling appearance. To deter predators, they emit foul-smelling toxic foam-like substances made up of the toxic plants on which they feed.

  • Scientific Name: Phymateus viridipes
  • Size: 2.8 inches
  • Location: Africa

8. Coastal Peacock Spider

The genus Maratus houses some of the most fantastic-looking jumping spiders in the world that can make even arachnophobic people fall for their beauty. 

The colored region of the body is the upper side of the abdomen, which is hairy and has a brilliant blue base color. Over it lays two bright orange-red spots and lines. 

The edge of the abdomen gives rise to long, vibrant orange hairs, making this spider one of the most colorful insects on the planet.

  • Scientific Name: Maratus speciosus
  • Size: 4-5 milimeters
  • Location: Australia

9. Red Speckled Jewel Beetle

Red Speckled Jewel Beetle
Red Speckled Jewel Beetle | Credits: u/joruuhs (Reddit)

Jewel Beetles are known far and wide for their astonishing colorations. Many exhibit iridescence and therefore show all colors from the visible spectrum. 

The Red Specked Jewel Beetle, however, shows yellow or sometimes orange colorations of the elytra, topped with bluish-black markings. The pronotum may have a metallic red sheen, with the central region as blue.

  • Scientific Name: Chrysochroa buqueti
  • Size: 1.6-1.9 inches
  • Location: Southeast Asia

10. Indian Painted Grasshopper

Indian Painted Grasshopper
Indian Painted Grasshopper

The Indian Painted Grasshopper is, without a doubt, one of the wonders of the insect world. The colors emerge when the grasshopper is completely mature.

Canary yellow forms the base color of the body, which then has turquoise blue stripes all over it, including the antennae. The wings are half green and half red, etched with bright yellow spots. 

Such contrasting vibrant colorations make the Indian Painted Grasshopper one of the most sought insects across the globe.

  • Scientific Name: Poekilocerus pictus
  • Size: up to 4.3 inches
  • Location: Indian subcontinent

11. Cairns Birdwing

Cairns Birdwing
Cairns Birdwing

Next up, we have the largest butterfly species in Australia, the Cairns Birdwing. The male, though smaller than the female, makes this butterfly one of the most colorful insects. 

Its vivid coloration consists of a yellow abdomen, black head, and thorax, while the region of attachment of wings takes a bright red color.

The wings especially are black, with flashes of emerald green, yellow, and sometimes even blue. Females, however, have dull brown wings with white, yellow, and black etches.

  • Scientific Name: Ornithoptera euphorion
  • Size: up to 7.5 inches (wingspan)
  • Location: Australia

12. Spiny Flower Mantis

Spiny Flower Mantis
Spiny Flower Mantis | Credits: USMANTIS

The next member of this list of most colorful insects is the spiny flower mantis. The segments are a broad green banding over a pinkish-white base hue. Additionally, it has green bands or dots on its head, legs, and also on thorax. 

Lighting plays quite a significant role in determining the color of the eye and can range from lavender to deep purple. When they are adults, their wings feature a black and yellow “swirl” resembling an eye to let predators know they are being watched.

  • Scientific Name: Hymenopus coronatus
  • Size: 1-2 inches
  • Location: Southern and Eastern Africa

13. Cotton Harlequin Bug Nymph

Harlequin Bugs belong to the stink bug family. The lymph of this species is particularly colorful, showing blue, metallic green, and red colorations, sometimes even purple. 

Scientists suggest that the variety in colorations may help in reducing the chances of falling prey to birds. As they grow into adults, the color changes to red, with black spots. 

Though ideally harmless, Cotton Harlequin bugs may sometimes become pests as they attack cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, and radish plants.

  • Scientific Name: Tectocoris diophthalmus
  • Size: 0.8 inches
  • Location: Australia, New Guinea

14. Malay Lacewing

Malay Lacewings fall among the most beautiful butterflies on the planet. The upperside of the forewings of this butterfly show an orange base coloration topped with a white band that traverses to the lower side.

The edges of the wings have black and white scallops. The region below the white band has a deeper red color and multiple stripes, which are either black or pale blue. 

The butterfly has such detailed patterns that it feels as if someone has carefully painted it with a brush. No wonder it is counted among the most colorful insects.

  • Scientific Name: Cethosia hypsea
  • Size: wingspan of 3 inches
  • Location: Indonesia, Philippines

15. Rosemary Beetle

Rosemary Beetles have very colorful elytra, which makes this beetle highly attractive. The beetle is tiny, with metallic green elytra, accompanied by purplish-red longitudinal stripes that run down. 

The head and the prothorax have basal metallic green coloration but may have some degree of red markings. A light reddish hue might be seen on the legs.

As the name suggests, Rosemary Beetles primarily feed on Rosemary but may also feed on thyme and Rosemary. The forge activities may spike up during spring when they gather on the host plant in large numbers.

They frequently inhabit their host plants in great numbers. In the spring, they forage a lot, but in the hottest part of the summer, they become less active. These beetles can fly briefly because of their tiny wings, but the majority of them prefer to walk.

  • Scientific Name: Chrysolina Americana
  • Size: 0.2-0.3 inches
  • Location: Southern Europe, Northern Africa

16. Rainbow Grasshopper

The Rainbow Grasshopper quite rightfully stands up to its name, as it is no less colorful than a rainbow. The insect displays a play of colors, consisting of black, reddish, and yellow spotting and variously colored wing pads. 

The bright colors have a particular function called aposematism. It serves as a warning sign to predators, like lizards, that they are unpalatable beings and therefore do not attempt to feed on them. 

Rainbow Grasshoppers do not possess wings and are, therefore, unable to fly. The coloration may vary depending on the location and the subspecies.

  • Scientific Name: Dactylotum bicolor
  • Size: 1.4 inches (females), 0.8 inches (males)
  • Location: Western USA, Canada, Mexico

17. Blue Rainbow Jewel Beetle

The Blue Rainbow Jewel Beetle displays one of the most fantastic iridescence in the entire animal world. Iridescence works best when the animal is placed under bright light, and the Blue Rainbow beetle is no exception to it. 

The coloration is the best when we move them a bit and observe them at different angles. At one angle, the insect displays a vibrant metallic orange color, which quite resembles a fire.

A stunning metallic blue insect, Blue Rainbow Jewels also show a blazing red, yellow, or orange color.

  • Scientific Name: Polybothris sumptuous
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Location: Madagascar

18. Rosy Maple Moth

Rosy Maple Moth
Rosy Maple Moth

The vibrant hue of the pink maple moth helps to identify it. Rosy Maple Moths come in a wide spectrum of colors like cream, purple, pink, white, and even cream, with the pink and yellow variety being the most common. 

The hindwings are yellow, while the forewings are pink, having a triangular yellow mark in the middle. Adult moths have thick and velvety bodies, and males have long antennas to pick up pheromones that the female releases in the atmosphere to attract mates.

  • Scientific Name: Dryocampa rubicunda
  • Size: 1.2-2 inches
  • Location: North America

19. Tailed Jay

Tailed Jay
Tailed Jay

The second last insect on this list of most colorful insects is the Tailed Jay, a species of swallowtail butterfly. Tailed Jays show some of the prettiest colorations of all creatures on the planet.

 The base color of the dorsal side of the wings is black, with several patterns of light green and white color. Tailed Jays are quite active insects and constantly flutter their wings, giving us some of the best glimpses of nature.

  • Scientific Name: Graphium agamemnon
  • Size: 3.3-4 inches of wingspan
  • Location: India, Sri Lanka

20. Lantern Bug

spotted lanternfly
Spotted Lanternfly

The Lantern Bug is quite an unreal insect known for its surreal appearance. Also known as the lanternfly, these bugs have a proboscis which is lengthy and vivid red, and it resembles a long nose. Their wings have vibrant yellow dots, with white outlining and striking blue and green patterns.       

  • Scientific Name: Pyrops candelaria
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Location: Southeast Asia

That’s all for today. We’ll now wind up this article on 20 Colorful Insects That Are Unexpectedly Beautiful. But before you leave, make sure to check out our other write-ups as well, on a broad spectrum of niches. We’ll be back soon, until then; Goodbye.


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