It was no accident that they looked insectlike to human beings. Though their internal organs were now much more complex and specialized than any insects, and they had evolved an internal skeleton and shed most of the exoskeleton, their physical structure still echoed their ancestors, who could easily have been very much like Earth's ants. "But don't be fooled by that," said Graff. "It's just as meaningful to say that our ancestors could easily have been very much like squirrels."
You've got Humanoid Aliens
, and you've got Starfish Aliens
. Somewhere in between are the Insectoid Aliens.
For some reason, authors like to model their aliens — especially villain aliens — after Earth bugs.
May or may not be related to a Horde of Alien Locusts
Expect this trope to invoke a lot of Hive Mind
and Bee People
, and a philosophy of We Have Reserves
and Attack! Attack! Attack!
. A Bug War
will often (although not always) feature opponents that actually look like bugs.
Overlaps with Big Creepy-Crawlies
, though this trope deals specifically with extraterrestrial bugs.
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Anime & Manga
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS introduces Lutecia, who has the ability to summon these. According to side materials, the giant Jiraiyo beetles come from the mountainous region of an uninhabited planet, while the insectoid Kaiju Hakutenou is a rare creature from a planet outside TSAB jurisdiction.
- The Vajra from Macross Frontier can not only survive in space, but are perfectly capable of both fold communication and fold travel.
- The Baikins from Anpanman, despite being called "alien germs", are more insect like than anything else. They have antenna (most have only one, some have two), most of the males have mandible-equse teeth structures, and a few of them have tiny fly-like wings that they can buzz around with. Their smaller minions, Kabirunrun, look like vaguely bug-like blobs, having four arms and antenna.
- The Zylons from DC Comics' Star Raiders graphic novel.
- The Antarenes, from Superworld Comics, look like large green ants. They attempted to push the Earth into the sun and replace it with their own planet.
- The hero Bug from Micronauts, and his race the Insectivorids.
- The "bugs" of New Genesis evolved as a result of biological weapons used by Apokolips. They're an intelligent race, though still animalistic in their culture. They're treated with terrible Fantastic Racism by the planet's Human Aliens, who regard them literally as vermin (which is highly hypocritical, or at least ignorant, for the inhabitants of a planet that is supposed to very literally represent the side of good). Forager, a new god raised by the bugs, tries to be a bridge between the two peoples.
- Katydid from Omega Men.
- The Fantastic Four's enemy Annihilus.
- Legion of Super-Heroes member Gates.
- The Sectaurs, in Marvel's comic based on the line of action figures.
- In Doctor Who Fanfic "The Worm from Space" the last of the Worm Kings, Wurzin, appears. He looks like a 12-legged worm with three eyes.
- The Prawns from District 9 are Humanoid Aliens with an insectoid slant.
- The main villain from the first Men In Black film is a twenty foot long cockroach from outer space.
- The titular aliens from the Alien films aren't strictly insectoid, but they do have biomechanical-looking exoskeletons and an ant-like society.
- The Martians in Five Million Years to Earth (AKA Quatermass and the Pit) looked like large locusts.
- The villains of Godzilla vs. Gigan are cockroaches from space.
- The Geonosians in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The Star Wars Expanded Universe offers up many more examples.
- This is what Kim Jong Il from Team America: World Police is shown to be at the end of the film.
- The Arachnids from Starship Troopers. They come in various shapes and sizes too - the common "infantry", so to speak, consists of pretty large (taller than humans, but not by much), four-legged, shrieking horrors, but there are also giant fire-breathing beetles, dragonfly-wasp-fly-like flyers big enough to grab and lift a man from the ground and, best of all, enormous brain-eaters that resemble bloated larvae. They seem to have a hive mind system.
- The aliens in Alien Apocalypse (2005) are locust-like and feed on trees.
- Mr. Scroop from Treasure Planet.
- In the Soviet two-part sci-fi film Moscow ó Cassiopeia, Lob is a sci-fi fan and is constantly spouting his expectations of aliens. In his mind, they should look somewhat like dragonflies (he calls them "strekozoids" formed from "strekoza", Russian for "dragonfly" and the "-oid" suffix). Unfortunately, he's Wrong Genre Savvy, and the aliens are humanoid.
- The Bugs from Starship Troopers is an early example of this trope.
- The Formics from Enderís Game are insectlike with a Hive Mind. They are also nicknamed "Buggers".
- Expanded upon in the Ender's Game Alive audioplay, where Ender explores the Formic-made tunnels on Eros and notes that Formic ship movements sometimes mimic these tunnels, resulting in a Eureka Moment when Ender realizes that this must mean that the queens aren't always in direct control over all the drones, and those that are left "on automatic" go back to their pre-sentience roots and try to "burrow" through space.
- The "Wormface" aliens in Robert A. Heinlein's YA novel Have Space Suit Ė Will Travel.
- Several races in the Star Trek Novel Verse. Most are highly conservative cultures, and range from the peaceful Nasat, who resemble giant pillbugs and are known for their desire to avoid conflict (see Starfleet Corps of Engineers in particular), through the Orishans, to the hostile Cheka, who resemble spiders. There are also Kaferians, Jarada and the wasp-race in the first Starfleet Corps of Engineers story.
- The thranx of the Humanx Commonwealth series by Alan Dean Foster (see the page pic). As the name would imply, humans and thranx are allies.
- The Groaci of Retief are vaguely insectile.
- The Taxxons and (to some extent) the Helmacrons from Animorphs.
- And the Skrit Na larval state-Ax said it looked like a giant cockroach.
- Also, the Nesk in "In the Time of Dinosaurs".
- The Mi-Go from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos can fit, although in their introductory story "The Whisperer in Darkness", they are more commonly described as crustaceans.
- The Miktok in the Confederation of Valor series are giant spiders that are renowned for the beauty of their art.
- The Tyr, the Saudar, and one slave race in The Madness Season are, respectively, ant-like aliens (in habit if not in exact appearance), beetle-like aliens, and spider-like aliens.
- The narrator of The Flight Engineer remarks that the Fibians seem to be tailor-made to push all of humanity's arthropod-related fear buttons. Take the body of a spider and inflate it to five feet tall with males and over ten feet tall with females. Replace the front pair of legs with hands. Add a whiplike stinger to the abdomen.
- The S'krrr in Galaxy of Fear: The Swarm. They even communicate with Bug Buzz.
- In Andre Norton's Storm Over Warlock, the Throg are insectile.
- The appropriately-named Insects in Andrey Livadny's The History of the Galaxy look like upright-walking black ants about the size of a human who communicate via telepathy. While each Insect is an individual, the Hive "mental field" can be used to remove an Insect's individuality, turning it into a mindless drone for use as cheap workforce or soldiers. Because of this, the Insects have never developed cybernetics and are baffled by human-made cyborgs and Humongous Mecha.
- There's an alien like this in the Doctor Who episode "Utopia".
- A different species, resembling humanoid flies appear in "Planet of the Dead".
- The Wirrin from "The Ark In Space" are widely believed to have been an inspiration for the film Alien.
- "The Web Planet" was inhabited by two insectoid races, the friendly Monoptera and the sinister Zarbi. The Zarbi are naturally like cattle but are being controlled by Eldritch Abomination the Animus.
- One of the Xindi races in Star Trek: Enterprise.
- A crime lord in the early seasons of Babylon 5 is basically a sentient praying mantis. There are also the Shadows, which basically look like human-sized, black, spiky spider people, and the Gaim (who underneath their environmental suits look like giant ants).
- A number of the less silly aliens from Power Rangers tend towards this, although being played by men in suits, they're usually still bipedal. Most notably are the Barillian Bugs that wiped out most of Andros' homeworld of KO-35 from Power Rangers in Space. They are The Virus- get stung by one, and you slowly turn into one.
- The Worms from Kamen Rider Kabuto.
- The Reetou, from the Stargate Verse, have an insectoid structure.
- SCP Foundation, SCP-875 ("War Criminals"). SCP-875-1 are flying insects that are different from any known Earthly species, indicating that they are from another world. The large creatures in the cryogenic stasis chambers are also insectoid in nature and are presumably from the same source.
- One of the races that the Tau are allied with in the Warhammer 40,000 universe are the insectoid Vespid. The Tyranids are also heavily modeled after Earth insects, having six limbs and chitinous armor (though thankfully, no Earth insect we know of has More Teeth than the Osmond Family or Combat Tentacles).
- In Starfire, the enemy aliens-bent-on-genocide during the Fourth Interstellar War are called the Arachnids. I'll give you one guess as to what they look like.
- Thri-keen in Dungeons & Dragons are basically praying mantises the size of humans.
- The late 90s Insectoids line of Lego sets featured a planet populated by various giant insect species - therefore, the ships of the planet's colonists all had deliberately bug-like features, as a means of disguise from the local wildlife.
- Sectaurs: Warriors of Symbion was a line of action figures with an insectoid theme. They received a Marvel comic and a Five-Episode Pilot for a TV series.
- The action figure line "Bug-Men of Insecta."
- The Drudge from The Conduit and Conduit 2
- Yars' Revenge. They're actually originally Earth insects that became mutated into alien creatures.
- One of the races of the Covenant from the Halo games are Drones, insectoid flying aliens.
- Half-Life 2 has Antlions, which are (presumably) from Xen.
- The rachni from Mass Effect. Also, from the second game, the Collectors (formerly Protheans).
- Conquest Frontier Wars: The mantis.
- The Space Pirates from Metroid seem to switch between this and humanoid crustaceans but are really more fleshy or scaled creatures that wear insectoid armor.Metroid Prime also wears insectoid armor it stole from the Pirates but is something entirely different underneath. There are plenty of straight examples of course, like the Ki-Hunters and Kanden.
- The Hivers from Sword of the Stars.
- The Scrin
- The Mandibugs and their leader Bugaboom from Super Mario Galaxy. Averted with the bees, however.
- Starcraft: Zerg. 'nuff said.
- The Odarites from Otherspace, ant-wasp things forced into a mafia-like corporate structure from birth.
- EarthBound: Buzz Buzz.
- Klackons in the Master of Orion games. Tachidi in the third.
- The Mantids from Turok 2.
- The Nephilim from Wing Commander: Prophecy.
- In Beast Wars a portion of the antagonist Predacon faction transform into various Arthropods including wasps and spiders (the female forms, ironically despite being apparently male). One former protagonist Maximal, Blackarachnia is also a spider.
- Ben 10 can turn into Stinkfly, Big Chill and Eatle.
- The aptly-named Insecticans from Earthworm Jim.
- The Irkens from Invader Zim look sort of like a cross between Insectoid Aliens and Little Green Men.
- In Space Ghost, Zorak was a giant praying mantis.
- The more robotic Insecticons in The Transformers can clone themselves and perform locust like swarms, unlike other Transformers (at least at the time) they can digest organic matter alongside Energon.