When you think of Attack Animal, you'll probably think of something big and/or badass, such as wolves, or tigers, or even dragons. Some people, however, have a kick with using... a certain creepier kind of creature. This trope is a Stock Superpower of pest manipulation (most common with insects, although rodents and arthropods and the like also counts here). The pest in question could be from little tiny life-eating bugs to more gigantic ones the size of buildings. Those who have this ability will often be portrayed as creepy themselves - they may be wicked, but they may just as often be just a decent, if quirky, fellow. Expect The Swarm and Zerg Rush to be their standard tactic. Sometimes the controller doesn't only control insects but is also made of them, in which case this overlaps with The Worm That Walks. They may also be Friend to Bugs (especially for the insects version), but not always. Subtrope of The Beastmaster and The Minion Master. Super Trope to Bee Bee Gun; bees are indeed among the most popular choice of insect, for many good reasons.
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Anime & Manga
- Get Backers has an entire race of this, the Kiryuudo race. They even have different "clans", where each clan control different type of bugs (one clan controls spiders, one clan controls butterflies, and so on). They're the Arch Enemy of the Maryuudo race, who controls more traditional beasts.
- Lutecia Alpine from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S could control insects on muliple levels, even summon one as large as Kaiju monsters.
- Shino and the Aburame clan from Naruto allow chakra bugs to live inside their bodies while giving them control over said bugs. They mainly used the bugs to subdue their opponent quickly by sucking their chakra off their body.
- Another example is one of the Sound Four, Kidomaru, who can summon and control either a swarm of big spiders, or a Giant Spider.
- The clone of Jean Henri Fabre in the Read or Die OVA can control bees and other bugs. The giant grasshopper he rides is mechanical, but the smaller bugs seem to be normal, organic insects.
- The Taoist Shiki in Black Cat uses multiple insect-related attacks, such as with moths, bees, and he can even ride on a giant dragonfly.
- Friesia from The Seven Deadly Sins has the ability to control swarms of bugs.
- The Godhand member Conrad from Berserk is capable of using plague carrying rats.
- Tommyrod from Toriko. For bonus disturbing points, he keeps the eggs of his insects inside his stomach and hatches them at will, vomiting them at the enemy. Yes, this includes even the enormous insectoid chimera abominations many times the size of a human.
- Marvel Comics. At one point in his superhero career Henry Pym went by the name Ant-Man and wore a helmet that could control ants. In the movie the helmet itself only facilitates breathing when shrunken. Ant commands are issued via a small device worn over the ear that translates thought waves into an olfactory signal the ants can act on.
- Parodied with Squirrel Girl: she has the uncanny ability to control squirrels. It is actually rather powerful since she has defeated many super powered beings with it, most notably Doctor Doom.
- The Movement: Jayden Revell aka the Mouse showed a closeness with rodents even as a baby, his parents were once horrified to find him sleeping soundly in his crib with rats. As he grew older, his learned to talk and control rats and mice.
- The Batman villain Ratcatcher, who trains and controls rats.
- Giselle from Enchanted has a singing voice that can summon animals to aid her in housework chores ala Snow White. In the beautiful animated land of Andalasia, these animals are the sweet forest animals. In the real world of New York, these animals are cockroaches, pigeons, flies and rats.
- In Phenomena, Jennifer Connelly has the power to control insects, and uses corpse flies to assist in a murder investigation.
- In The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Big Bad—Oogie Boogie—is an insect that controls other insects. His origin story reveals that he's the Anthropomorphic Personification of a forgotten holiday devoted to insects, meaning he's the embodiment of this trope.
- Bruce Almighty has the eponymous character use his newly acquired "God-hood" to get revenge on a group of gang members who jumped him earlier in the film. When they refuse to apologize, he makes a monkey come out of the lead gang member's butt and spews a swarm of flies from his mouth, sending the others running away in panic.
- In PC Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, a dozen or so of the students at Tentir, the military college, can "bind" animals. One (Gari) can control insects, another can control small rodents (mice and rats).
- The The Pied Piperof Hamelin is renowned for his Magic Music to enthrall rats. So much so that many similar characters found in other works are usually homages to him.
- Willard, in the original Ratman's Notebooks novel, the 1971 film entitled with his name, and the 2003 film remake, has a deep affinity for rats that he is able to command them to do his bidding. However, it is not total control as the rats tend to outright turn on him when they have a falling out with him.
- In Thomas Disch's The Roaches the main character discovered that she possessed the ability to telepathically communicate with and command cockroaches. Let's just say that it turned out to be not so good of a thing in the end...
- In one Homer Price story the town hires a pied piper type who uses a mechanical contraption to play the music in order to lead mice out of town. Homer and his friends decide to follow along and see what happens, but since Homer is Genre Savvy he has all the kids stuff cotton in their ears so they won't hear the music. Despite this, when the adults see the piper with a gaggle of kids following behind they fear the worst.
- The Big Bad of The Spiral Labyrinth by Matthew Hughes has an army of insects at its command. Under its control, they can even take down attacking dragons.
- In the Marla Mason series, Somerset—a former chief sorcerer of Felport—had the power to control hordes of rats and pigeons. Marla calls this "vermomancy".
Live Action TV
Mythology and Religion
- Beezelbub is literally "Lord of the Flies" and is attributed the power to both summon and dismiss pestilence and disease.
- BIONICLE. There is a Kraata with the Insect Control ability. By extension, Makuta have this power as well.
- In the both the Old and New World of Darkness game lines, many of the splats have powers that can allow them to control vermin. Vampires have the Animalism Discipline, werewolves and other shifters have Gifts, mages can use the Life Sphere, etc. Some of the splats even have a more intimate relationship with vermin, like the Nosferatu and Baali vampires, Ratkin wererats, Black Spiral Dancers werewolves, Fomors and Nephandi mages.
- Stratos from Azure Striker Gunvolt has this power, dubbed "Fly"... For all intents and purposes. The flies his body is made of are actually particles, but other trappings of this trope (such as Horror Hunger and what appears to be decaying flesh) apply. Of course, you'd never get that information in the game itself.
- Abaddon in Castlevania is usually a grasshopper looking humanoid who commands swarms of locusts.
- Command And Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars has the Scrin, where the commanders can control some bug-like creatures such as Buzzers and Disintegrators.
- Fallout 3 has the Antogonizer, a woman with a comic supervillain-themed costume and personality who can controls giant ants to "terrorize" the nearby town (although it's actually more of a series of show fights against her nemesis The Mechanic).
- In Half-Life 2, after killing the antlion queen, a vortigant extracts a gland which lets you control her spawn. You then invade Nova Prospekt backed up by a Horde of Alien Locusts.
- In Touhou, this is explicitly Wriggle Nightbug's ability. Somewhat justified, since Wriggle is a firefly youkai, and thus an insect herself.
- The Tento Clan in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon are a Ninja clan summon gigantic insects for boss fights. Their preferred method of assassination is using tiny luck locusts to steal someone's luck which results in them being killed in an unfortunate accident.
- Crypt Lords like Anub'Arak in Warcraft III are giant bugs who can summon carrion beetles from corpses and a swarm of angry locusts to attack their enemies.
- Majora's Mask has Odalwa, the boss of the Woodfall Temple. Among his many abilities, he can summon swarms of moths and beetles to attack Link.
- One of the more iconic abilities that Corvo from the game Dishonored can use is the ability to summon a swarm of rats to attack enemies.
- MortalKombatX 's D'vorah is a woman whose body is infested with symbiotic insect minions, mostly maggots. She is unharmed by them, but she can command them to take temporary residence in her defeated opponents.
- This is a power that the ecaflip race from Dofus and especially Wakfu have. They can siphon HP from enemies using "fleeces"that can be as big as a hand.
- Worm is Web Serial Novel centred around Taylor, a teenager who can psychically command invertebrates, such as insects, arachnids, and crustaceans. She has lots of fine control over them, to the point where she can summon them unconsciously to aid her when under stress. Uses for the power include making a costume out of spider silk and threatening people with brown recluse spiders.
- The Powerpuff Girls episode "Insect Inside". The villain Roach Coach can control an army of cockroaches. Played with since Roach Coach is revealed to be a roach himself, controlling a robotic suit made to look like a man (the episode title is a bit of a give-away). His ability to control roaches has less to do with being a superpower, and more to do with being a charismatic leader.
- Xiaolin Showdown has the Sheng Gong Wu, the Tongue of Saping, which allows the user to talk to insects and somewhat control them. Sometimes, it can work too well...
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: The fake monster in "When The Cicada Calls" is able to control cicadas and is covered in a swarm as their disguise.
- Ben 10 "Side Effects": While redeveloping a dilapidated residential area, the workers run afoul of Clancy, homeless man who can control bugs who taken up residence in one of the buildings to be demolished. When the building is destroyed in a fight with Ben, he vows revenge. He then tries to causie a nuclear meltdown, planning to survive the blast with an armor made of cockroaches. He is eventually defeated after being frozen by heatblast (who was turned An Ice Person due to a cold) and his control over insects was disrupted by Max's homemade medicine. He later shows up as part of the Negative 10, somehow becoming an insect-human hybrid.
- The Rat King from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tends to be depicted as having control over rats in some adaptations. In the first cartoon, he is initially capable of doing so via a flute ala The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and in later episodes he can do it psychically. In the 2003 and the 2012 cartoons, he is able to do so mentally from the start.
- From an episode of Extreme Ghostbusters, there is the Piper, an homage to The Pied Piper of Hamelin, who is capable of controlling pesky ghosts via his music. Subverted however though since he is actually a ghost himself who was scamming people, and the pesky ghosts he was controlling were actually a part of him.
- Confectioner Heinrich von Sugarbottom uses mind control juice injected via intelligent mosquitos to compel the local wildlife, including the visiting Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, to transplant cacao trees closer to his Incan temple cum Secret Base in the CDRR episode "Chocolate Chips."
- Batman Beyond has Patrick Poundstone aka Ratboy from the episode, "Rats", who can control the giant rats that live below Gotham He is a Stalker with a Crush to Dana Tan, Terry's Love Interest and kidnaps her. When she rebuffs him, he orders his rats to kill her but Batman manages to save her. Other people were not so lucky.