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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."
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You've got Humanoid Aliens, and you've got Starfish Aliens. Somewhere in between are the Insectoid Aliens: aliens modeled after Earth arthropods.

Partial inspiration for this trope comes from "Eusocial insects," including the order Hymenoptera (ants and bees) and Termites, who are able to create societies with caste systems and complex habitats similar to that of Human cities. Thus often these aliens will invoke Hive Mind, Bee People, Horde of Alien Locusts and a philosophy of We Have Reserves, Zerg Rush and Attack! Attack! Attack!. A Bug War will often (although not always) feature opponents that actually look like bugs.

Due to What Measure Is a Non-Cute? (and arthropods specifically known to provoke fear in humans) such aliens are likely to be Always Chaotic Evil, though exceptions do exist (as the page picture shows). Overlaps with Big Creepy-Crawlies, though this trope deals specifically with extraterrestrial bugs. The Xenomorph Xerox also owes a lot to this trope.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Anpanman: The Baikins, 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, the Kabirunrun, look like vaguely bug-like blobs, having four arms and antenna.

    Comic Books 
  • Legends of the Dead Earth: In Catwoman Annual #3, an insectoid alien visits a museum and hears the story of the heroic Commissioner Joker's battle with the villainous Batman and Catwoman on Old Earth.
  • Micronauts: The hero Bug, and his race the Insectivorids.
  • Nemesis the Warlock: The planet Arachnos is inhabited by a sentient race of Giant Spiders. Most of them are quite friendly, however.
  • New Gods: 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.
  • Omega Men: Katydid.
  • Psychonaut has the Xenosians, which look like giant alien millipedes.
  • Shazam: Captain Marvel's worst enemy (not his most frequent — that'd be Dr. Sivana) has always been Mr. Mind, a tiny caterpillar-like alien with enormous psychic powers.
  • Sojourn: The Urnethi.
  • Supergirl: The Ash'ka'phageous that Supergirl comes upon in Bizarrogirl are a race of planet-eating aliens resembling bipedal insects (unless they're traveling between worlds. Then they look like giant winged cocoons). They spawn swarms ofbug-like critters.
  • Superworld Comics: The Antarenes look like large green ants. They attempted to push the Earth into the sun and replace it with their own planet.
  • Yoko Tsuno: The Titans are giant grasshopper-like aliens that walk upward. Their bodies are laced with titanium to withstand the stronger gravity on the planet Vinea. The Titans are also highly technologically advanced and their bodies are grafted with equipment and cybernetics.

    Film — Animated 
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    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension: The Lectroids are ant people (hence the red and black factions). They're not evil as a species. The bad guys in the movie are rogue criminals hated by their own government because of their Fantastic Racism.
  • Alien: The titular aliens aren't strictly insectoid, but they do have biomechanical-looking exoskeletons and an ant-like society.
  • Alien Apocalypse: The aliens are locust-like and feed on trees.
  • District 9: The Prawns are Humanoid Aliens with an insectoid slant.
  • Godzilla vs. Gigan: The villains are cockroaches from space.
  • High Plains Invaders: The invaders (dubbed "Bugs" by the townsfolk) are giant four-legged bugs with stinger tails.
  • Men in Black: Edgar the Bug, the main villain from the first film, is a twenty-foot-long cockroach from outer space.
  • Moscow — 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.
  • Quatermass and the Pit: The Martians look like large locusts.
  • Starship Troopers: The Arachnids come in various shapes and sizes — 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.
  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones features the Geonosians, who resemble giant humanoid locusts and live in immense earthen hives, as prominent villains.

    Literature 
  • In Angel Station, many servants of the Beloved, like the navigator race, are insectoid or crustacean-like.
  • Animorphs:
  • In The Balanced Sword, the world of Zarathan has many sapient races of a variety of shapes and sizes, including an unnamed insectoid race whose members tend to show up as mooks.
  • Children of Time: The large intelligent spiders. Although the term "alien" is arguable, as they're the unforeseen result of an ancient human experiment gone awry on a terraformed planet.
  • Confederation of Valor: The Miktok are giant spiders that are renowned for the beauty of their art.
  • Cthulhu Mythos:
    • The Mi-Go are vaguely insectile and winged, although in their introductory story "The Whisperer in Darkness" they're more commonly described as crustaceans.
    • Also "the insect-philosophers that crawl proudly over the fourth moon of Jupiter" mentioned in "Beyond the Wall of Sleep".
    • Not extraterrestrial, but "The Shadow Out of Time" indicates that a race of giant sapient beetles will emerge on Earth in Humanity's Wake.
  • Dykstras War: The Phinons are not only insectoid in appearance, but mentally, they are nearly mindless hive insects. All of their "technology" consists of structures that they evolved to make, like bees making beehives. They're tremendously formidable, but not adaptable, and there's absolutely no negotiating with them because they're basically animals.
  • Ender's Game: The Formics are insectlike with a Hive Mind. They are also nicknamed "Buggers". They're 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.
  • Everworld: The Hetwans, which act like mindless drones in service of their god, Ka Anor. Particular focus is paid to their pedipalps (though they're never called that), which still move after they're killed. They came from another universe separate from either Everworld or ours.
  • The Flight Engineer: The narrator 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 History of the Galaxy: The appropriately-named Insects 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.
  • Humanx Commonwealth: The thranx resemble giant, four-legged insects, and typically live in complex underground hives that humans would find horribly sweltering, humid and claustrophobic — for their own, the thranx find human cities much too open, bitterly cold and unpleasantly arid. They used to reproduce through queens, but readapted to reproduce individually on their way to sapience. Unlike what their respective environmental preferences and trope conventions would suggest, humans and thranx are fast allies.
  • The Insects From Shaggai, by Ramsey Campbell, has a race of small insectoid interstellar refugees called the Shan, who arrived on Earth centuries ago from a planet named Shaggai that orbits twin emerald suns.
  • Mission of Gravity: The Mesklinites, who live on a high-gravity world where it helps to be close to the ground, resemble centipedes. Unlike many examples of this trope, they avert Big Creepy-CrawliesHal Clement was aware of the Square-Cube Law, which is even more of an issue on a world where four times Earth's gravity is as forgiving as it gets — and are not much bigger than giant centipedes on Earth. As Heavy Worlders, Mesklinites are prodigiously strong for their size, and they are much more durable than comparable terrestrial organisms. However, despite their very alien appearance, they have a surprising amount of psychological common ground with humans.
  • El Nino Mariposa: The Ferrotophagous are big metalic insectoid iron-eaters.
  • The Madness Season: The Tyr, the Saudar, and one slave race are, respectively, ant-like aliens (in habit if not in exact appearance), beetle-like aliens, and spider-like aliens.
  • Maria Nova's pet space-bugs in Orbital Lily are grasshopper-like things that are slightly larger than a human.
  • Retief: The Groaci are vaguely insectile.
  • The Science of Discworld: One of the first sapient species the wizards notice on Roundworld is a race of intelligent city-building crabs. Which are crustaceans, but close enough.
  • Star Trek Novel VerseL Several races resemble arthropods. 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.
  • Star Wars Legends: Numerous insectoid species are present in the franchise:
    • Dark Nest Trilogy: The Killiks resemble giant, sapient ants capable of carrying their anterior bodies upright. They were the original natives of Alderaan, and the ruins of their immense hives are still found on the planet.
    • Galaxy of Fear: The S'krrr in The Swarm, who even communicate with Bug Buzz and believe themselves descended from their planet's beetles..
  • Storm Over Warlock: The Throg are insectile.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: A crime lord in the early seasons is basically a sapient 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).
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Web Planet": The titular world is 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.
    • "The Ark in Space: The Wirrn are widely believed to have been an inspiration for the film Alien.
    • Sil's disgusting race that look like slimy, wormlike bugs, but with semihumanoid arms and faces.
    • "Utopia": Chantho, the last of the Malmooths. She looks like a blue humanoid bug.
    • "The Unicorn and the Wasp": The threat turns out to be an actual (giant extraterrestrial) wasp.
    • "Planet of the Dead": The Tritovores are humanoid flies. The TARDIS is not present in this episode to provide Translator Microbes, so you get to hear their actual language (which is composed of clicking sounds). The Doctor translates and makes his own clicking sounds to talk to them.

    Other Sites 
  • SCP Foundation: [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.

    Pinball 

    Radio 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Starfinder: The Shirren, former members of a Horde of Alien Locusts and one of the game's playable races, resemble human-sized, bipedal insects.
  • 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.
  • Star Fleet Battles has the Seltorians, that have brought to the Milky Way the war they had in their home galaxy with the Tholians.
  • Warhammer 40,000: One of the races that the Tau are allied with are the insectoid Vespid. The Catachan Devils look like a centipede-scorpion hybrid the size of a train. 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).

    Toys 
  • 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."
  • Boogly from Mixels, in contrast to the other Glowkies, who look like bats, is a beetle-like Mixel.

    Video Games 
  • Destroy All Humans!: The Blisk in the second game are Martian aliens described as a cross between cockroaches and lobsters. We don't learn much about their society, but they're stated to have an imperviousness to radiation, and are implied to have manipulated all Russian history since a warship of theirs crashed in Tunguska in 1908. The Cold War was part of their attempt to remake Earth In Their Own Image.
  • Earth And Beyond: The V'rix and their ships were very insectile. Design documents released after its servers were shut down revealed that this was not their true form, but one chosen specifically to play off humanities deepest primal fears and their technology was a perversion of human tech.
  • Far Cry 5: The Arachnides from the Lost on Mars DLC borrow design elements from insects and crustaceans (the two protagonists usually call them "crabbies"), come in various castes with queens at the top, build insectoid nests and generally fulfill just about any stereotype of Insectoid Aliens you can think of — just as intended.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light: The Mantis look like, well, human-sized praying mantises. Their culture is stated to be aggressive and violent and they get bonuses to combat and movement speed, but halved repair rates.
  • Halo:
    • One of the races of the Covenant are Drones, or Yanme'e, insectoid flying aliens who are organized into eusocial hives.
    • The last Precursor has been described as an unholy combination of mammal and insectoid, with special mention going to a fat spider body and legs and jewel-like, compound eyes. Turns out it's just one of an infinite number of forms they can take, though.
  • Half-Life 2 has Antlions, which are (presumably) from Xen. They have a King instead of a queen, for variety.
  • Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy: The inhabitants of the planet Ratoniik are humanoids with insect traits (antennas, wings, sometimes insect eyes etc.) who are said to have evolved from bugs. Because of their evolution, they have shorter lifespans than normal humans (they don't live more than an year). For example Banda Kologyu died after his match with Earth Eleven.
  • Metroid:
    • The Space Pirates seem to switch between this and humanoid crustaceans which are 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.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: The Luminoth are a race of moth-like people. Their archnemeses the Ing are also fairly insect-like, in a Lovecraftian sort of way at least.
  • Mortal Kombat X introduces the Kytinn, a race whose humanoidnote  bodies have characteristics of a variety of insects, including spiders, scorpions (no, not him), and beetles. They are represented in the game by D'Vorah, who does prove to be chaotic evil from the aspect of most of those outside The Hive.
  • Otherspace: The Odarites, ant-wasp things forced into a mafia-like corporate structure from birth.
  • SimEarth: If insects reach sapience, this can happen.
  • StarCraft: The appearance of the Zerg units borrows from all kinds of animal sources, including insectoid or arthropodal traits. The Zerg are also ruled by a Hive Mind.
  • Stellaris lets you play as a variety of arthropod aliens, all nicely varied in terms of limb number and body strucure. Uniquely, there's also a selection of mollusc aliens. Their natures are procedurally generated and vary as widely as any other kind of alien, but the two "canon" species are the Ix'Idar Star Collective (Dirty Commies that look vaguely like giant termites with spindly arms), the Kel-Azaan Republic (humanoid Proud Warrior Race Guys), and the giant cockroaches that might be running around a post-apocalyptic Earth and can be uplifted.
  • Tamagotchi: The Mushitchi (a subspecies of bug Tamagotchi) resemble many conventional Earth bugs. There are a number of normal Tamagotchi who resemble insects as well.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: The Orphe are bipedal with two major arms, but otherwise look and act insectoid, being linked to each other by a force called the Ovah giving them a hive-like mind. They are technologically astute, but socially limited, and like to eat plants.
  • Yars' Revenge. They're actually originally Earth insects that became mutated into alien creatures.

    Webcomics 
  • Cassiopeia Quinn: The Kyre normally resemble gigantic, monstrous arthropods, although their ability to passively assimilate other species' traits into themselves means that ones who travel a lot tend to be varying degrees of humanoid, varying from "oddly-colored human with antennae and no pupils" to "upright warrior ant".
  • Captain Ufo has the scorpion pirates from season one. Also, several background characters in crowd scenes seems to belong to some kind of insectoid race.
  • Galaxion has the Miesti, roughly the size of a butterfly.
  • Homestuck: The trolls look like ordinary humans with horns, yellow eyes, and grey skin, but they are apparently more akin to insects by way of Bizarre Alien Biology. They're born from eggs bred by a "Mother Grub" and after that, they're Raised by Wolves. They resemble large grubs with humanoid heads when first born, then gradually become more human-like as they grow up, and there's some Expo Speak coming from them about internal body parts that would make more sense on an insect.
  • The Junk Hyenas Diner (made by the creater of Slightly Damned) has the Grom-Grom which look like seven-foot four armed preying mantises, however they are typically laidback herbivores, they also sometimes eat rotting plant matter.
  • Leaving the Cradle has Insectoids, which appear as something inbetween an ant and mantis. They subvert most of the usual associated tropes though, being rather small, having individuality and the queen being important for egg-laying ability, rather than being absolute monarch.
  • Outsider: The Umiak are visually very reminiscent of arthropods, being six-limbed, seven-eyed and covered in a chitinous exoskeleton in their natural state. Internally, however, they're more similar to vertebrates, as they need internal skeletons in order to support their own weight and complex respiratory and circulatory systems to keep their large bodies oxygenated. Their insectoid nature also impacts their language — as they have rigid mandibles and no vocal cords, they cannot pronounce vowels or labial sounds, and their vocal range is limited to a small group of mandible clacks, tongue-clicks, inhalations and chitters.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: The Cygnoids are a race of vaguely cockroach-like aliens who behave (and speak) like stereotypical Italian-Americans.
  • Invader Zim: The Irkens look sort of like a cross between Insectoid Aliens and Little Green Men.
  • Looney Tunes: Marvin the Martian, while not obviously insect-like and more of a Little Green Man, was apparently supposed to be ant-like. In a way, this makes sense; he's completely black and has no mouth and huge eyes, with a diminutive stature to match.
  • Men in Black: There are plenty of these; some of the more notable are the Lilliputian Warriors Fmtek, the Hive Mind Skraaldian and the Bugs (see the film section).
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: The Cluster are also Mechanical Lifeforms. They usually resemble beetles (Smytus, Krackus, the mooks) or wasps (Vexxus and Vega), though a mosquito-like individual appeared as head of the Secret Police in "Escape from Cluster Prime". Most of their subjects are standard robots assimilated by them though.
  • Samurai Jack: One episode has Jack rescuing a pair of butterfly-like aliens from Aku.
  • Shadow Raiders: The inhabitants of Planet Ice are insectoid aliens.
  • Space Ghost
    • Zorak is a giant praying mantis. He has unintelligent insect servants called mosquitoids in "Zorak".
    • Lokar is a large locust. He has unintelligent insect servants (giant metal-eating locusts) in "Lokar — King of the Killer Locusts".
    • Giant ant/spider hybrids are minions of the Spider Woman in "The Web".
  • Transformers:
    • 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.
    • The Transformers:
      • The more robotic Insecticons can clone themselves and perform locust like swarms, unlike other Transformers (at least at the time) they can digest organic matter alongside Energon.
      • "Quest For Survival" involves a species of alien plant that finds Insecticon clones delicious. After conveniently eating the Insecticons' army, the Autobots load them all onto a spaceship and send them to "a planet of robotic insects." Sure, okay.

Alternative Title(s): Insectoid Alien

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