Travel photos


Insect Photos

Below are selected pictures of insects and invertebrates from around the world. More photographs of insects are available in the following sections:
Peru Invertebrate Photos | Indonesia Invertebrate Photos | Malaysia Invertebrate Photos | Madagascar insects

Except where noted, all images are the property of Rhett A. Butler, copyright 1994-2004. Contact me with questions regarding use, reproduction, or purchase of any of the pictures.


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Longhorn Beetle in flight with guide Armand | Green caterpillar | Caterpillar | Comet moth | Leaf mimic insect | Leaf insect | mantid brown | mantid yellow | Flatid leaf bugs (Phromnia rosea) | Adult Flatid leaf bugs (Phromnia rosea) | Pill Millipede Ball | Pill Millipede (Green color) | Stick Mantid | Flatid leaf bug nymphs, tree trunk | Butterfly feeding on pink flower in Bali | Black and white striped caterpillar with orange head | Blue and green butterfly | Honey bee preparing to land on yellow flower | Spiny yellow caterpillar | Red Grasshawk (Neurothemis fluctuans) | Brachydiplax dragonfly on blade of grass | Brachydiplax dragonfly species | Yellow-, green-, and orange-spotted butterfly in leaf litter | Iguaze Butterflies, Brazil | fire ant , Grand Canyon | wasp , Grand Canyon | Grasshopper, Honduras | Katydid, Honduras | Moth, Honduras | Moth, Honduras

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Pray Mantis, Honduras | Butterflies, Honduras | Moth, Honduras | Insect, Honduras | Swarms of lake flies in a garden near Lake Victoria | Black and yellow butterfly | Red wasp feeding on white flowers | Colorful butterflies feeding on minerals in a dirt road | Dung beetles | Green caterpillar | Green Mantid | Mantid purple antenna | Small copper colored spider in Gabon | Close up on a fly | Dung beetle pushing a ball of dung | Black and turquoise dragonfly with turquoise eyes | Black, yellow, and blue dragonfly | Green and black dragonfly resting on leaf | Green mantid looking into the camera | Blue green and copper colored grasshopper with large red eyes and yellow antennae | Leech preparing to bite a man's arm | Large black beetle in Borneo | Black and white butterfly feeding on flower nectar | Bright green cicada | Grasshawk dragonfly (Neurothemis fluctuans) | Blue and black butterfly in rainforest of Borneo | Blood-sucking leech on deck of “klotok” (the traditional long boat of this part of Borneo) | Deep red millipede on forest floor | insect, Grand Canyon | wasps, Grand Canyon

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Blue Morpho Caterpillar, Honduras | Parides Butterfly, Honduras | Moth, Madagascar | Insects, Malaysia | Phoebis philea and Anteos menippe butterflies in large group feeding on minerals in mud | Phoebis philea and Anteos menippe butterflies in large group feeding on minerals in mud | Large stick insect | Multi-colored butterfly on a beach (unknown species) | Bee burrowing in the sand | Multi-colored grasshoppers mating | Heliconius sara butterfly | Large bamboo-like walking stick insect | Beige grasshopper | Well camouflaged insect, resembling lichen | Lycorea halia butterfly | Nest of colony spiders (family: Araneidae) | Black moth with orange and green markings | Green, brown, and black insect | White butterfly | Ant nest made of leaves | Tarantula spider | Mass of caterpillars on leaf litter of forest floor | Round black fury caterpillar | Round black fury caterpillar | Owl butterfly | Small green, gold, and brown scorpion | Black and yellow centipede | Ants | Ants | Ants

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Beetle | White furry caterpillar with yellow head and two orange spots at base of head | Camouflaged spider on tree trunk | Mating flies as view through palm leaf | Rhetus periander butterfly | Biblis hyperia butterfly sucking moisture from drying laundry | Colorful, but known grasshopper-like insect | Colorful, but known grasshopper-like insect | Black, gray, white and red spider | Unknown butterfly with orange, brown, and white markings on outer part of the wing | Unknown butterfly with black and light blue outer wings | Arawacus butterfly | Callicore cynosura butterfly with wings closed | Black grasshopper with indigo blue eyes and yellow polkadots | Unknown butterfly with orange, brown, and white markings on outer part of the wing | Panacea prola butterfly, wings open | Panacea prola butterfly, wings open | Panacea prola butterfly, wings closed | Praying mantis standing guard of its tree | Ceiba borer beetle | Leaf cutter ant carrying leaf | Small red beetle | Unknown butterfly with light and dark brown patterned wings and orange on the upper wing | Unknown butterfly with light and dark brown patterned wings and orange on the upper wing | Biblis hyperia butterfly, brown to black with red on its wings | Panacea prola butterfly, wings open | Brown katydid with green marking on its back | Yellow-green butterfly, possibly Nessaea obrinus with wings closed | Glowing click beetle | Glowing click beetle

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Click beetle with glow lights | Reddish-brown stick insect | Greenish-brown katydid | Red rainforest crab | Yellow and red spider in web | Dark brown centipede | Katydid | Red, black, and white insect | Mass of caterpillars | Mass of caterpillars | Green grasshopper with yellow and black bands, and red, yellow, orange, and black striped legs | Turquoise fly with black wings and bright red eyes | Possibly a Heliconius butterfly (species unknown) | Possibly a morpho butterfly (species unknown) | Giant metallic ceiba borer beetle, Euchroma gigantea, on Kapok tree | Black wasp on canopy platform | Brown grasshopper with white marking | Light green grasshopper with yellow and maroon striped legs | Beetle with black body, white and black back, and turquoise legs | Beetle with black body, white and black back, and turquoise legs | Beetle with black body, white and black back, and turquoise legs | Light green grasshopper with yellow and maroon striped legs | Adelpha iphiclus butterfly on pebbles | Green, blue, yellow, red, and black grasshopper | Large white and yellow fury caterpillarthat resembles a shitzu | Large white and yellow fury caterpillarthat resembles a shitzu | Yellow and black beetle on screen (unknown species) | Walking stick insects mating | Walking stick insects mating | Black insect (unknown)

Page 6:

Small black, red, yellow, and white beetle | Shitzu-like caterpillar, white and yellow fur | Amarynthis meneria butterfly on leaf | Urania leilus day-flying or diurnal moth | Heraclides thoas butterfly on muddy bank | Bullet ant (Paraponera clavata) | Leaf-cutter ant nest | Leaf-cutter ant nest | Callicore cynosura butterfly feeding on minerals from a muddy river bank | Ginormous ant on forest floor | Gigantic ant on forest floor | Green grasshopper | Three beige, yellow, black, and white grasshoppers on a leaf | Brown grasshopper | Brown grasshopper with white marking | Yellow grasshopper | Green grasshopper with gray-black legs and a yellow stripe down its back | Green grasshopper | Thin stick insect on tree trunk | Brown katydid | Katydid with light green spots on back and each leg | Butterfly on hand | Spider hanging from web | Stick insect in the Amazon rain forest | Beige millipede in the Amazon rainforest | Pair of Tailless whip scorpions (Amblypygid sp) | Tail-less whip scorpion (Amblypygid sp) | Silver-gray millipede in eating leaf Amazon rainforest | Black and yellow centipede in Amazon rainforest | Rainforest spider

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Red-orange, black, white, and maroon caterpillar on underside of leaf | Unknown insect | Unknown insect | Brown, black, and white butterfly | Black, blue, and turquoise dragonfly | Group of Male Perrhybris pamela and yellow and black butterflies | Black and yellow butterflies at river's edge | Group of Male Perrhybris pamela butterflies feeding on minerals in clay along the Rio Tambopata | Lasaia agesilas butterfly | Blue morpho butterfly (Morpho menelaus) | Small brown insect with red marking | Heliconius sara butterfly | Heliconius butterfly | Bullet ant (Paraponera clavata) | Insect with red eyes, turquoise markings, and white feather-like appendages near its tail | Katydid -- with green body, brown head, and bright blue eyes -- sleeping in bamboo shoot | Iridescent green beetle | Insect with red eyes, turquoise markings, and white feather-like appendages near its tail | Red and black insects on a green fruit | Large black beetle | Unknown butterfly, lime green wings with beige to yellow border | Small yellow and silver beetle | Unknown insect | Red, yellow, and green insect | Spider on web | Wildlife | Wildlife | Katydid on tree trunk | Katydid on tree trunk | Wolf spider

Page 8:

Thorn spider | Firefly on ground | Small red and black beetle | Cicada between fingers | Camouflaged grasshopper | Stick insect | Walking stick insect under a leaf | Owl butterfly (Caligo idomeneus) | Owl butterfly (Caligo idomeneus) | Butterfly at night | Katydid eating a mushroom | Giant stick insect | Giant walking stick insect with a person's hand for scale | Walking stick in the Peruvian rainforest | Clear-winged Cithaerias pireta butterfly feeding on dung | Clear-winged Cithaerias pireta butterfly | Black-and-white butterfly with orange eyespot in Peru | Green, teal, blue, pruple, red, and black insect in Peru | Green, teal, blue, pruple, red, and black insect in Peru | Diaethria clymena butterfly | Green cicada in Peru | Spider emerging from canopy tower structure | Butterfly in the rainforest canopy | Camouflaged praying mantis on tree trunk | Insect, Thailand | Grasshopper, Venezuela | Clown worm | Black green and white grasshopper in Uganda | Closeup on an orb spider | Blue, violet, and purple fly with red eyes

Page 9:

Tan and orange butterfly feeding on bird droppings | Black caterpillar on a tree stem | Blue Morpho Butterfly Crayola katydid Butterfly on beach | Masoala peninsula beetle | Longhorn Beetle (Cerambycidae) | Grey moth | Black pill millipede | Brown mantid at Isalo | Giraffe-necked Weevil | Giraffe necked Weevil | Pink and green grasshopper at the petite tsingy | Green pill millipede on tree trunk | Green pill millipede rolled in palm of hand | Green pill millipede rolled in ball | Green walking stick insect | Lutinus Beetle | Praying Mantis (Brown color) | Mantid Purple Antenna | Mantid Yellow | Moth | Praying mantis beige | Red beetle | Red clear-wing butterfly | Red millipede on log | Red millipede compared with size of hand | Stick insect in Masoala NP | Nocturnal stick insect | Teal and black butterflies

Page 10:

Urania riphaeus moth | Walking stick insect | White moth | Yellow and blue butterfly | Yellow and blue butterfly on ground | Silkworm in protective bark cocoon | Black and tan dragonfly | Giant black bee feeding on morning glory flower nectar | Green mantid | Forest leech on man's wrist | Large black beetle on clothing | Ants hauling body parts of a dead insect up a tree trunk | Yellow butterfly in Borneo | Brown cicada | Fire ants in Borneo | Colony of termites in moving along a log in the jungle | Red weevil-like insect with yellow and black legs | Bright red insect | Yellow-, green-, and orange-spotted butterfly with blue underparts | Orange butterfly on forest floor in Borneo | Black butterfly with white markings | Iridescent turquoise and black butterfly in hand | Grasshopper | Black butterfly with blue-purple markings on its wings | Caterpillar, Belize | Caterpillar, Belize | Blue Morpho Caterpillar, Honduras | Butterfly, Honduras | Butterfly, Honduras | Owl Butterfly, Honduras

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Owl Butterfly, Honduras | Parides Butterfly, Honduras | Millipede, Madagascar | horned spider, Thailand | Moth, Thailand | Stick Insect, Thailand | Black caterpillar with red spots | Bright green leafhopper | Black segmented millipede on grass | Black segmented millipede | Black, blue and white butterfly in Uganda | Orb spider in Uganda | Extreme closeup on an orb spider | Butterfly with black wings and white spots | Butterfly | Aqua and black butterfly on blade of grass | Red butterfly with blue eyes | Butterfly | Black and orange millipede | Black and white butterfly | Butterflies gathering to feed on elephant dung | Black and yellow butterflies feeding on minerals in elephant dung | Hundreds of butterflies feeding on elephant dung | Hundreds of yellow and black butterflies feeding on minerals and moisture in a pile of elephant dung | Orange insect on our windshield | Hanging caterpillar | Green caterpillar with dark green and black stripes | Black and yellow orb spider

Please note, there are too many insect and invertebrate images to list. Please look at the following links for more photos.

Related pages
Peru Invertebrate Photos | Indonesia Invertebrate Photos | Malaysia Invertebrate Photos | Madagascar insects

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Insects are invertebrate animals of the Class Insecta, the largest and (on land) most widely distributed taxon within the Phylum Arthropoda. Insects comprise the most diverse group of animals on the earth, with over 800,000 species described—more than all other animal groups combined: "Indeed, in no one of her works has Nature more fully displayed her exhaustless ingenuity," Pliny exclaimed. Insects may be found in nearly all environments on the planet, although only a small number of species have adapted to life in the oceans where crustaceans tend to predominate. There are approximately 5,000 dragonfly species, 2,000 praying mantis, 20,000 grasshopper, 170,000 butterfly and moth, 120,000 fly, 82,000 true bug, 350,000 beetle, and 110,000 bee and ant species. The study of insects is called entomology.

Relationship to other arthropods

A few smaller groups with similar body plans, such as springtails (Collembola), are united with the insects in the Subphylum Hexapoda. The true insects (that is, species classified in the Class Insecta) are distinguished from all other arthropods in part by having ectognathous, or exposed, mouthparts and eleven (11) abdominal segments. Most species, but by no means all, have wings as adults. Terrestrial arthropods, such as centipedes, millipedes, scorpions and spiders, are sometimes confused with insects due to the fact that both have similar body plans, sharing (as do all arthropods) a jointed exoskeleton.

Morphology and development:

Insects range in size from less than a millimeter to over 18 centimeters (some walkingsticks) in length. Insects possess segmented bodies supported by an exoskeleton, a hard outer covering made mostly of chitin. The body is divided into a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. The head supports a pair of sensory antennae, a pair of compound eyes, and a mouth. The thorax has six legs (one pair per segment) and wings (if present in the species). The abdomen has excretory and reproductive structures.

Insects have a complete digestive system. That is, their digestive system consists basically of a tube that runs from mouth to anus, contrasting with the incomplete digestive systems found in many simpler invertebrates. The excretory system consists of Malpighian tubules for the removal of nitrogenous wastes and the hindgut for osmoregulation. At the end of the hindgut, insects are able to reabsorb water along with potassium and sodium ions. Therefore, insects don't usually excrete water with their feces, a fact which allows them to store water in the body. This process of reabsorption enables them to withstand hot, dry environments.

Most insects have two pairs of wings located on the second and third thoracic segments. Insects are the only invertebrate group to have developed flight, and this has played an important part in their success. The winged insects, and their secondarily wingless relatives, make up the subclass Pterygota. Insect flight is not very well understood, relying heavily on turbulent atmospheric effects. In more primitive insects it tends to rely heavily on direct flight muscles, which act upon the wing structure. More advanced flyers, which make up the Neoptera, generally have wings that can be folded over their back, keeping them out of the way when not in use. In these insects, the wings are powered mainly by indirect flight muscles that move the wings by stressing the thorax wall. These muscles are able to contract when stretched without nervous impulses, allowing the wings to beat much faster than would be otherwise possible.

Insects use tracheal respiration in order to transport oxygen through their bodies. Openings on the surface of the body called spiracles lead to the tubular tracheal system. Air reaches internal tissues via this system of branching trachea. The circulatory system of insects, like that of other arthropods, is open: the heart pumps the hemolymph through arteries to open spaces surrounding the internal organs; when the heart relaxes, the hemolymph seeps back into the heart.

Insects hatch from eggs, and undergo a series of moults as they develop and grow in size. This manner of growth is necessitated by the exoskeleton. Moulting is a process by which the individual escapes the confines of the exoskeleton in order to increase in size, then grows a new outer covering. In most types of insects, the young, called nymphs, are basically similar in form to the adults (an example is the grasshopper), though wings are not developed until the adult stage. This is called incomplete metamorphosis. Complete metamorphosis distinguishes the Endopterygota, which includes many of the most successful insect groups. In these species, an egg hatches to produce a larva, which is generally worm-like in form. The larva grows and eventually becomes a pupa, a stage sealed within a cocoon or chrysalis in some species. In the pupal stage, the insect undergoes considerable change in form to emerge as an adult, or imago. Butterflies are an example of an insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis.


Many insects possess very refined organs of perception. In some cases, their senses can be more capable than humans. For example, bees can see in the ultraviolet spectrum, and male moths have a specialized sense of smell that enables them to detect the pheromones of female moths over distances of many kilometers.

Social insects, such as the ant and the bee, are the most familiar species of eusocial animal. They live together in large well-organized colonies that are so tightly integrated and genetically similar the colonies are sometimes considered superorganisms.

Roles in the environment and in human society:

Many insects are considered pests by humans, because they transmit diseases (mosquitos, flies), damage structures (termites), or destroy agricultural goods (locusts, weevils). Many entomologists are involved in various forms of pest control, often using insecticides, but more and more relying on methods of biocontrol.

Although pest insects attract the most attention, many insects are beneficial to the environment and to humans. Some pollinate flowering plants (for example wasps, bees, butterflies, ants). Pollination is a trade between plants which need to reproduce, and pollinators which receive rewards of nectar and pollen. A serious environmental problem today is the decline of populations of pollinator insects, and a number of species of insects are now cultured primarily for pollination management in order to have sufficient pollinators in the field, orchard or greenhouse at bloom time.

Insects also produce useful substances such as honey, wax, lacquer or silk. Honeybees, (pictured above) have been cultured by humans for thousands of years for honey, although contracting for crop pollination is becoming more significant for beekeepers. The silkworm has greatly affected human history as silk-driven trade established relationships between China and the rest of the world. Fly larvae (maggots) were formerly used to treat wounds to prevent or stop gangrene, as they would only consume dead flesh. This treatment is finding modern usage in some hospitals.

In some parts of the world, insects are used for human food ("Entomophagy"), while being a taboo in other places. There are proponents of developing this use to provide a major source of protein in human nutrition. Since it is impossible to entirely eliminate pest insects from the human food chain, insects already are present in many foods, especially grains. Most people do not realize that food laws in many countries do not prohibit insect parts in food, but rather limit the quantity. According to cultural materialist anthropologist Marvin Harris, the eating of insects is taboo in cultures that have protein sources that require less work like farm birds or cattle.

Many insects, especially beetles, are scavengers, feeding on dead animals and fallen trees, recycling the biological materials into forms found useful by other organisms. The ancient Egyptian religion adored beetles and represented them as scarabeums.

Although mostly unnoticed by most humans, arguably the most useful of all insects are 'insectivores', those that feed on other insects. Many insects, such as grasshoppers can potentially reproduce so fast that they could literally bury the earth in a single season. However there are hundreds of other insect species that feed on grasshopper eggs, and some that feed on grasshopper adults. This role in ecology is usually assumed to be primarily one of birds, but insects, though less glamorous, are much more significant. For any pest insect one can name, there is a species of wasp that is either a parasitoid or predator upon that pest, and plays a significant role in controlling it.

Human attempts to control pests by insecticides can backfire, because important, but unrecognized insects already helping to control pest populations, are also killed by the poison, leading eventually to population explosions of the pest species.

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    Copyright Rhett Butler 1994-2012

    Pictures were taken by Rhett A. Butler, copyright 1996-2009. While these photos are the property of, it may be permissible to use them for non-commercial purposes (like powerpoint presentations and school projects), provided that the images are not altered in any form. Please read this for more details. If you are interested in using an image in a publication please contact me. is a free resource.