The insect world never ceases to amaze. These colorful bugs boast familiar patterns like faces or tribal masks on their shields. While potential predators waste precious time wondering whether it’s food, enemy or prey, the masked creatures plot their protection tactics or escape.
We take a look at seven of these insects that prove: bug is beautiful!
1. Black stink bug with white eyes and mouth
These mini warriors have pretty smart warfare defences. Shield bugs, or stink bugs, have glands in their thorax (the part between the head and the abdomen) between their first and second pair of legs that produce a foul-smelling liquid, which is used for defense and released when the bug feels threatened.
Image: Barca Branca
2. Stink bug with brown and white mask
In this next photograph, the stink bug looks huge, but it is only about 1 cm long in real life, making the markings on the mask all the more intricate.
Image: Wesley Sng
3. Cotton stainer with black sunglasses
This too-sexy-to-be-eaten bug with his/her sunglasses is actually a crop pest. Known as cotton stainers, these bugs feed on cotton and get crushed with it during harvesting. Their red bodies leave stains, which are hard to remove.
4. Red firebugs
These firebugs seem to huddle together to discuss their strategy. They are common in Europe and are also part of the cotton stainer family. Their scientific name is pyrrhocoris apterus.
Image: Tomasz Gorny
5. Stink bug with leathery mask
This stink bug is also found in Europe. Doesn’t its shield look like it is made of leather?
6. Stink bug with bluish gorilla mask
This stink bug from Singapore looks like it’s carrying a gorilla-mask on its back. Amazing, isn’t it?
7. Yellow man-faced bug
This is a picture example of how the shield pattern resembles a face. Like a huge sign saying “don’t even think about it” to predators – including humans – this stink bug looks slightly grumpy, and for good reason. Just recently, scientists have discovered the nutritional value of edible stink bugs. They’re a good source of protein, fat, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Stink bug stew, anyone?