Big Creepy-Crawlies

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Bad day for a picnic.
"That planet has bugs, Carter. Big, huge, ugly, honkin' bugs!"
—Jack O'Neill, Stargate SG-1 2x10 "Bane"


Giant bugs. They're bugs or muppets or Serkis Folk, whichever, but all are mad creepy. They have no individuality or intelligence, except possibly a Hive Mind. Nobody really worries too much about the morality of killing them.

See also Giant Spider and Bug War. If they're from space, they're Insectoid Aliens. If they have a lust for galactic domination, they're a Horde of Alien Locusts. A subset of Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever. These are especially common in prehistoric settings.

Truth in Television back in the Carboniferus Period, but only possible due to higher oxygen levels at the time. In modern times, such creatures violate the Square-Cube Law.

Examples of Big Creepy-Crawlies include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind has several of these, most notably the building-sized woodlice known as the Ohmu. While they can be unbelievably dangerous when provoked, they're usually quite docile & even kindly, with the Ohmu being portrayed as extremely wise, Gentle Giants, akin to terrestrial whales.
  • Lutecia of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha summons insects of varying levels of largeness. From the human-sized Garyu, to the car-sized Jiraiyo, to the Kaiju-sized Hakutenou.
  • Mazinger Z: Overlapping with Animal Mecha, several Mechanical Beasts (such like Winder A2 or Megaron P1 and its "brothers") resembled giant, vaguely-humanoid insects.
    • In Great Mazinger, one whole host of the Mykene Empire army were bio-mechanical, massive insects. Their commander, General Scarabeth, resembled a gigantic rhinoceros beetle.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!!, several of Weevil Underwood's monsters, most notably Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth and Insect Queen, are textbook examples of this trope. Naturally, Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series had fun with this one.

Yami Yugi: Go! Summoned Skull! Destroy his cheap Mothra imitation!

  • The Magic World jungle in Mahou Sensei Negima contains dung beetles that are around the size of a human torso.
  • The entire Bugrum Empire of El Hazard is absolutely crawling with these (Pun unintended).
  • The Blue in Blue Gender all resemble giant insects.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, the Demon World contains massive centipede-like monsters that dwarf trees and even some mountains. They serve as transport in Mukuro's realm.
  • Letter Bee not only have giant soul-devouring insects, but they also have exoesqueletons made of metal to the point of Nigh Invulnerability.
  • Kimba the White Lion has an episode where a grasshopper was mutated by radiation and the end product was this trope.
    • Also from Osamu Tezuka, Astro Boy features several insectoid robots, such as the Carabus, a beetle-like tank built by the French military; Gadem the robot centipede and most incarnations of North Number Two from the Pluto arc.
  • The Vajra from Macross Frontier range in size from large jet fighter sizes grunts to ones larger than most capital ships. Their queen in particular is several kilometers in size.


Comics[edit | hide]


Films[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • JRR Tolkien has a cartload of these, including Ungoliant (The Silmarillion), Shelob (Lord of the Rings) and the Mirkwood spiders (The Hobbit)
  • Orson Scott Card uses this with the bug-like species systematically killing the crew of a human starship because, aside from the queens, their own species doesn't have free will, and they just assumed we'd be the same way. Subverted in that the bugs have bones, and that they're actually quite a nice and sympathetic, even naive (if occasionally creepy) species.
  • Robert A. Heinlein used such bugs as a metaphor for Communism in Starship Troopers. They had a Brain Caste of very smart individuals and the warriors were as smart as they needed to be to fight effectively, but the workers were relatively mindless and instinct-driven. Which actually works pretty well as a metaphor for the USSR. In the movie, this was extended to the whole species.
  • Subverted in Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth books, in which the insectoid Thranx are the principal allies of humankind. Not that the formation of this alliance went through without some problems (of the xenophobic terrorist variety).
  • The Chi, neon-yellow arthropodoids, and Knnn, hairy black arachnoids, in The Chanur Saga. The latter are infamous for their nearly indecipherable Starfish Language.
    • That's nearly indecipherable to another species with a Starfish Language that is, itself, nearly indecipherable to the more common run of humanoids. Without the intermediary, it is absolutely indecipherable. We can't even tell which vocalizations are actual attepmts to communicate- many or most of them might just be the Knnn equivalent of singing in the shower.
  • Ransom briefly encounters a giant fly and giant beetles in the caves of Venus in Perelandra. He's initially quite terrified at their appearance, but they prove to be no threat, and his fear quickly subsides.
  • The giant alien insect species, Hetwan, in Everworld.
  • The Taxxons in Animorphs.
  • In Hothouse the Earth is so old that there are only five remaining non-plant species: tree-bees, plant-ants, tiger-flies (think wasps), termights and humans. They are all about the same size. (Slightly subverted because it's made clear that humans have shrunk over time, and the insects have grown and met them halfway.)
  • Most of the Vord from the Codex Alera, though the Vord Queen has a degree of Voluntary Shapeshifting and gradually changes from one of these to a Cute Monster Girl (though her personality never gets any more human, putting her squarely in the Uncanny Valley)
  • In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series giant insects basically fill the niche in the ecosystem that mammals do in our world.
  • Someone, somewhere, must mention the abominable squickfest that is Eat Them Alive by Pierce Nace. A mentally unbalanced ex-con exacts vengeance upon his former partners in crime with a horde of giant killer praying mantises. The entire book is nothing but page after page of giant mantises rampaging and eating people.
  • In Piers Anthony's first Incarnations of Immortality book, On a Pale Horse, Zane, the incarntation of Death, faces a gigantic demonic preying mantis.
  • In Jurassic Park, giant dragonflies described as having a six-foot wingspan appear briefly in the aviary, without any explanation given for their presence.

Subverted in Michael Crighton's Micro. The bugs are actually normal size, it's the humans who have been shrunk down to half an inch.


Live Action Television[edit | hide]

  • The first season of Babylon 5 featured occasional appearances by N'Grath, a crime-lord who looked like a giant praying mantis.
    • And let's not forget the Shadows, which are basically five foot tall spider people.
      • What about the Shadows' ships?
  • Giant arthropods and worms have made several appearances on Primeval.
  • SG-1 once encountered giant alien bugs that tried to turn Teal'c into a nest for more bugs. Long story.
    • This is turning out to be Stargate Universe's pride and joy. They've had giant spiders, chestbursters, and even a dinosaur.
  • Doctor Who has the stories The Web Planet and Planet of the Spiders, among others. The queen spider was larger than a double-decker bus, man... Eugh.
  • The she-mantis in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the giant bugs in Angel's "Fredless".


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The insect spirits in Shadowrun are Body Horrors that turn their host into a Big Creepy Crawly.
  • Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000 play this trope to the hilt. They are just tools of the Hive Mind—a psychic construct of billions of individual 'nids' "minds", guided by an immaterial gestalt of sorts. Hive tryants and swarm lords are said to have a mind of their own that uploads into the hive mind when they die and is placed on a new body when need be, effectively making them immortal.
    • The original concept of the Tyranids was insects crossed with dinosaurs, and they're about as scary as you might expect. A Hive Tyrant looks like a Tyrannosaurus crossed with the Alien Queen and Godzilla.
      • And those three only have 4 extremities. Tyranids have 6.
    • Being Warhammer 40k they take it Up to Eleven, there are Tyranid biotitans such as the "Hierophant" which are about the size of the Imperiums Titans.
  • Several Insect creatures in Magic: The Gathering fall under this, such as the Lithophage, an insect so huge, it consumes mountains.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has had many giant insects over the years, including bees, wasps, and ticks.
    • And manscorpion (sort of scorpionic centaur). And the antlike formians.
    • The Hivebrood are a version from Basic/Expert/etc D&D which doubles as The Virus.
  • Talislanta has a ton of freakish fantastic versions, such as flying leeches, snap-jawed worms, and hive-dwelling semi-humanoid scorpions.
  • The Ungeziefer from GURPS: Urban Magic is a pitiable version of this. Formerly humans they're now giant cockroaches suffering from chronic depression.
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken has the Nidmuzug, or, more plainly, the Unclean. Humans who ate food contaminated by the spiritual taint that all Nidmuzugs emit and found themselves turning into werecockroaches. Their hybrid form is a giant, humanoid cockroach that can have a poisonous bite or claw attack. Their "beast form" is a swarm of hundreds of cockroaches, all controlled by a single mind.
    • Interestingly, they come off as quite miserable rather than scary (to the point where people who know about their personalities call them Kafkas). They lose absolutely none of their humanity in the whole Body Horror process, and they can't live among humans since light hurts their eyes. The elders eventually become estranged from their human sides, but given the general misery that is their existence, it seems more like Unclean who survive to that point used the logic of "You know what? Fuck you, I am a monster!"
    • Then there's the more conventional creepies, like the Azlu, or Spider Hosts. They're spiritual parasites who infiltrate human bodies, consume the brain, and turn the body into a puppet. They can turn into giant spiders at will, and are almost singularly dedicated to strengthening the barrier between Earth and the Hisil... which you'd think would be a good thing, but with less traffic between Earth and the Hisil, things start to get spiritually barren on this side of existence, leading to general turmoil.
  • A standard creature type in Magic: The Gathering, most commonly seen in black and green.
  • In the Fantasy vesionWarhammer Fantasy Battle the Forrest Gobblins frequently use giant spiders the size of saint bernards as cavalry, as well as some the size of moving vans for their shawmens to ride to war on, and with them being updated to 8th edition, they now come with a spidermonster that is so big Games Work Shop not only had to come up with a custom base for it, it has a cattapult as standard equipment.
  • Monsterpocalypse has the Savage Swarm, which are giant radioactive bugs the destroy anything that has bright lights.


Toys[edit | hide]

  • In Bionicle, many of the rahi qualify, such as the Nui Jaga (giant scorpion) and Nui Rama (giant wasp-like creature).


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The bug-like Shivans in Free Space are somewhat of an exception. They are intelligent and possess extremely advanced technology, and their agility and strength means they don't so much creep and crawl as leap, smash, and throw armored soldiers around like toy dolls.
    • They may also be cybernetic, and are permanent space-dwellers since their hind legs are configured in a way that only make sense in free-fall.
  • In Michigan: Reeport from Hell, the second report you're with can die from a big (relatively, it couldn't hide behind a beer can) scary spider if it jumps on her and bites. You can knock her out of the way, or if you see it enough it scurries off.
  • Skrashers in Startopia: They develop aboard your station inside the trash-eating Memaus before bursting out as huge insectile monsters with giant claws to smash up your station.
  • Resident Evil liked to play this by having giant snakes, tarantulas, and even a Black Tiger...a giant spider Capcom specifically redesigned from the Video Game Remake on so it looks like a Australian funnelweb to make Chris or Jill shit themselves.
  • The antlions in Half-Life 2.
  • The ChCh-t from the Deadlock turn based strategy series. They have a queen, pincer claws instead of hands, a scorpion tail, and all the other usual bug characteristics. They are also a playable race.
  • The entire point of Deadly Creatures. Well, except that the creepy crawlies are normal sized, but you're playing as them.
  • The Conduit has creepy crawlies of all sizes, but the big ones include the man-sized Drones, the eight-feet-tall Scarabs, and the tank-sized Invaders.
  • The Zerg of StarCraft.
  • Your average Bug Pokémon, which tend to be around the size of human children at the smallest. The largest as of the fourth generation of games is the Yanmega, which is stated to be around 6'03" (1.9m) in size. It's even called the "Ogre Darner" Pokemon, so they're a giant version of an animal which is already the largest kind of Dragonfly. Its name hints that its also based on the prehistoric Meganeura.
    • Gliscor (A winged scorpion) and Flygon (An antlion) are even bigger, both at 6'07", but neither are actually a Bug-Type due to already having two more dominant types (Though both are in the Bug egg group and learn many Bug attacks.).
    • The fifth generation introduces Scolipede, the "Mega Centipede" Pokemon, trumping all other Bug types in terms of height at an extraordinary 8'02" (2.5m)!
    • And now subverted by Joltik, the 10 cm electric tick which is now considered the smallest Pokemon yet, and still the size of a tarantula!
    • Bug-Type specialists include Bugsy, Aaron, and Burgh.
  • The Gohma family of Boss Monsters in The Legend of Zelda. Also, some of the other Boss Monsters as well... brrr...
  • Zingers in Donkey Kong Country, which are often invinincible barriers in levels, and have boss versions in multiple games. You get to explore a giant beehive too...
  • Fallout games feature a handful of giant bugs mutated by radiation, including two-foot Radroaches, Radscorpions that grow upwards of six feet long, and Giant Ants, some of which breathe fire.
  • World of Warcraft has, in addition to various giant spiders, scorpions and the like, the Silithid. These are a hive dwelling race with much variation (or possibly several sub-species) to fulfill different roles. The Old God C'Thun transformed some of them into the Aqir. The Aqir empire launched a Bug War to wipe out all non Aqiraji life, and on their defeat split into two different races, the Qiraji and the Nerubians. The first remained servants of C'Thun, and continued to launch Bug Wars against the rest of Azeroth. The Nerubians left for Northrend where they created an underground empire, which was destroyed by the Scourge. Although some materials describe them as being just as xenophobic and evil as the Qiraji, the entirety of player interaction with living Nerubians is friendly. They also abandoned the worship of C'Thun on the basis that it, "makes as much sense as a fly caught in a web worshiping the spider who is about to devour him".
  • Junk Man's stage from Mega Man 7 contains several nests of cockroaches called Gockroach S.
  • Many levels in Chapter 5 of Super Meat Boy are filled with large maggots. Often there are piles of them. The chapter boss itself consists of 3 of the largest maggots.
  • Almost every single enemy in Let's Go Jungle: Lost On The Island Of Spice. Most of which are Giant Spiders. In fact, the only three enemies that aren't creepy crawlies of some sort are the frogs, piranhas, and the Man-Eating Plant boss.
  • In the So Bad It's Good series Earth Defense Force 2017, the enemy forces are mostly comprised of this and Humongous Mecha.
  • Tons of them abound in the Shoot'Em Up Bio-Hazard Battle, which takes place after a virus causes a planet's lifeforms to grow to massive proportions.
  • Bug!! has insectoid Mooks the same size as the titular character, but it is subverted as the player character himself is a bug. Then you see the ending, which shows that Bug and the insectoid enemies (who are actually actors) are about half the size of a human!
  • Leaving a house empty for too long in Constructor results in it being populated by an 8-foot tall cockroach that likes to walk around the neighborhood on two feet. Needless to say, the neighbors don't like them influencing their children.
  • Some of the enemies in the Super Mario Bros. series games appear to be giant insects. The most notable examples would include Buzzy Beetles, which resemble reptilian beetles that act like Koopas, but cannot be killed with fireballs; Wigglers, giant yellow caterpillars that will become angry if stomped on; Mandibugs, giant beetles that charge at either Mario/Luigi and can only be killed with a Ground Pound, due to them having a large star on their backs; and Flipbugs, cowardly insects that will run away if they see Mario/Luigi, and falling over if they get too close.
  • In the Mutant Insects game of Combat of Giants, you play as one of them. It is also a sort of exception given that the Player Character is trying to resist the Hive Mind.
  • The Shadow Hearts series isn't a stranger to this trope. In fact, the giant roach monster (Buggs in the first game, Gregor in both Covenant and From The New World) hold the honor of being the only enemy to appear in every game of the trilogy. Other Big Creepy-Crawlies include Zosim (a wasp pupa infected by a parasitic snake), a flesh-eating Creepy Centipede, large snails that feed on human blood, Megafilaria and Gigafilaria (magic-powered leech-like creatures) and Gatorback/Scorplinus (heavily-armoured scorpions).
  • In The Binding of Isaac, there are lots of maggots in various sizes and levels of threat.
  • Several of the enemies in Solatorobo, including one called the "bigant". Elh thinks they are Nightmare Fuel and demands that Red kill them imediately; Red, for his part, says they are "harmless" (despite the fact that they try to kill you like any other enemy), but usually goes about killing them anyway.
  • Although it probably isn't canonical (its counterpart in Tiberian Dawn wasn't), Command & Conquer: Red Alert featured what the fans called 'the Secret Ant Missions', so called because it is a hidden (small) campaign about giant ants. The red ants shoot fire.
  • In addition to multiple varieties of giant spiders which are about knee height to a player character, RuneScape also has Kalrag, which is a spider much bigger than the human player character (and surrounded by the smaller giant spiders; that portion of the relevant quest is not good for arachnophobics), as well as several forms of giant cockroach, and some giant beetles called kalphite, which range from workers the size of the aforementioned giant spiders, to the building sized Kalphite Queen.
  • Beetle Mania in King of the Monsters.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Tech Infantry features the Arachnids, also known simply as The Bugs. Yes, they're shamelessly ripped off from Starship Troopers. But these versions are, if anything, even scarier. The Guardian Bugs, Emperor Bugs, and Queen Bugs are enormous, easily fifty feet tall. And those and the smaller but still deadly Warrior Bugs can use magic.
  • Mortasheen sort of has this. They're called Arthropoids, and are technically Brundlefly-style mash ups of humans and arthropods. Some examples over here.
  • The beetles in Spoilsbury Toast Boy range from normal beetle size to human size, with one about as big as a house.
  • Reemus, of The Several Journeys of Reemus, tends to deal with these guys, which makes the fact that he's not quite as famous or well-respected as his dragonslayer brother just a bit nonsensical, since Reemus can and sometimes does take out entire colonies of giant beasties in his line of work, while his brother usually only gets one at a time.
  • The Large Beetle from Water Human, at least in episode one (later on, he gets smaller, which is explained by a Hand Wave). He's actually friendly and intelligent, and even is the protagonist's closest friend.
  • The Motley Two has a giant beetlebeast with about dog-like intelligence, and a giant belligerent "mantid". Both of these are the lusii of the troll protagonists (in case you haven't read Homestuck, basically their pets/guardians/surrogate parents) and are scheduled to train to become BRAVE AND MIGHTY STEEDS once their owners are drafted into the army.
  • Half the characters of Starship are Big Creepy-Crawlies, who implant their eggs in mammals and gladly give their lives for the hive and their Overqueen... and they're (mostly) good guys. The protagonist is a bug named Bug who talks and acts like he just walked out of a Disney movie, and eventually the audiences gets to see a small Bug War where both sides' POV is clearly shown: "OMG, these things are disgusting and gross! We've gotta destroy 'em before they destroy us!"


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Ts-eh-Go from Godzilla: The Series, a massive Kaiju-sized scorpion that turned out to be the First Wave of a secret military project. The episode that featured it also had a swarm of smaller scorpions around the size of a human torso which was the Second Wave of the same project after the First Wave proved uncontrollable. Both were naturally disposed of by Godzilla and the episode ends with the revelation that a Third Wave of monster scorpions are currently under development.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Mosquitos in Miseryville are the size of horses.
  • The Martin Mystery episode "Terror from the Sky" had the protagonists deal with giant bugs mutated by a radioactive meteorite.
  • Kickback, Bombshell, and Shrapnel from Transformers are all Decepticons that can turn into insects.
    • Beast Wars had Inferno show up in the second season for the Predacons. Beast form, giant ant. Robot form, giant ant-headed robot whose abdomen turned into a flamethrower. Best known for thinking he was actually an ant, referring to their ship (and at first, just his pod) as "the colony," and referring to Megatron as "my queen."
      • A majority of the Predacons took on insect or arthopod modes.
    • The Insecticons are back in Transformers Prime, and they're bigger and uglier than ever.
  • Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects: The titular mutant space-bugs, which Big Bad Dr. Zin created from ordinary Earth insects (cockroaches, ants, etc.).


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The Giant Isopod definitely qualifies. Your Mileage May Very on whether it's strangely cute or Nightmare Fuel.
    • More likely the former if you first saw one in Twilight Princess, where a similar bug serves as a surprise boss.
  • Giant insects/arthropods were common from the Ordovician to the Carboniferous period, with foot long cockroaches, seagull-sized Dragonflies, 8 and a half-foot long millipedes and 3 ft long Scorpions. Foot long versions of these survived into the Permian period.
    • This was only possible because the oxygen in the atmosphere was almost ridiculously high at the time, 2-3 times today's. Bugs absorb oxygen through pits in their body, their size is strictly limited by the concentration of oxygen in the air.
      • While this is true for the very biggest, arthropods can get much bigger than commonly thought even on land—the coconut crab can reach 4 kg / 9 pounds, and there are reports of notably bigger ones.
  • For some years, the entomology department of the University of Illinois held an annual Insect Fear Film Festival, at which movies with Big Creepy-Crawlies were screened. After each film, members of the department would bring out live examples of the corresponding arthropods—large tarantulas and stag beetles were favorites—and pass them among the audience while they explained how the film Fails Biology Forever.
  • The Giant Asian Hornet is the size of your thumb, can fly faster than you can run, and its sting has venom that dissolves flesh. Sleep tight, now.
    • Might I add, that flesh-dissolving venom has pheromones that call more of the damn things to attack you, and they live right outside of major cities?
    • They also massacre honeybees. 30 giant hornets can kill 30000 honeybees is under an hour!
    • To be fair, however, their larvae are delicious when fried. They taste like crab-flavored popcorn!
    • Also Japanese Honeybees can outwit the hornets by luring them into the hive, swarm them and shake and bake. The bees survive, the hornets are toast.
  • The Atlas Moth has a wingspan of 25–30 cm and looks like this. But don't worry; it has no mouth and can't bite you so if one lands on your hand, all it can really do is just...hang out there.
  • Normal weta, insects that look similar to katydids, crickets or grasshoppers native to New Zealand, are large enough at 4 cm, but the giant weta can grow to a whooping 10 cm in size, not including the legs and the antennae, and can weigh up to 35g. Largest reported cases have reached double those numbers.
  • Scolopendra gigantea, the Amazon giant centipede. Centipedes are creepy enough, but Scolopendra gigantea is about a foot long.