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6 Legged Insects (ID Guide) 12 Examples, Photos

How many legs do insects have? Do all insects have 6 legs? Knowing how many legs is an important step to identifying the animal you’ve discovered. In this post, you’ll learn about 6 legged insects, with examples and photos.

Insects have 6 legs, as part of their morphology. If an animal has more (or less) than 6 legs, it isn’t an insect. Animals with 8 legs are arachnids and include spiders. Examples of 6-legged insects include butterflies, fleas, crickets, cockroaches, and beetles. Bugs are also insects with 6 legs.

6 legged insects

Insects have 3 body sections, including an exoskeleton along with six legs. Let’s take a look at some of the different insects with 6 legs. You’ll never see an actual bug with eight legs. Eight-legged animals are arachnids (including spiders).

Take a look at some of the different types of insects with 6 legs.

How Many Legs Do Insects Have?

All insects have six legs. To be classified as an insect, the animal must have 6 legs.

Because spiders aren’t insects, they don’t have 6 legs. Do only spiders have 8 legs?

Do All Bugs Have 6 Legs?

All bugs have six legs because all bugs are insects. Here’s more about the relationship between bugs and insects.

Why Do Insects Have 6 Legs?

Another feature of insects is their three-segmented thorax (prothorax, mesothorax, and metathorax).

Each segment contains one pair of legs. 3 thoracic segments = 3 pairs of legs.

Insects are animals with three distinct sections to their bodies and an exoskeleton along with six legs.

does all insects have 6 legs
Bee anatomy, showing some typical characteristic of an insect

6 Legged Animal List (12 Examples)

Here are some common examples of six-legged insects.

1. Butterflies

Butterflies are one of the most beautiful insects with 6 legs.

They have a long organ in their mouths called a coiled proboscis that they use to drink and antennae shaped like clubs. Butterflies have two sets of three legs located on each side of their bodies, with each leg having five separate parts.

Though all butterflies mate up to twice a year, they eat different types of nectar from plants. They form cocoons that keep them safe from predators until they become butterflies.

butterflies 6 legs

2. Fleas

One of the biggest nuisances to pet owners is fleas. These tiny insects attack both dogs and cats. Your pets can bring them inside where they will live and produce more fleas.

Their legs have durable claws that help them attach to your pet and keep them stable as they need. When left untreated, fleas can cause a condition called flea anemia that can lead to death in pets.

Signs of flea anemia may include lethargy and trouble eating. Using products to treat flea eggs and adults will keep your home and pets safe.

Learn more about sand fleas and how to get rid of them.

fleas have 6 legs

More reading: Do Fleas Have Wings?

3. Moths

Moths are similar to butterflies as they have two wings on their backs.

These insects are usually darker in color and have antennae that are fuzzy to the touch. While there are a few types that come out during the day, most are nocturnal and come out at night.

Light attracts them, which is why you’ll often see moths on your front porch. Moths can cause a lot of damage to farms because they eat crops.

moths have 6 legs

4. Beetles

Beetles are so common that experts believe they make up roughly 25% of all insects in the world.

They have a hard exoskeleton and three legs on each side of their bodies. Most beetles have multiple segments that make up their legs and claws.

Though these 6 legged insects often crawl or walk, they can also jump and swim.

One of the unique things about beetles is that there are several types people keep as pets.

rhinoceros beetle
Pair of rhinoceros beetles

5. Flies

Flies are common pests that you often see in your kitchen as well as outside.

They have a set of three legs located on each side of their bodies that have five segments and a small set of claws.

The biggest reason to get rid of flies is that they carry diseases they can transmit to humans. You’ll find strips and traps that catch flies along with chemical sprays and powders that kill them.

6. Crickets

Some people love falling asleep to the sounds of crickets outside, but others call these bugs pests.

Crickets have six legs with long legs in the back that help them jump high in the air. They also have hard spurs that they use to protect their bodies. Crickets have unique ears that allow them to hear soft noises far away and track their packs.

camel cricket

Learn more about camel crickets, if they are dangerous, and how to trap them.

7. Honey Bees

The world would look very different if honey bees didn’t exist.

These bees pollinate the environment and help plants grow. A simple hive will consist of worker bees that go out to find food and bring it back along with other bees that stay inside to guard and protect the queen.

Bumblebees and carpenter bees are similar to honey bees. All are 6 legged insects.

honey bees have 6 legs

8. Stick Bugs

Stick bugs earned their names because they resemble sticks.

This helps them hide from predators and avoid dangers in the wild. Not only are they the heaviest bugs in the world, but they are also the longest.

Stick bugs usually climb up trees and live in the branches where they feed on leaves. The bugs have three legs on each side that sit an equal distance apart.

stick bug with 6 legs

9. Mosquitoes

There aren’t many things worse than finding yourself under attack from mosquitoes.

These 6 legged insects thrive in areas with standing water and feed off humans. If you have a mosquito allergy, you’ll find large welts and itchy spots left behind after they feed.

Mosquitoes are often small enough that you can barely see them and can transfer different diseases to humans.

mosquito with 6 legs

10. Cockroaches

Cockroaches often come inside during cold periods and stick around because of the warmth and food they find.

You may develop a roach problem because your neighbors have roaches that entered your home or because you brought the bugs back from a store.

Cockroaches range in color from deep brown to black. They have long antennae that stick out from their head and six legs.

Most have smaller legs near their heads and larger legs near their backs.

Here are 3 types of roaches known as palmetto bugs.

6 legged cockroach

Have a cockroach in your microwave? Here’s how to get roaches out of electronics.

Learn more about cockroaches.

11. Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are one of the biggest nuisances in the world. It can take a lot of time and money to get rid of these bugs because they hide in your bed and other furniture but can also live in outlets and baseboards.

They often come out at night and feed off your blood. You can see signs such as red and black spots on your mattress when you have a bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs are often light brown and become black as their bodies fill with blood. They also have six legs evenly spaced across their bodies.

Here’s how to find bed bugs during the day.

12. Gnats

Three are a number of types of insects knowns as gnats. They include sandflies, black flies, and biting midges.

Learn about gnat bites and how to avoid them.

biting midges gnats

Keep learning: 9 Bugs that Look Like Silverfish

What Insect Have I Found?

To determine the type of insect you found, check this guide (downloads PDF) by the University of Rhode Island.

It walks through the specific features to narrow down what you found.

6 legs bugs
Cockroaches have 6 legs, like all insects. This guy is on the top of a cupboard door.

6 Legged Insects

Not all insects are dangerous. Many have benefits to your home and garden because they eat other smaller bugs and pollinate your plants. If you find a creature in your home or garden and want to know what you found, count the legs. All insects have six legs. Examples of 6 legged insects include beetles, cockroaches, bed bugs, honey bees, and butterflies.


Wednesday 9th of August 2023

I had a bag of birdseed inside a plastic bag in an indoor container along with several other items. Found several hundred small moving bugs inside, black with six legs. Didn’t appear to have antenna, about 4 mm long. Can’t identify. Appears to be a type of spider?

Brenda Darlene Haddix

Thursday 1st of September 2022

I saw a bright orange approximately 1" or "1 1/4" with upturned tail crawling under the umbrella on our outdoor umbrella. We have a small woods about 6'away and tree lined fence rows, and 2 small 1/2 acre ponds. I love bugs and all my outdoor critters. Please advise. I have books it was not a bee, beetle, never saw one before. Should have gotten camera.


Monday 17th of October 2022

@Brenda Darlene Haddix, most likely it was an assassin bug, which is a beneficial insect.


Wednesday 6th of July 2022

I took a picture of a six legged insect and I thought it was a spider but I was it can you help me with what it is?


Thursday 11th of August 2022

@Bryan Haines, i saw a red bug with a lot of legs and a white back. i also thought it was a spider or maybe a gnat.

Bryan Haines

Thursday 7th of July 2022

The spider beetle is commonly confused with an actual spider - and it has just 6 legs. Did it look something like this?