5 Bugs With Big Eyes (Plus Bugs With Fake Large Eyes)

Big eyes are specific to the world of bugs. However, some bugs have very big eyes, often making them appear disproportionately large compared to their body size.

Some bugs even have fake eyes. Seen on a few common species, big fake bug eyes serve a defense-orientated purpose. Many predators move away from these bugs when seeing their large eyes.

Compound eyes or fake eyespots may be as large as the head. In some species, the eyes are so big they are even larger than the head, creating a gap between them.

Eyes sticking out the sides are also seen across different species which are common around the house, such as flies and bugs.

Spotted with fake or real large eyes, the following species are among the most common bugs with big eyes which you may encounter around the house.

5 Bugs With Big Eyes

Bugs and insects often have big eyes. They may serve them for a better field of vision. Some of the biggest eyes are seen on the following species.

1. Big-eyed Bugs

Big-eyed Bug

A common sight on crops and in gardens, Big-eyed Bugs are among the multiple bugs with big eyes that are often misunderstood.

Their presence on crops may be taken as a potential pest problem. But most Big-eyed Bugs are actual predators.

They rely on their large eyes to spot different types of pests they feed on.

Spider mites are among the typical types of prey for these bugs. Nymphs eat hundreds of spider mites per day while adults reduce their feeding habits to tens of spider mites per day.

There are more than 100 types of Big-eyed Bugs in the world. Most of them have a shield-shaped elytra that tapers towards the tips of the wings and large eyes in proportion to their cephalothorax.

The eyes of these bugs are so large that they stick out the sides of the body.

Big-eye bugs (Geocoris punctipes) are found in The Caribbean and even emerge in Florida.

2. Dragonflies


Dragonflies are a common sight next to the water. Spotted along lakes, ponds, and rivers, dragonflies are among the multiple types of species with compound eyes also spotted in North America.

Their compound eyes are made from thousands of small microreceptor units. More than 20.000 units known as ommatidia form the eyes of dragonflies.

Compound eyes are some of the oldest forms of eyes in the world. They dominate the appearance of dragonfly heads.

Their eyes are so large that they extend from the top of the head to the bottom of the head, leaving almost no space on the face of these insects.

Dragonfly eyes come in different colors, from metallic green to turquoise nuances.

Large eyes help dragonflies move around with a 360-degree field of vision. Their good eyesight helps them land on the thinnest piece of vegetation above water.

The good vision of dragonflies even allows them to perform tandem flights. Attached males and females fly together during the breeding period.

3. Praying Mantis

Praying mantis

The eyes of Praying Mantises are large and look even larger due to the triangular head shape of the species.

Praying Mantises are mostly known for their raptorial front legs which also inspire the name of the bugs.

Their eyes are also impressive. Large, bulbous, and covering a large section of the head, even sticking out, the compound eyes of Praying Mantises ensure the bugs have great vision.

They rely on their vision and camouflaging abilities to wait for their perfect prey, as Praying Mantises are predators.

Thousands of mantises exist around the world and each subspecies comes with a different eye color.

You can find Praying Mantises with green, tan, yellow, and even pink.

For example, The Walking Flower Mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) is a species that can change its eye and body color from brown to pink and back.

4. House Flies

House Fly

A typical insect in homes, House Flies might just be one of the most common bugs with big eyes that live around humans.

The eyes of House Flies are red and cover almost their entire face, from the top of the head to the feeding mouthparts.

Some differences between males and females may be quickly noted simply by analyzing the position of the yes.

Females of the species have spaced-out eyes while the eyes of males are closer together.

The breeding habits of these flies are distinct and they often result in hundreds of deposited eggs around the house.

Females make use of their good vision to locate organic materials such as food and waste. Eggs are laid by females on these organic materials before young insects emerge.

Female House Flies lay eggs once and they can even delay laying eggs until they find suitable organic materials even after breeding.

5. Robber Flies

Robber Fly

Named after its predatory habits and its capacity to catch insects while flying, Robber Flies are also known for their large compound eyes.

These types of predatory insects are distinguished by their hairy or bristly appearance, their large eyes, and their waiting habits which allow them to pound on insects in flight.

Short piercing mouthparts are found under the large compound eyes of these insects.

The eyes of these insects are so large, they even surpass the size of their head. This creates a void known as a depression between the eyes.

Bugs with Large Fake Eyes

The following species may appear as if having big eyes, but these aren’t real eyes. They are fake eyes used for diversion tactics.

1. Eyed Click Beetles

Eyed Click Beetles

One of the most common types of bugs with large eyespots that look like eyes is The Eyed Click Beetles.

Its native range expands from Central to South America where it can be spotted around different plants as it mostly feeds on nectar.

This white and black beetle has large black eyespots right on its cephalothorax.

Its eyespots are a type of self-mimicry adaptation where a species mimics one of its body parts of defense.

Its eyespots are black with white borders and are the most contrasting part of its body.

This defensive adaptation may make the species look larger or it may simply put off potential predators which may not be able to correctly identify it as a species that can be eaten.

2. Butterflies

Brazilian Owl (Caligo brasiliensis)

Eyespots or fake eyes are seen on numerous butterflies. Species such as The Brazilian Owl (Caligo brasiliensis) even have fake eyespots both on their dorsal and ventral wings.

The eyespots of butterflies tend to be a bit more colorful than the fake eyes on bugs.

3 and even 4 colors are specific to the eyespots of butterflies. Black, yellow, and brown are among the typical colors of the eyespots.

White, red, rust, or even blue are also some of the colors fake butterfly eyes are seen in.

These types of eyespots also have a defensive role. Some butterflies only show them on the underwings, while flying, or when resting.

They open their wings to show the fake eyespots and scare potential predators.

The number of eyespots or fake eyes is also variable in butterflies. At least a couple of them are seen on the butterflies with large fake eyespots.

Peacock family butterflies such as those of The European Peacock genus have some of the largest eyespots across their wings made up of different colors.

Blue, red, black, and yellow, the eyespots of these species are some of the largest and most disproportionate compared to the real eyes of the butterfly.

3. Moths

Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)

Moths resemble butterflies in their fake large eyes. They have them to keep predators away.

Just like butterfly wings, the wings of various moths show large and small eyespots.

Some species such as The Squinting Bush Brown (Bicyclus anynana) have almost 20 eyespots of various sizes on the dorsal wings alone.

These types of small and large eyespots may confuse some of the most typical predators of the species such as owls.

Eyespots or fake eyes aren’t the sole traits of adult moths. Some of the eggs of these moths even have spots that make be taken as fake eyes.

4. Caterpillars

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio troilus)

Caterpillars have almost no real means of defense. Bad taste or fake eyespots may be the only types of defensive tools of various caterpillar species.

Some caterpillars show colorful eyespots to steer predators away.

Pandora Sphinx Moth Caterpillars (Eumorpha pandorus) show up to 10 bright eyespots along the body and final 2 more eyespots on the head in their final growth stages to keep predators away.

The final instar eyespots on The Pandora Sphinx Moth Caterpillar look like real eyes the most.

Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar

Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillars (Deilephila elpenor) have multiple eyespots further away from the head down the body.

This body part can be inflated by the caterpillar to make its eyespots appear even larger in front of a potential predator. Both the caterpillar and the adult moth are known for having multiple eyespots which change color with each growth stage.