Animals With 6 Legs (9 Amazing Six-Legged Species)

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

The number of legs on animals is an interesting topic. Unlike humans, animals may come with four, six, or even more legs.

In this article, we will focus on six-legged animals. They are mainly hexapods, including insects, scorpions, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and crustaceans.

Let’s read on and take some notes about the most popular animals with 6 legs.

List Of Animals With 6 Legs

There are many six-legged animals. We’ll cover some and explain them in detail.

Dragonfly

Dragonflies are water insectivorous insects that belong to the Odonata family.

They have two pairs of wide membranous wings coated in long hairs, a pair of delicate cerci at the apex of the abdomen, and a short tail.

The dragonflies have six legs. Two of them, called “coxae,” are thick and short, while the other four are thin and long, known as “halteres.”

There are three different kinds of coxa. The first has only one joint claw, whereas the next has two, and the third comes with three.

Dragonflies fly by using their wings. They use their limbs for walking and eating insects.

They fold their limbs up and keep them toward their bodies whenever they want to rest.

animals with 6 legs

Gladiator spider

Gladiator spiders are cave dwellers who eat insects like cockroaches. They also use their silky webs to seek prey.

The spiders need their six legs to keep them balanced and keep them from falling when they are upside down.

Gladiators use their muscles joined to their joints to move their limbs. There are two parts in each joint: a socket and a ball.

Once a spider moves one leg, it stretches the muscle that links its joint to its leg, making the joint move around the socket. Then, its other leg rotates in the other direction.

Gladiator spiders are among the world’s fastest creatures. They have a max speed of 60 miles per hour, while our average walking speed is only about four miles per hour.

Bug

Bugs come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some have wings, some have fur, and some are completely flat.

There are about 20,000 bug species on the planet now. Despite their terrifying appearance, they pose little threat to people.

Bugs have a total of six legs. They are flexible to adjust to new situations.

You may like their cleverness. They can even use all the accessible information to solve their problems.

These insects move forward using their forelegs, then pull back with the back ones.

bugs

Ant

Ants are colony-dwelling social insects. As we know, there are six legs in an ant.

Ants use their first two legs to walk and the other four to bring food. Walking, sprinting, climbing, and digging are among the ants’ activities with their limbs.

The ants also communicate with other ants through pheromones using their limbs. Ants perform pheromone interaction to coordinate actions, including obtaining food, defending against enemies, and finding partners.

Butterfly

The butterfly is the next six-legged animal on this list. Like other insects, butterflies use their limbs to walk, but they don’t use all of them at once.

Observing the butterfly closely makes you notice that it has only two legs to land on flowers and all four to fly.

A butterfly’s average speed is roughly 1.5 miles per hour. It indicates that a butterfly may fly around 2.8 miles in an hour.

Butterflies’ wings come with pouches, which are small air sacs. These pouches stretch and shrink when the butterflies flap their wings, and their body moves forward as a result.

butterfly

Fly

Flies belong to the Diptera family, which means “two wings.” Some people mistake flies for mosquitoes because they have four wings and long bodies.

However, mosquitoes have just five segments in their bodies, while flies have six.

The muscles allow these insects to move their legs. There are three sets of muscles performing different tasks:

  • The first set contracts to raise the front leg.
  • The middle set pulls the leg down.
  • The third one pushes the leg forward.

Although you may assume a fly has two wings at the first look. In fact, there are two pairs, two wings on each pair; therefore, we can call the front pair “forelegs” and the back “hindlegs.”

Flies have three pairs of limbs with two for each. The first pair is antennae, the second is prothoracic, and the last is mesothoracic.

These six-legged animals only have four wings. Each wing has two groups of veins connected to the body through joints.

When a fly flaps its wings, it also moves the joints. It means that the wings still move, although they look like they don’t.

Beetle

Beetles are amazing insects. You can find them everywhere, from rainforests to deserts, in different sizes and shapes.

Beetles are insects that belong to the Coleoptera group. There are about 20,000 different species all over the world.

They are mostly wingless and prefer to live underground or in damp conditions.

The number of legs in beetles varies depending on the species. Generally, they may have six legs and four pairs of wings.

When a beetle lifts its limbs, it pushes off the ground with the muscles in its rear leg. The other two limbs then assist in bearing the body’s weight as the first leg moves forward once more.

The world’s fastest beetle may hit a speed of up to 140 miles per hour. Some can even leap from heights of up to 30 feet.

Praying mantis

The unique look of this six-legged species, particularly its long antennae, has made it famous.

The praying mantis is a member of the mantodea family. They are one of the oldest insect groups with a history extending back 500 million years.

Because their bodies shine in the dark, some people call them “fireflies.”

Depending on the species, their eyes shine yellow or red. Some species even have light-emitting wings.

They are the fastest insects on the planet. They can move at a pace of roughly one meter per second.

A joint named the coxa connects their legs to their bodies. The coxae spin around each other as they move their limbs, allowing them to leap to any position.

Bumblebee

Bumblebees have pollen on their legs. The pollen assists them in fertilizing flowers.

Bumblebees fly at a speed of roughly 20 miles per hour. They can cover about 100 feet in just one second; therefore, they are faster than any other insect.

Bumblebees are around two inches long and have six legs, four pairs of wings, and two antennae.

These insects have two sets of wings that help them fly. They walk and move about using their hind legs. They use their forelegs to guide their walk.

Bumblebees live for two to four weeks on average. They use about half of their lives finding food and the other half building nests and raising their babies.

Do All Insects Have Six Legs?

Insects have three pairs of legs by definition, for a total of six limbs.

Some may have repurposed their appendages for different reasons, giving them the appearance of having four legs.

Nonetheless, these altered organs provide the same fundamental role as most limbs in terms of structure.

You have also heard about arthropods known as arachnids, which belong to the Arachnid group.

Arachnids might seem to the untrained eye as four-legged or eight-legged insects.

On the other hand, the number of limbs separates an arachnid from the insect: Arachnids are eight-legged animals, whereas insects are six-legged.

Types Of Insect Legs

Since six-legged animals are mostly insects, we will dig deeper into this topic by discussing the types of insect legs.

Cursorial

You may think of the cursorial first if you’ve ever thought of insect limbs. Cursorial refers to fast-moving insects like roaches or tiger beetles.

Cursorial limbs are long and slender. They assist the insects in moving quickly and smoothly.

Animals with this type of limb are usually hard to catch, or in the case of roaches, rare to step on.

Saltatorial

Saltatorial limbs are for jumping. You can see them in grasshoppers and other jumping insects, such as fleas.

Because saltatorial limbs are big and filled with thick, powerful muscles, they are ideal for jumping.

All of those muscles enable insects to jump and drive themselves forward over great distances quickly.

Raptorial

Raptorial limbs are for hunting. You can see them on predatory insects like mantids or giant water bugs.

These are enormous limbs with strong muscles, similar to the saltatorial ones. The insects also use them to catch and hold their prey.

Natatorial

Natatorial means “swimming”; hence insects with these limbs are aquatic insects. The modified limbs allow them to move quickly through the water.

Natatorial limbs are generally flat, wide, and coated with thick hairs. You can look at the beetle’s hind leg to picture how it works.

Fossorial

Insects with fossorial limbs live underground. They dig tunnels with their modified forelegs.

A great example is the mole cricket, whose forelegs are quite wide, flat, and thick. They also have large, powerful claws.

You can learn more about the structure and uses of an insect leg right here:

FAQ’s

Here are some frequently asked questions about six-legged animals. Please check the answers to learn more about these species.

What has six legs and isn’t an insect?

Most creatures on Earth are tetrapods, which means they have four limbs.

This rule applies to all animals, including dogs, horses, and people. Insects are the only species with six limbs.

Can a spider have six legs?

Spiders have eight walking legs. On the other hand, some spiders have six legs, two of which are the chelicerae.

Six-legged spiders are better at staying balanced. The amount of legs a spider has also affects how fast it can move and spin the web.

What is a six-legged spider?

Gladiator spiders are six-legged animals. They use their limbs to help them stay securely on the wall.

Are butterflies four-legged or six-legged?

Butterflies are also six-legged species, three on each side of the thorax. A butterfly has a pair of forelegs near its head.

Conclusion

Animals with 6 legs are insects. They use their limbs to walk, hold food, and keep their body balanced.

Hopefully, you have found what you need after checking this post. For any questions, please feel free to ask. Thank you for stopping by.