7 Bugs With the Most Legs – You’ll Love This

Bugs, whether they be insects, arachnids, or crustaceans, can all have uncomfortably numerous legs.

The 7 bugs with the most legs around are spiders, caterpillars, garden centipedes, woodlouse, house centipedes, and last, Illacme plenipes.

It’s almost human nature to be frightened of bugs, and it seems like the more legs there are, the more terrifying a bug is. Oddly enough, some of the bugs with the most legs are the least dangerous! 

Below we’ve listed 7 of the leggiest bugs around, as well as information to make these mysterious creatures a little less spooky. We’ll cover:

  • 7 bugs with the most legs
  • The exact number of legs each bug has
  • How large the bug is overall
  • How long the bugs lifespan is
  • How their large number of legs has helped them adapt


  • Number Of Legs

Spiders are arachnids, and as such, they all have 8 legs. While it might appear that some spiders have 10 legs, this illusion is caused by the extra-long mouthparts, called pedipalps.

  • Length Of Bug

Among the numerous types of spiders, the largest is the Goliath Bird Eating Spider at 28 cm (11 in) while the smallest is the diminutive Patu Digua, measuring only 0.37 mm  (0.014 in).

Between these two outliers, spiders can come in all different shapes and sizes. 

  • Lifespan Of Bug

On average, spiders live for 2 years, but in captivity, some can live up to 20 years. 

Spiders are one of the most feared bugs, and while there are definitely examples of dangerous spiders, most of them are harmless to humans.

Even if a spider is harmless, most people can’t help but be a little unsettled at this arachnid with 8 eyes and 8 legs.

In reality, spiders don’t have 8 legs just to creep us out. This even number of appendages allows spiders to move carefully over their delicate webs to catch their prey, and the tiny hairs on each leg allow them to sense even the most minuscule movement on the same web.


  • Number Of Legs

Caterpillars, like other insects, have 6 legs, but there’s a little something more to the legs of this pre-butterfly. Along with the 6 ‘true’ legs, caterpillars have 10 appendages called prolegs.

Prolegs are nub-like appendages on the abdomen of the caterpillar that allows it to move and grip the surfaces it lives on. 

  • Length Of Bug

The largest caterpillar is the Hickory Horned Caterpillar, which is 12.7 cm long (5 in), while the Clothes Moth Caterpillar is only 0.6 cm (0.25 in).

  • Lifespan Of Bug

On average, a caterpillar remains in its caterpillar form 2-5 weeks. After that, it becomes pupae, and then a butterfly. 

Caterpillars are unique in that they are insects with over 6 legs if you count the prolegs they have on their abdomen. With the true legs and the prolegs, the caterpillar ends up having a whopping 16 legs!

These prolegs, which are little nubby leg-like appendages, are necessary for a caterpillar’s locomotion for several reasons. First, the prolegs act as grippers for leaves, branches, and plants that the caterpillars crawl on.

Second, the bigger the caterpillar, the better. Throughout a caterpillar’s life, their principal goal is to pack on weight, and once a caterpillar becomes chunky enough, it’s almost impossible for them to move with just their true legs.


  • Number Of Legs

Woodlice have 14 legs, all of which are jointed and dispersed over the soft bottom of their segmented bodies.

  • Length Of Bug

The average length of a woodlouse is 10mm, but this number can vary somewhat since there are many different types of woodlice, all of them differing slightly in size. 

  • Lifespan Of Bug

When able to successfully avoid predation, woodlice can live between 2-4 years.

Woodlice are unique to our list because, technically, they aren’t bugs at all! Woodlice are actually terrestrial crustaceans, which are closely related to aquatic crustaceans like shrimp and lobsters. 

Like their water-loving brethren, woodlice have a large number of legs. These 14 jointed legs allow the woodlice to crawl and dig through the soft dirt beneath fallen trees, rocks, and other forest detritus where they make their homes.

Giant Pink Foot Millipede (Narceus americanus

  • Number Of Legs

Despite the prefix milli, which means thousand, a Giant Pink Foot Millipede really only has between 300-500 legs, depending on their age. With each molt, a millipede gains more segments and legs. 

  • Length Of Bug

At their largest, the Giant Pink Foot Millipede measures 12.7 cm (5 in), but it’s more common to see them at a smaller size. These hefty millipedes are some of the largest in the world, but they don’t have the most feet! 

  • Lifespan Of Bug

The average lifespan of the Giant Pink Foot Millipede is 3 years, but with proper care, they can live to be much older in captivity. 

Millipedes are somewhat of a conundrum. Their name breaks down into two parts, milli, which means thousand, and pede, which means feed. So according to their name, they should have 1000 feet, right?

Millipedes actually never have quite that many feet, topping out at 750 legs, but despite this number, they are still one of the leggiest bugs on the planet.

They’re not all as large as the aptly named Giant Pink Foot Millipede, but when it comes to legs, millipedes reign supreme

Having such a huge number of legs means millipedes are incredibly versatile, able to burrow through dirt and squeeze into all kinds of small spaces.

Their hard exoskeleton and never-ceasing hoard of legs make them into a bulldozer of sorts, pushing through and moving dirt as they go.

House Centipede, (Scutigera coleoptrata) 

  • Number Of Legs

A house centipede may seem to have hundreds of legs when it rushes across the floor, but it actually has around 30 legs. Their legs are long and jointed, with the back pair of legs being much longer than the body itself.

  • Length Of Bug

House centipedes are between 2.54-3.81 cm in length (1-1.5in), though their quick movements and comically long legs can make them appear larger than this.

  • Lifespan Of Bug

House centipedes aren’t seasonal insects, living up to 3 years in the proper circumstances. 

It’s hard to believe that the House Centipede, arguably one of the scariest bugs that can be found in your home, is beneficial to have around, but they are!

House centipedes will hunt and kill other more bothersome insects, like roaches, and aren’t dangerous to humans at all. 

House centipedes might seem like the stuff of nightmares, but they really are scary to their prey!

These bugs are carnivorous, and jump on their prey, wrapping them up with their ridiculously long legs so they can inject venom using two special hollowed-out forelegs. 

All in all, it’s perfectly fine to welcome this creepy critter into your home, as long as you aren’t a smaller, tastier bug. 

Garden Centipede, (Oxidus gracilis) 

  • Number Of Legs

Like their house-loving brethren, adult Garden Centipedes have 30 legs, although younger centipedes start out with half that amount. 

  • Length Of Bug

The brown and black Garden Centipede will be between 2.54-5.08 cm (1-2 in). Like other molting centipedes, they start out much smaller but gain new sections and legs with each molt.

  • Lifespan Of Bug

By burrowing in the warm soil to avoid the winter chill, Garden Centipedes can live up to 6 years!

This impressive lifespan wouldn’t be possible without overwintering in the soil, since the centipede couldn’t survive the sub-zero temperatures. 

With their flattened body, Garden Centipedes move quickly, using a wavelike motion throughout the legs to gain impressive speed.

It’s this same speed that lets them catch their prey, smaller insects. The Garden Centipede will grab them pretty tightly before injecting their venom and consuming the bug.

Garden Centipedes are also unique in that they have an impressive lifespan of up to 6 years. They achieve this by spending the long, frigid winters buried in the soil, avoiding the cold air and snow up above.

Bugs without this adapted lifestyle tend to die off in the winter since most bugs are sensitive to below-freezing temperatures. 

These centipedes don’t use their mouths to inject venom into their prey. Instead, they use specialized, hollowed-out front legs to do the deed, just like the House Centipede. 

Illacme plenipes

Marek, P.; Shear, W.; Bond, J. (2012), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Number Of Legs

Our number one leggiest bug is the Illacme plenipes, a type of millipede that scientists know so little about, that it doesn’t have a common name.

Illacme plenipes have a whopping 750 legs, more than any other creature on the planet. 

  • Length Of Bug

Even though Illacme plenipes has so many legs, it doesn’t mean it’s a large animal. This bug maxes out at 3c m (1.8 in) for adult females, with the males being smaller.

  • Lifespan Of Bug

Since there is so little known about Illacme plenipes, their lifespan hasn’t been concretely observed. With this in mind, our best guess is that Illacme plenipes lives something similar to the average millipede lifespan of 3-5 years. 

Illacme plenipes don’t just hold the unique honor of having the most legs in the animal kingdom, its discovery is an interesting story too!

Originally, it was first discovered in 1926, but was not seen again until 2005, almost 80 years later! 

Since it had only been seen once back in the 1920’s, Illacme plenipes weren’t considered to have the most legs of any creature until its more recent rediscovery.

Other millipedes are known to have over 500 legs, but none can touch the enormous number of 750 legs that Illacme boasts. 

We are not exactly sure why illacme plenipes have so many legs, but the reason is probably similar to other millipedes. It’s believed Illacme plenipes use their 750 legs to burrow in the ground and find their way into spaces they usually wouldn’t fit. 

Even more recently, a contender for ‘most legs ever’ has been found, a close relative of Illacme plenipes called Illacme tobini. Even less is known about this millipede, so Illacme plenipes haven’t been dethroned just yet. 

In Summary

7 of the bugs with the most legs are:

  • Spiders
  • Caterpillars
  • Garden centipedes
  • Woodlice
  • House centipedes
  • Illacme plenipes

Each bug on this list uses its large number of legs for specific purposes, ranging from crawling across a gauzy spiderweb to attacking and venomizing their prey. 

No matter how they use their dozens and dozens of legs, these bugs are both creepy and impressive, displaying the endless nuances of the animal kingdom. 

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

TOP 10 more protein filled insects you Can EAT!

7 of the Most Painful Insect Stings

The Cutest Bugs in the World- With Pictures

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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