Warning Signs of Poisonous Insects

Warning Signs of Poisonous Insects
Warning Signs of Poisonous Insects

Which is a warning sign that an insect might be poisonous to eat?
• Looks slimy
• Smells bad
• Bright colored
• Loud chirping

Answer: Bright colored

Many bright colored poisonous insects and animals want to be seen. The term is call aposematic coloration. If predators eat a poisonous insect, they will usually do it once before they learn not to do it again.

The more bright colors an insect has, the more the predator will remember its appearance and learn not to eat it.

Most insects or animals that have a bright, highly contrasting coloration pattern are poisonous. Some of the most common color contrasts are black and orange, black and red, black and yellow, and black and white.


Some aposematic insects like butterflies may not fall into this category but it’s always good to know the basic poisonous color contrasts.

For millions of years, predators have instinctively avoided colored prey. As humans, we use similar colors as a means of preventing accidents or indicating dangerous situations like the use of black and yellow barrier tape in crime scenes.

The best defense is to aware of these color indicators when dealing with small insects. It could help save your life.

~To Your Survival!


Warning Colors in the Animal World by the
American Museum of Natural History