19 Fish And Insects That Are As Stunning In Real Life As They Are In Animal Crossing

Published September 17, 2020

All those bizarre creatures in your critterpedia exist — and are even stranger in real life.

Orchid Mantis In Animal Crossing
Orchid Mantis
Sea Pig In New Horizons
Sea Pig
19 Fish And Insects That Are As Stunning In Real Life As They Are In Animal Crossing
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Whether you're a gamer or not, you've likely heard about the popular video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The simple gameplay and cutesy graphics have certainly made the game appealing to a wide audience, but its array of weird animals is also a special draw. However, these bizarre creatures aren't the stuff of game makers — they're animals that can be found all over the world.

Players are encouraged to seek out a plethora of creatures through fishing, netting, or even diving. Then, players can catalog these critters through the game's so-called "critterpedia," where they can also learn more about them. Take a look at some of the most unusual animals in the gallery above.

Drawing Inspiration From The World's Most Unique Insects

Queen Alexandra's Birdwing And A Person

TwitterThe Queen Alexandra's birdwing butterfly might seem like it can exist only in an imaginative game, but it's actually among the largest insects in the world.

We know our world is full of natural wonders that we cannot even begin to fathom, a point obviously not lost on the makers of Animal Crossing.

There are three different types of animals that can be found in the game: land bugs, fish, and sea animals. Insects are the most diverse organisms on the planet, with an estimated 900,000 different species. In the world of Animal Crossing, however, there are but 80 species for players to catalog.

Among the game's most interesting bugs is the orchid mantis, an elegant insect whose floral physique evolved deliberately to attract small prey. There is also the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly, which is the largest insect in the world with a wingspan of up to 11 inches.

But among the scariest of all the bugs one can find in their critterpedia is the giant water bug, otherwise known as the "toe-biter," so-named for its well-documented aggression toward humans who stray into their underwater habitats.

The giant water bug is its own variety of insect known as a "true bug," an order of insects comprising 50,000 to 80,000 different species including stink bugs, cicadas, aphids, and leafhoppers. The giant water bug is the largest "true bug" in the world and has the distinct ability to "breathe" underwater, making them mighty predators in ponds and lakes.

The Strangest Animals Of The Sea

Ribbon Eel

Wikimedia CommonsThe ribbon eel has an unusual method of reproduction, making it one of the most unbelievable real animals depicted in the game.

The sea is home to some of the world's most uncanny and unusual beasts, which is perfect inspiration for such an imaginative game. Following the game's latest summer update, a wealth of bizarre sea creatures has captured the attention of both gamers and nature lovers alike.

The game now features giant isopods which — in spite of how easy it is to find them in the game — are a rare sight in nature because they inhabit the deep sea. Giant isopods have been uncovered as far as 8,500 feet below the ocean's surface where they feed on the carcasses of dead sea animals.

The game also features the ocean sunfish, otherwise known as the Mola mola, which is one of the most recognizable fish in the game as well as on the planet for its flat moon-shaped body. The ocean sunfish can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds and reach up to 14 feet long, making it one of the heaviest fish in the world — outweighed only by a few shark species and the giant oceanic manta ray.

But perhaps one of the strangest real animals featured in the game is none other than the ribbon eel. These brightly colored moray eels are easily identified by their blue-and-yellow hue and wavy bodies which make them appear like a piece of ribbon floating in the ocean.

Mola Mola Swimming

Wikimedia CommonsCatching a Mola mola or ocean sunfish will fetch you 4,000 Bells on Animal Crossing, but in real life, these creatures are vulnerable to endangerment.

Yet, their striking appearance is not even the strangest thing about them. The ribbon eel has an unusual mode of reproduction. When they hatch from their eggs, all ribbon eels are born male.

Remarkably, they then undergo a unique biological transformation as they mature. They begin to adopt their distinct blue-and-yellow coloring and soon develop female reproductive organs, at which point, these animals turn completely yellow.

The ribbon eel's unique method of reproducing is so puzzling to scientists that they are still trying to figure out why they are the only species of moray eel that uses this biological feature.

The biodiversity depicted in this wholesome game gives us a tiny snapshot into the wonders of nature. Luckily, for those who aren't the outdoorsy type, the wonders of nature can still be enjoyed from the comforts of our couch thanks to the game.

After this look at some of the most unusual real-life creatures in "Animal Crossing's" critterpedia, feast your eyes on some of the ugliest animals on Earth. Then, take a look at animals reclaiming human spaces during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Natasha Ishak
A former staff writer for All That's Interesting, Natasha Ishak holds a Master's in journalism from Emerson College and her work has appeared in VICE, Insider, Vox, and Harvard's Nieman Lab.
Leah Silverman
A former associate editor for All That's Interesting, Leah Silverman holds a Master's in Fine Arts from Columbia University's Creative Writing Program and her work has appeared in Catapult, Town & Country, Women's Health, and Publishers Weekly.
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Ishak, Natasha. "19 Fish And Insects That Are As Stunning In Real Life As They Are In Animal Crossing." AllThatsInteresting.com, September 17, 2020, https://allthatsinteresting.com/real-animal-crossing-animals. Accessed May 18, 2024.