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File:FourLeggedBug 9000.jpg

One convention animators made with insect characters was to draw them with only four legs, not the six legs they characteristically have. Four legs are easier to animate than six legs. For example, the insect's front legs are hands and its hind legs are feet.

One variant of this trope is to give decapods (10-legged crustaceans) six or eight legs instead of the 10 legs they are supposed to have. Six or eight legs are easier to animate than 10 legs. Another, less common variant that was more common in cartoons of the 1930s and 1940s is to draw spiders with six legs instead of the correct eight. These days however, they are more likely to be drawn with the correct number of legs. Strangely, octopuses are rarely drawn with less than their usual eight arms. To avoid squid confusion?

One common cheat is to draw the "spare" legs, but simply have them do exactly the same thing as one of the other pairs.

Compare Four-Fingered Hands, which is based on the same principle. See also Vertebrate with Extra Limbs.


Insect Examples

Anime

Commercials

  • Buzz the bee from the Honey Nut Cheerios commericals.
  • The bee on the Bumblebee tuna cans.

Film

Literature

  • Ferda Mravenec (Freddie the Ant) and other insect characters in the books by Ondrej Sekora.
  • The Bible, "But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you."(lev 11:23). Sadly, none of the nomads who wrote the Leviticus had checked the actual number of legs in any flying insect before, even with big insects like locust available. Evidently because they were too afraid to even touch them (lev 11:31). This makes this Older Than Feudalism
    • Frankly, I don't blame them for not wanting to touch them- bugs are icky.
  • Inverted with the thranx of the Humanx Commonwealth series, mantis-like arthropods with eight legs rather than six. Justified, as they are aliens from a world where eight appendages is normal for insectoid life.
  • Shield bugs from Septimus Heap.

Video Games

  • The bees from Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
    • Averted with the Mandibugs, however.
  • Bug and his family from Bug!!, being a Funny Animal. Oddly enough, many of the insect enemies in the game have the correct amount of six, but some of them still have four.
  • Most Bug-type Pokémon.
    • Notable is the Spinarak line. Spinarak have six legs, which would be fine if it weren't a spider. Ariados, its evolved form, has only four... because the other two have migrated to its back.
    • Averted with Ledaba and its evolution Ledian.
  • Charmy Bee from Sonic the Hedgehog has only two arms and two legs.

Web Comics

  • The characters in Gulyk look like ants with four limbs until you notice the tiny, tiny arms drawn on their hips.
  • Justified in Dreamwalk Journal, which features numerous species of anthropomorphic insects and spiders (almost certainly genetic hybrids of human and arthropod stock). Many insects are humanoid with two insectile legs and two humanlike arms, although some (e.g. cockroaches) have multiple legs, and a few have two pairs of arms. Many flying insects have only one pair of wings rather than two. Spiders only have six pairs of limbs; four narrow legs and, again, two humanoid arms.
    • Some very early concept drawings for the series (not currently online) feature far more humaniform designs, including spiders with two human legs and four arms.

Western Animation

  • Bounce the bedbug from Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends has only two legs. (All the other insects an arachnids in the series, however, have the proper number of limbs, making Bounce a very peculiar exception.)
  • Atom Ant from Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
  • The bee that stings James in the Thomas the Tank Engine episode "Buzz Buzz". Curiously enough, the exact same bee was drawn with six legs in a storybook based on this episode, and that the bees in the later episodes were drawn with six legs.
  • Zipper the fly from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
  • Spike the bee and Wilbur the grasshopper from the Classic Disney Shorts
    • Also, the fly from the Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Worm Turns who is Mickey's test subject for a spritzer to make prey animals attack their predators.
    • The 1935 short Mickey's Garden features a lot of them as well. Except that one of them for some reason has eight legs.
  • The Flea family from Tiny Toon Adventures.
  • The Looney Tunes short "An Itch in Time" features a blue, four-legged flea.
  • The Uncle Ant plush in The Simpsons episode "Itchy and Scratchy Land" has four legs.
  • Chief the flea from Tuff Puppy
  • Inverted: Cricket, a very minor character from Word World, has eight legs (the correct number of legs for an arachnid).
    • Averted with the other insects.
  • Flecko the fly, a reoccurring character in Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Mr. Bug Goes to Town

Other

  • Victorian tobacco pipes have been found, as seen in Time Team, with clay tobacco beetles imprinted for decoration but alas, only four limbs.
  • The mascot of the Fresno Bee newspaper is a four-legged bee.
  • The mascot of the New Orleans (formerly Charlotte) Hornets is a four-legged wasp.

Real Life

  • Members of the family Nymphalidae of butterflies, while having six legs, only use four of their legs.
  • Praying mantids, while they have six legs, stand on only four of them.

Decapod Examples

Animated Film

Video Games

  • The crab enemies from Bug!! have six legs and two claws. Just two legs shy of a proper crab.
  • The Krabby, Corphish, and Dwebble lines from Pokémon.

Western Animation

  • Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants, an example of a four-legged crab.
    • ... and Larry from the same show is an example of a four-legged lobster.
  • A crab from the Classic Disney Short "Hawaiian Holiday" has six legs like an insect.

Arachnid Examples

Toys

  • Bionicle: the Visorak swarm (barring a few types of Kahgaraks) and Fenrakk have 4 legs. Some of the before-mentioned Kahgaraks have 6 legs, as well as Fenrakk Spawn Spiders.

Video Games

  • The Pokémon Ariados and Galvantula are Giant Spiders with four legs each. Galvantula's unevolved form is a four-legged tick (still an arachnid).
    • Spinarak is slightly better, it's just shy 2 legs of being a real(-ish) spider...
  • Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 also featured spider enemies with four legs. Interestingly enough, one boss from the first game, Tarantox, has six legs.
  • The spiders in the Mickey Mouse game World of Illusion have six legs instead of eight.
  • Doom: the Spider Mastermind and her Arachnotrons all have two vestigial arms and four mechanical legs.
    • That said, they're just demons with "spider" in their name.
    • Doom 64 plays it straighter, giving them six mechanical legs but removing their vestigial arms.

Western Animation

  • The six-legged spider from the Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Worm Turns, who gets attacked by the test subject four-legged fly.
  • Most cartoon scorpions will often be drawn in a way that their pincers (actually modified pedipalps, or mouthparts) are actually now their front legs, with two of their actual legs being completely absent.
  • Spider from Word World has six legs and two antennae.

Other Examples

Film

  • Tuck and Roll, the isopods [pillbugs] from A Bugs Life, have eight legs.
    • Isopods are supposed to have 14 legs.

Video Games

  • Pokémon's Scolipede is simplified from the centipede's myriad of legs to just four.

Western Animation

  • Although by no means an insect, or even an arthropod, Squidward of SpongeBob SquarePants has six limbs when he should have eight or ten (if he's an octopus or a squid, respectively). Furthermore, his four legs work in pairs, so he walks as if on two legs.
  • An arguable cephalopod aversion would be Ursula from The Little Mermaid, who despite being half-octopus has six tentacles. She looks like an example until one realizes that six tentacles plus two arms equals eight limbs.

Extreme Cases

Video Games

  • Silithids (Huge hive-living bugs) in World of Warcraft all have four legs, or four legs and wings. Crabs also only have four legs. Oddly, many lizard type critters have six, moving in triangular two on one side, one on the other.
  • All the arthropods from the Pikmin series have four or fewer legs.
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