10 Animals That Look Like Monsters

Assassin Bug
That's a rather gnarly backpack, assassin bug. Up Close With Nature/Getty Images

Some critters are born with looks that horrify, others have to accessorize. Take Acanthaspis petax, one of the 7,000 known assassin bugs, which takes trophy collecting to a whole new level by decorating its spiny body with the corpses of its prey. Piles of them. Do they do this to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies? Actually, quite the opposite: They use the masking scent of the bodies to hide them from detection and, in some cases — as with termites, which clean their nests of their dead and so respond to the scent of termite corpses — to actually lure additional prey to their doom [sources: Simon; Stromberg].

Beneath their horrific haberdashery, these accessorizing assassins come with their own monstrous qualities as well, including a cactus-esque assemblage of bodily spines and a long, hardened mouthpart called a rostrum. The latter is used to pierce the exoskeleton of its meal, so that the bug can inject a paralytic and a toxin that turns the insect's innards into a slurpable smoothie. It then brings its maxillae into play and gulps away [sources: Simon; Stromberg]. Ah, delicious deception.