Insects have gotten a bad
name for the most part – mosquitoes bite, ants and flies ruin picnics
and many bugs eat the same things that we do. But without insects
our lives would be very different. Insects help us by pollinating
our fruit trees, our vegetables, and the flowers in our yards. Can
you imagine what it would be like without fruits and vegetables or
flowers? Without insects we couldn’t survive!
Did you know there are
more insects in more places on the planet than any other living creature?
No one knows for sure how many different kinds of insects there are,
but scientists think there are at least 3 MILLION insect species in
the world! And they can be found just about everywhere on earth –
even in the coldest and hottest areas of our planet! Let’s face it
– Insects Rule the Earth!
In order for us to understand
all the different living things on earth we classify living organisms
into groups and then subdivide those groups into categories. There
are four main groups for all living things: Viruses, Bacteria, Plants
and Animals. Insects are part of the ANIMAL kingdom and are known
as invertebrates, which means they don't have a skeleton inside their
body. Instead they have "armor" or an exoskeleton on the
Instead of growing a little
at a time like we do, insects grow in big spurts by shedding their
skin. Insects usually shed four or five times before they become an
adult and quit growing. We call the series of change from egg to adult
– metamorphosis. The best known example of metamorphosis is probably
the butterfly in which there are four stages of growth: egg, larva
(caterpillar), pupa (cocoon) and finally adult.
Although insects come in
all different shapes and sizes they all share certain features. Adult
insects all have bodies made up of three body segments (head, thorax,
and abdomen), six legs (three pairs), and a pair of antennae. Most
adult insects also have wings.
Although we call insects
bugs, not all insects are bugs! A "true" bug is a type of
insect that has both piercing and sucking mouthparts. True bugs include
water boatman, backswimmers, water striders, plant bugs, bed bugs,
assassin bugs, and stink bugs.
Because there are so many
types of insects, it is usually not hard to find them!
- Walking around your yard or nearby
field look for ants, bees, butterflies, wasps, spiders, beetles,
grasshoppers and flies.
- Look for insects on plants! Many
insects eat plants so this is a good place to begin looking for
insects! You can find ants, aphids, butterflies, grasshoppers,
praying mantids, beetles and spiders living among plants.
- Near Streams and ponds look for
mayflies, dragonflies, water striders, mosquitoes, beetles, and
Because insects are so
abundant it is usually not too hard to find them! For more information
on the study of insects – check out our Insect