Bugs (Insects and Arachnids)
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The scientific name for what most of us consider bugs is arthropods. Arthropods include insects, spiders (called Arachnids), and crustaceans. Crustaceans don't usually count as "bugs". These include crabs, lobster, and shrimp. An arthropod is defined as an animal having a hard exoskeleton with joints and paired jointed legs.
There are more types of insects than any other type of animal on the planet. The main categories of insects are butterflies, moths, beetles, centipedes, flies, grasshoppers, and social insects. Insects tend to be small, but can vary in size from nearly invisible to over 7 inches long.
What makes an insect an insect?
- Insects all have a hard external covering made of something called chitin.
- Their bodies are made up of three sections called the head, the thorax, and abdomen.
- All insects will have a pair of antennae on their head.
- They all have six legs connected to the thorax (arachnids will have eight legs).
- Some insects have wings connected to the thorax and can fly.
Insect Body Sections
(Click picture to see larger view)
Insects are born from eggs. Young insects are called nymphs. As insects grow, they get a new hard outer covering by getting rid of the old covering and growing a new one. This process is called molting.
Social insects live in large groups and work together to survive and build their homes. Some examples are bees, ants, wasps, and termites.
The study of insects is called entomology.
There are over 100,000 species of arachnids. The word arachnid comes from a Greek word meaning spider. As a result, arachnids are commonly called spiders. However, there are some non-spider like bugs such as scorpions and ticks that are included in arachnids.
What makes an arachnid?
- They have two main body sections called the cephalothorax and the abdomen.
- They have eight legs.
- They have simple eyes versus the insect's compound eyes.
- Unlike insects they do not have antenna or wings.
- They have an exoskeleton and lay eggs.
1. 4 pairs of legs
Fun Facts About Insects
For more about insects:
- In a typical 1 square mile of forest or jungle, there are more insects than there are people on the entire planet.
- If you totaled the weight of all the ants in the world, they would weigh more than all the humans in the world combined.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to blondes more than brunettes and children more than adults.
- Snails can sleep for 3 years without eating.
- Some anteaters will eat up to 30,000 ants a day.
- The average life span of a house fly is about 14 days.
- There are more types of beetles than any other type of animal.
- Bees sometimes fly up to 60 miles in one day.
- Ants can carry up to 50 times their own weight. That means if you were an ant and you weighed 100 pounds, you would be able to carry a good size car around on your back!
Insects and Arachnids
Black Widow Spider
Yellow Jacket Wasp
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