What is Insects: Definition and 29 Discussions

Insects or Insecta (from Latin insectum) are pancrustacean hexapod invertebrates and the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Definitions and circumscriptions vary; usually, insects comprise a class within the Arthropoda. As used here, the term Insecta is synonymous with Ectognatha. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes and one pair of antennae. Insects are the most diverse group of animals; they include more than a million described species and represent more than half of all known living organisms. The total number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million; potentially over 90% of the animal life forms on Earth are insects. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species reside in the oceans, which are dominated by another arthropod group, crustaceans, which recent research has indicated insects are nested within.
Nearly all insects hatch from eggs. Insect growth is constrained by the inelastic exoskeleton and development involves a series of molts. The immature stages often differ from the adults in structure, habit and habitat, and can include a passive pupal stage in those groups that undergo four-stage metamorphosis. Insects that undergo three-stage metamorphosis lack a pupal stage and adults develop through a series of nymphal stages. The higher level relationship of the insects is unclear. Fossilized insects of enormous size have been found from the Paleozoic Era, including giant dragonflies with wingspans of 55 to 70 cm (22 to 28 in). The most diverse insect groups appear to have coevolved with flowering plants.
Adult insects typically move about by walking, flying, or sometimes swimming. As it allows for rapid yet stable movement, many insects adopt a tripedal gait in which they walk with their legs touching the ground in alternating triangles, composed of the front and rear on one side with the middle on the other side. Insects are the only invertebrates to have evolved flight, and all flying insects derive from one common ancestor. Many insects spend at least part of their lives under water, with larval adaptations that include gills, and some adult insects are aquatic and have adaptations for swimming. Some species, such as water striders, are capable of walking on the surface of water. Insects are mostly solitary, but some, such as certain bees, ants and termites, are social and live in large, well-organized colonies. Some insects, such as earwigs, show maternal care, guarding their eggs and young. Insects can communicate with each other in a variety of ways. Male moths can sense the pheromones of female moths over great distances. Other species communicate with sounds: crickets stridulate, or rub their wings together, to attract a mate and repel other males. Lampyrid beetles communicate with light.
Humans regard certain insects as pests, and attempt to control them using insecticides, and a host of other techniques. Some insects damage crops by feeding on sap, leaves, fruits, or wood. Some species are parasitic, and may vector diseases. Some insects perform complex ecological roles; blow-flies, for example, help consume carrion but also spread diseases. Insect pollinators are essential to the life cycle of many flowering plant species on which most organisms, including humans, are at least partly dependent; without them, the terrestrial portion of the biosphere would be devastated. Many insects are considered ecologically beneficial as predators and a few provide direct economic benefit. Silkworms produce silk and honey bees produce honey and both have been domesticated by humans. Insects are consumed as food in 80% of the world's nations, by people in roughly 3000 ethnic groups. Human activities also have effects on insect biodiversity.

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  1. S

    Is this egg-laying or something else?

    My apartment's balcony door is wide open more often than not. This time of year, that tends to mean that insects keep flying in and out. Most of them, or at least most of the ones that are large and/or loud enough for me to notice, are bee and wasp types. They behave quite differently from the...
  2. The Truth About Butterfly Metamorphosis (It's VERY WEIRD)

    The Truth About Butterfly Metamorphosis (It's VERY WEIRD)

  3. A

    How can vinegar attenuate the pain of a bee sting? (acid base reaction)

    Hello, I have been working on this subject but I am not sure how to deal with it. I am looking to prove how can vinegar attenuate the pain of a bee sting. I have chosen a specific vinegar that is of 6° and 50 ml and Know the molecular weight of acetic acid is 60g/mol. The bee sting contains...
  4. K

    Misc. Generating as much suction with as little weight as possible

    Hello all, as my final project to attain my bachelors, I have tasked myself with designing some sort of device to collect insects from the canopy of soybean plants that can be suspended under a UAS (quad copter/drone). What I am trying to do is essentially build some sort suction device. The...
  5. B

    What species does this insect belong to?

    I just found this insect and I don't know what is it. It seems to be the larva of a fly or maybe a little butterfly. I live in Spain so it is fall. What should I do with it?
  6. BillTre

    Stick Insects eggs Dispersed by Being Eaten

    Similar to how some plant seed get spread to non-local areas, a percentage ofthe eggs of stick insects can survive passage through a birds gut. Science magazine news blurb here.
  7. Sanborn Chase

    Longest Living Insects: 1947-Present

    I was born in 1947. Are any insects that were alive then still alive today?
  8. H

    Why do insects die so quickly when you trap them in a glass?

    When insects find their way into my home, I usually trap them in a glass & chuck 'em outside, opposed to squishing the poor buggers. However I sometimes forget, & when I return several hours later, to my dismay, they have croaked it. I don't understand. Shouldn't there be enough oxygen in a...
  9. wolram

    News Eating Insects: What's Your Limit?

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170608124706.htm I have tried chocolate ants but i draw the line at eating other insects.
  10. S

    Sex/≈gender of insects that reproduce only asexually

    Hello, everyone. I'm not sure if this counts as "homework", since it's just a random question I have, but I don't think the topic of this thread is "deep" enough to be in another forum category, so I hope I placed this in the right place. Having said that, I wanted to ask the following.: Are...
  11. V

    Do Insects Experience Emotions?

    Do creatures as tiny as flies feel sorrow, love, anger. Are their brains programmed to do most basic of tasks like finding food or do they exhibit some community behavior?
  12. T

    How many hertz can kill flying house insects?

    How many hertz can kill a flying house insects...
  13. J

    Can Tesla Coils Zap Mosquitoes in Flight?

    Will the high-voltage arc from a tesla coil zap flying insects like mosquitoes if they are close enough to it but are still airborne?
  14. K

    Do Insects Feel Pain? -The Facts

    Are insects capable of feeling pain?
  15. S

    Insects project in Mining explorations?

    Termite ,ants are among those insects which could be used for mining exploration ,what other Insects (or animals)you think could be used and why? http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211095007.htm Thanks
  16. nukeman

    How does the Circadian clock work in insects like flies?

    Hey all! I am having a hard time finding a few specific answers, so thought I would give you biology nutz a question :) A insect, more specifically, a fly...Can anyone explain the biological/chemical properties of a flies circadian clock? What governs a flies biological clock in terms of...
  17. D

    Do we swallow insects and spiders in our sleep?

    Is it true that we swallow insects and spiders when we're sleeping?
  18. wolram

    Surviving Water Droplets: Insects and Spiders

    How do they survive from being hit by (to them) huge water droplets. I just tried to wash a spider down the shower, and the little sod resisted my efforts and scampered away.
  19. I

    How Insects Walk on Water: Exploring the Science

  20. K

    Surface Tension and Insects

    A rare species of insect about 1.5mm in diameter floats fully submerged just beneath the surface of the water in lakes and ponds. When threatened, it responds to danger by exuding a noxious substance from its tail that changes the surface tension on the skin of its tail. As a result the...
  21. C

    Can we recreate the giant insects of the paleozoic era?

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-10/aps-gim100706.php" So, could we recreate these insects by selective breeding in high oxygen environment and/or using genetic manipulation techniques?
  22. T

    Horsehoe Bats, Insects, Speed and the Doppler Effect

    [SOLVED] Horsehoe Bats, Insects, Speed... and the Doppler Effect Homework Statement Horseshoe bats (genus Rhinolophus) emit sounds from their nostrils, then listen to the frequency of the sound reflected from their prey to determine the prey's speed. (The "horseshoe" that gives the bat its...
  23. Danger

    Do Insects Sleep? Answers to a Puzzling Question

    Yeah, I know that it's a weird question, but it's been bugging me (pardon the expression) all day. I've never actually seen one in the act. While I know that many tend to be inactive at night and during the winter, I've never heard or read anything to indicate that they're asleep rather than...
  24. F

    Speed of sound/Dectecting insects

    I've looked throughout my book for the formula, and I've looked online to see if there were similar problems so I could figure out how to do this, but I can't find anything. ** A bat can detect small objects, such as insects, whose size is approx. equal to one wavelength of the sound the bat...
  25. P

    Insect Bites: What to Do When You Get Bit

    Today is not very cool, it's hot. I went out with some of my friends to...look things. I went to a bush to see some strange flowers but when I got out, there are some black ant-like insects biting my arms. I went home and now looked again my arms, very very round red spots with black small...
  26. G

    Insects depend on vortices to keep them aloft

    "Insects depend on vortices to keep them aloft" As a kid, I remember learning that aerodynamics couldn't explain how bumblebees flew. Recently (2000), much light was shed on the subject (thread title quoted from link) : http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/March00/APS_Wang.hrs.html My...
  27. wasteofo2

    Why are insects attracted to feces?

    I'm sure everyone's seen some dog crap lying on the street and a bunch of flies swarming around it, why does this happen? Are they after some left-over organic materials in the feces, or do they have any use for the inorganic waste products in their metabolism?
  28. Evo

    Could Insects Be the Next Bioweapons?

    Could Insects Be Used as Bioweapons? April 8 — Sonny Ramaswamy is trying to walk a very fine line. He doesn't want to be seen as an alarmist, but he thinks people ought to know about the thought that keeps haunting him these days. Ramaswamy, who chairs the department of entomology at...
  29. Ivan Seeking

    Huge insects destroy 40 foot tree