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Part XIX : Colonizing and Populating Habitats :
Animal Life Cycles and Dispersal Index

Animal Life Cycles and Dispersal : Introduction
Moulting
Complete Metamorphosis
Incomplete Metamorphosis
Chapter Summary (useful for revision)
Questions relating to this chapter

Topic Chapters Index

 

 

Silver-studded blue butterfly © Paul Billiet

Silver-studded blue butterfly 

 

Bumble bee © Paul Billiet

Bumble bee

 

An ant hunting © Paul Billiet

An ant hunting

COLONIZING AND POPULATING HABITATS

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What is an Insect?

 

Colorado beetle © Paul Billiet

Colorado beetle 

 

Insects are invertebrates which belong to the phylum of animals called arthropods. There are more species of insects than any other class of living organism; an estimated 2000000 species of insect exist on the Earth today.

Arthropods are invertebrates which have an exoskeleton covering their bodies. This exoskeleton is jointed so that the legs and segments can move. As well as the insects there are four other classes of Arthropods: the arachnids (spiders, mites and scorpions), the crustaceans, the millipedes and the centipedes.

 

Drawing of a Butterfly from the side © Paul Billiet

                        Drawing of a Butterfly from above © Paul Billiet

 

Insects can be identified by the following characteristics:

  • Insects have three parts to their bodies, the head, the thorax and the abdomen.

  • Insects have three pairs of legs (note spiders have four pairs of legs).

  • Insects usually have two pairs of wings. Some primitive insects, however, are wingless, for example springtails.

 

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