Insects (Class Insecta)
Insects are the dominant
life-form on earth. Millions may exist in a single acre of land. About
one million species have been described, and there may be as many as ten
times that many yet to be identified. Of all creatures on earth, insects
are the main consumers of plants. They also play a major role in the
breakdown of plant and animal material and constitute a major food
Spiders (Class Arachnida,
Arachnids may be easily
distinguished from insects by the fact that arachnids have eight legs
whereas insects have six. The chelicerae serve to macerate food
particles. The first post-oral pair of appendages, pedipalps (leg-like
mouthparts), of some species have been adapted for sensory, prey
Beetles and Weevils (Order Coleoptera)
The name Coleoptera, derived from the Greek words "koleos" meaning sheath and "ptera" meaning wings, refers to
the modified front wings which serve as protective covers for the membranous hind wings.
True flies, Mosquitoes and Gnats (Order Diptera)
The name Diptera, derived from the Greek words "di" meaning two and "ptera" meaning wings, refers to the fact
that true flies have only a single pair of wings.
True bugs (Order Hemiptera)
The name Hemiptera, derived from the Greek words "hemisys" meaning half and "ptera" meaning wings, refers to
the fact that many of its members have the basal half of the fore wings thicker than the distal half.
Bees, Wasps, Ants and Sawflies (Order Hymenoptera)
The name Hymenoptera is derived from the Greek words "hymen" meaning membrane and "ptera" meaning wings.
It is also a reference to Hymeno, the Greek god of marriage.
Butterflies and Moths (Order Lepidoptera)
The name Lepidoptera, derived from the Greek words "lepido" for scale and "ptera" for wings, refers to the
flattened hairs (scales) that cover the body and wings of most adults.
Dragonflies and Damselflies (Order Odonata)
The name Odonata, derived from the Greek "odonto-" meaning tooth, refers to the strong teeth found on the
mandibles of most adults.
Grasshoppers, Crickets and Katydids (Order Orthoptera)
The name Orthoptera, derived from the Greek "ortho" meaning straight and "ptera" meaning wing, refers to the
parallel-sided structure of the front wings (tegmina).
Spiders (Class Arachnida, Order Araneae)
From Greek myth; a girl (Arachne) turned into a spider by Athena for challenging the goddess to a weaving
contest. "Aranea" meaning "spider's web".