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Some "bytes" of information about insects. Don't worry, you won't itch!!
Over eighty percent of the living creatures on our Earth are INSECTS!
There are over a million known insects and scientists think that there may be millions more that have not been identified yet.
About seven thousand new insects are discovered each year.
Insects are found all over the Earth in virtually all environments. Insects are found in the cold Arctic and Antarctic regions to the steamy jungles and in the arid, hot deserts; in water and in mines below the surface of the Earth.
Insects are an important part of the life cycle of our planet. They provide us with silk, honey, lacquer, wax and some medicines. They are responsible for pollination. They dispose of dead animal and plant material. They are a food source in the food chain. However, some insects are not so beneficial. Causing damage to food crops, livestock, homes, household goods, and acting as carriers of disease are the negative ways some insects impact our lives.
Insects belong to the phylum ARTHROPODS. These are animals with jointed legs, segmented bodies, and no backbones. Spiders, ticks, mites, and scorpions also belong to this group. However, they are different. Insects have six legs and three body parts. Arachnids have eight legs and two body parts.
The term BUGS should not be used in place of the word INSECTS because a BUG is actually a specific type of insect that has long, tube-like mouth parts that can pierce and suck like a straw. (Order Hemiptera: water striders, lace bugs, stink bugs, bed bugs, assassin bugs, to name a few.)
Insect body parts consist of the head, thorax, and abdomen. The head contains the brain, antennae, mouth, and eyes. The thorax consists of the wings, legs, and the muscle system that provides the insect with movement. The abdomen is where the pumping organ, digestive and reproductive systems, and breathing tubes, called spiracles, are found.
Insects do not have bones inside their bodies as we do. They have an EXOSKELETON--a skeleton on the outside that gives them their shape. Chitin is part of the tough material that covers their bodies--and gives them their crunch when they're stepped on!
Insects are generally short-lived creatures--a year, a season, some even live as little as a day.
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