Portal:Insects

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The Insects Portal

Anthidium February 2008-1.jpg

Insects (from Latin insectum, a calque of Greek ἔντομον [éntomon], “cut into sections”) are a class within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae. They are among the most diverse group of animals on the planet and include more than a million described species and represent more than half of all known living organisms. The number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million, and potentially represent over 90% of the differing metazoan life forms on Earth. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species occur in the oceans, a habitat dominated by another arthropod group, the crustaceans.

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Annotated photo of a butterfly
The external morphology of Lepidoptera is the physiological structure of the bodies of insects belonging to the order Lepidoptera, also known as butterflies and moths. Lepidoptera are distinguished from other orders principally by the presence of scales on the external parts of the body and appendages, especially the wings. Butterflies and moths vary in size from microlepidoptera only a few millimetres long, to conspicuous animals with a wingspan of many inches, such as the Monarch butterfly and Atlas moth.

The larvae – caterpillars – have a toughened (sclerotised) head capsule, chewing mouthparts, and a soft body, that may have hair-like or other projections, 3 pairs of true legs, and up to 5 pairs of prolegs.

Adults have a hardened exoskeleton, except for the abdomen which is less sclerotised. Their mouthparts include a prominent proboscis formed from maxillary galeae, and are adapted for sucking nectar. They have two immobile, multi-faceted compound eyes, and only two simple eyes or ocelli. Antennae are prominent and besides the faculty of smell, act as olfactory radar, and also aid navigation, orientation and balance during flight.

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Panorpa alpina 2 Luc Viatour.jpg
Cscr-featured.svg Credit: Luc Viatour

Panorpa communis, the common scorpionfly (Mecoptera: Panorpidae), is a species of scorpionfly native to Western Europe.

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