Eng. Abdulwahab Al-sayed

Insects existed a long time before dinasours… they might seem tiny, but there are more of them than all the other creatures put together. There are over one million known insects species, and they are so adaptable to the point that you can find them in every place on earth… even in the coldest and the hottest places.

Insects come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but they all have one similarity, and that is they all begin life as an egg. Scientists find thousands of new species every year and believes that millions of there new species are yet to be found.

Insects usually have six legs and a body divided into three parts and they are-head, thorax, and abdomen.

The body is encased in a very tough shell, which is called exoskeleton, so an insect doesn’t need any bines. Unlike bones, the exoskeleton does not grow, instead it is discarded and replaced with a new larger one every now and then. The exoskeleton, is made mainly of a substance called chitin, and consists of 20 or more rings. These may be fused together into a rigid shell, or hinged to make the body flexible.

An insects head is very different from that of any other animal and consists mainly of mouthparts eyes, and antennae. One of the major advantages that insects have among all the other living species is that they can feed in almost any thing, including other insects, blood, nectar, paper, wood, and even sweat.

The part called thorax exists in the middle of the insect and is backed with strong muscles that move the wings attached to the outside. It is important to mention that most of the adult insects have wings and can fly. Usually insects that can fly have two wings. However, some insects have four.

The abdomen holds all the insects digestive system and is sex organs. In the abdomen of many insects there is a special organ called ovipositor, thtough which can they inject eggs into soil, wood, seeds, and even the bodies of animals. The ovipositors of some insects such as wasps, bees, and ants, has developed into a poisonous.

Insects do not have lungs for breathing like mammals. Instead, They breath through holes in their sides called spiracles, which are linked to tiny air tubes called tracheae.

In other animals, oxygen from the air is carried around the body in the blood. On the other hand, the trachea takes the blood directly to where it is needed in the body of an insect. The blood that fills the body carries only food and may be green, red, yellow, or clear. The life cycle of insects is totally different from the one of mammals, and that is because mammals look much the same as when they are born. But when it comes to insects they may change so much to the point that you can’t recognize them as being the same creatures.

The world of insects is full of wonders, and here is some:

  1. An ant can lift 50 times its own weight like you lifting a lorry!
  2. A flea can jump 300 mm, like you jumping – 200 m in the air!
  3. The worlds smallest insect is the fairy fly, it is only 0.2 mm long.
  4. The worlds longest insect is the gaint stick insect of Indonesia, which grows up to 330 mm long.
  5. A queen termites body swells to 1000 times its original size when full of eggs.

Reference: Beatona MAgazine - Environment Public Authority - Issue No. 7