A butterfly is any of several groups of mainly day-flying insects of the order Lepidoptera, the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, butterflies' life cycle consists of four parts, egg, larva, pupa and adult.
Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight.
Butterflies comprise the true butterflies superfamily Papilionoidea, the skippers superfamily Hesperioidea and the moth butterflies superfamily Hedyloidea; all the very many other families within the Lepidoptera are referred to as moths. Butterflies exhibit polymorphism, mimicry and aposematism. Some migrate over long distances.
Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. Butterflies are important economically as agents of pollination. In addition, a few species are pests, because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees.
It is a popular belief that butterflies have very short life spans. However, butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.
Butterflies may have one or more broods per year. The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions with tropical regions showing a trend towards multivoltinism.
Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila.
There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families,though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect pollinated flowering plants.
Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used as food for larvae.
Bees have a long proboscis a complex "tongue" that enables them to obtain the nectar from flowers. They have antennae almost universally made up of 13 segments in males and 12 in females, as is typical for the superfamily.
Bees all have two pairs of wings, the hind pair being the smaller of the two; in a very few species, one sex or caste has relatively short wings that make flight difficult or impossible, but none are wingless.
The best known bee species is the European honey bee, which, as its name suggests, produces honey, as do a few other types of bee. Human management of this species is known as beekeeping or apiculture.
The term wasp is typically defined as any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor ant. Almost every pest insect species has at least one wasp species that preys upon it or parasitizes it, making wasps critically important in natural control of their numbers, or natural biocontrol. Parasitic wasps are increasingly used in agricultural pest control as they prey mostly on pest insects and have little impact on crops.
The majority of wasp species is well over 100,000 species are "parasitic" technically known as parasitoids, and the ovipositor is used simply to lay eggs, often directly into the body of the host. The most familiar wasps belong to Aculeata, a division of Apocrita, whose ovipositors are adapted into a venomous sting, though a great many aculeate species do not sting.
Aculeata also contains ants and bees, and many wasps are commonly mistaken for bees, and vice versa. In a similar respect, insects called "velvet ants" the family Mutillidae are technically wasps.
A much narrower and simpler but popular definition of the term wasp is any member of the aculeate family Vespidae, which includes among others the genera known in North America as yellowjackets Vespula and Dolichovespula and hornets Vespa; in many countries outside of the Western Hemisphere, the vernacular usage of wasp is even further restricted to apply strictly to yellowjackets e.g., the "common wasp".
A dragonfly is a type of insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera. It is characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body.
Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Even though dragonflies possess 6 legs like any other insect, they are not capable of walking.
Dragonflies are valuable predators that eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, and butterflies. They are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic.
The larval stage of large dragonflies may last as long as five years. In smaller species, this stage may last between two months and three years. When the larva is ready to metamorphose into an adult, it climbs up a reed or other emergent plant. Exposure to air causes the larva to begin breathing.
The skin splits at a weak spot behind the head and the adult dragonfly crawls out of its old larval skin, pumps up its wings, and flies off to feed on midges and flies. In flight the adult dragonfly can propel itself in six directions; upward, downward, forward, back, and side to side. The adult stage of larger species of dragonfly can last as long as five or six months.
There are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth, with thousands of species yet to be described. Most species of moth are nocturnal, but there are crepuscular and diurnal species.
The rosy maple moth Dryocampa rubicunda is a North American moth in the Saturniidae family. Males have a wingspan of 32–44 mm; females of 40–50 mm. They have reddish to pink legs and antennae, yellow bodies and hindwings, and pink forewings with a triangular yellow band across the middle.
Males have bushier antennae than females. As the name implies, rosy maple moths mainly feed on Maples, particularly Red Maple, Silver Maple, and Sugar Maple. Sometimes these moths become pests on maple trees.
Females lay pale yellow eggs in clusters of 20-30 on the undersides of maple leaves. After about two weeks, small gregarious caterpillars hatch. They will remain gregarious through the third instar, but the final two are solitary. The mature larvae are light green with black lateral lines, red heads, and two filaments behind the head, and reach lengths of about 55 mm.
When they are ready, they climb to the bottom of the host tree and pupate in shallow underground chambers. The pupae are very dark, elongated, and have small spines. The pupa ends in a small forked point. When the imago (adult) ecloses, it has small wings which it has to pump full of fluid in order for them to expand and allow for flight. Adult moths are generally nocturnal; they preferentially fly throughout the first third of the night
The Pandora sphinx moth Eumorpha pandorus, also called the Pandorus Sphinx Moth is a North American moth in the Sphingidae family. It is a large, greenish gray moth with darker patches and pink edges and small pink eyespots.
The underside is usually pale yellow-green or brown. It has a wingspan of 3 1/4 - 4 1/2 inches (8.2 - 11.5 cm), females being slightly larger than males. Pandora sphinx moths fly during dusk. Some places see only one generation a year, while others see two.
Female adults lay translucent eggs singly on leaves of the host plant, mainly Vitis grapes, and Parthenocissus (Virginia creeper). Caterpillars are large, green or red with a swollen third thorax segment into which the head and first two thoractic segments can be drawn. The abdomen has a small white spot on the second segment, and big white oval spots the last five spiracles.
They also have the characteristic "horn" at the end of the abdomen, until it is replaced by a button in its last instar. Larvae consume copious amounts of foliage, and when they are ready they climb down their host plant and burrow underground, where they pupate. The pupa is dark brown in color, quite slender, and has a long cremaster.
Hemaris is a Holarctic genus of sphinx moths, consisting of about 17 species, four of which fly in North and South America. Their main host plants are herbs and shrubs of the Dipsacaceae Teasel and Caprifoliaceae Honeysuckle families. Moths in the Hemaris genus are collectively called Clearwing Moths or Hummingbird Moths in the US, and Bee Hawk Moths in Britain.
The larvae are small, cylindrical, and granulose. The granules often have small bristles. While most larvae are green and brown, many color forms exist. All have a distinctive pale dorso lateral longitudinal stripe from head to horn.
Pupae are enclosed in a loosely spun cocoon, and are glossy in most species. There is a prominent tubercle, or hook, alongside each eye. The cremaster is large, and flattened. The imagos, or adults, are small, diurnal moths that resemble bumblebees in shape.
They are often mistaken for hummingbirds, which is why their common name is hummingbird moths. The forewings have hyaline areas or are fully scaled. The species with hyaline areas are initially with covered scales, but these are shed during their first flight. The antennae are strongly clubbed in both sexes, with a small recurved hook at the end. The abdomen ends in a large fan tail of setae which resembles a lobster tail.
The Comet Moth Argema mittrei is an African moon moth, a large wild silk moth found only in the wild in certain parts of Madagascar but able to breed in captivity. In Madagascar are a few breeding areas and there are a few zoos that attempt breeding too. Some of them are quite successful.
The Madagascan Comet Moth is one of the world's biggest moth, the male has a wing span of twenty centimeters and a tail span of fifteen centimeters. As a Moth they only live for 4 to 5 days and they are only fertile the first day after getting out of the cocoon. The cocoon has holes in it to keep the future moth from drowning in its rainforest climate.
As a caterpillar they feed on eucalyptus leaves only fresh ones, which makes it harder to breed them in captivity and grow to a reasonable size before getting in the cocoon. They stay in there for about two to six months depending on the climate.
This particular type of moth only lives in Madagascar off the south coast of Africa. It is an endangered species.
The Giant Leopard Moth or Eyed Tiger Moth Hypercompe scribonia is a moth of the family Arctiidae. It is distributed throughout the Southern and Eastern United States from New England to Mexico. The obsolete name Ecpantheria scribonia is still occasionally encountered.
This species has a wingspan of 3 inches nearly 8 cm. The wings of this moth are bright white with a pattern of neat black blotches, some solid and some hollow. The abdomen is dark blue with orange markings, the male has a narrow yellow line on the sides. Its legs have black and white bands. Adult moths are rather strictly nocturnal and do not generally fly before nightfall.
The caterpillar is of the "Woolly Bear" kind, with a thick coat of black bristles setae and red bands between its segments which become conspicuous when caterpillar rolls into a ball for defense. It should not be touched, as its setae may break off and cause a rash.
The caterpillar eats a variety of broad leaf plants such as broadleaf plantains, dandelions and violets.
The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is a moth in the family Lymantriidae of Eurasian origin. Originally ranging from Europe to Asia, it was introduced to North America in the late 1860s and has been expanding its range ever since.
The forewing of the male moth is 20–24 mm long, and that of the female 31–35 mm. The brown male gypsy moth emerges first, flying in rapid zigzag patterns searching for females. The male gypsy moths are active throughout night and even daytime as well, unlike most moths, which are only nocturnal. When heavy, black and white egg laden females emerge, they emit a pheromone that attracts the males.
After mating, the female lays her eggs in July and August close to the spot where she pupated. Then, both adult gypsy moths die. The European and most Russian forms of the gypsy moth have flightless females. Although they have large wings, the musculature is not developed. However, the Japanese gypsy moth females do fly and are attracted to lights.
Gypsy moths at least of the introduced American population fly all day and night, with the possible exception of the late morning. They are most active soon after dusk and in the latter hours of the night.
The Madagascan sunset moth or simply sunset moth, Chrysiridia rhipheus, is a day flying moth of the Uraniidae family. It is considered to be one of the most impressive and beautiful Lepidoptera. Famous worldwide, it is featured in most coffee table books on the Lepidoptera and is much sought after by collectors.
It is very colourful, though the iridescent parts of the wings do not have pigment; rather the colours originate from optical interference. Adult moths have a wingspan of 7–9 centimetres (3–3½ in). The moth was considered to be a butterfly by Dru Drury, who described it in 1773 and placed it in the genus Papilio. Jacob Hübner placed it in the moth genus Chrysiridia in 1823. Later redescriptions led to junior synonyms such as Chrysiridia madagascariensis.
At first the moth was thought to be from China or Bengal,but was later found to be endemic to Madagascar. It is found throughout the year in most parts of the island, with peak populations between March and August, and smallest numbers between October and December. Females lay about 80 eggs under the leaves of Omphalea spp. The caterpillars are whitish yellow with black spots and red feet and are covered in club ended black setae. Silk spun from the mouth helps the caterpillars hold onto smooth leaves and climb back to the plant when they fall.
After completing four instars, the caterpillars spin an open network cocoon. The pupal stage lasts from 17 to 23 days. Chrysiridia rhipheus is the sole specialist herbivore of the four species of Omphalea in Madagascar. Omphalea is toxic: the toxins are sequestered by the feeding caterpillar and retained in the pupal and adult stages. Thousands of these moths migrate between the eastern and western ranges of their host plants.
True flies are insects of the order Diptera -di = two, and pteron = wing, possessing a single pair of wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax.
The presence of a single pair of wings distinguishes true flies from other insects with "fly" in their name, such as mayflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoneflies, whiteflies, fireflies, alderflies, dobsonflies, snakeflies, sawflies, caddisflies, butterflies or scorpionflies.
Some true flies have become secondarily wingless, especially in the superfamily Hippoboscoidea, or among those that are inquilines in social insect colonies. Diptera is a large order, containing an estimated 240,000 species of mosquitos, gnats, midges and others, although under half of these there are about 120,000 species have been described.
It is one of the major insect orders both in terms of ecological and human medical and economic importance. The Diptera, in particular the mosquitoes Culicidae, are of great importance as disease transmitters, acting as vectors for malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, yellow fever, encephalitis and other infectious diseases.
Beetles are the group of insects with the largest number of known species. They are classified in the order Coleoptera which contains more described species than in any other order in the animal kingdom, constituting about 25% of all known life forms.
Pentatomoidea is a superfamily of insects in the Heteroptera suborder of the Hemiptera order and, as such, share a common arrangement of sucking mouthparts. They are commonly referred to as shield bugs or stink bugs.
Shield bugs have glands in their thorax between the first and second pair of legs which produce a foul smelling liquid. This liquid is used defensively to deter potential predators and is sometimes released when the bugs are handled carelessly.
The nymphs, similar to adults except smaller and without wings, also have stink glands. The nymphs and adults have piercing mouthparts which most use to suck sap from plants, although some eat other insects. When they group in large numbers they can become significant pests.
Other species that resemble Pentatomoidea insects are found in the Coreoidea superfamily. Stinkbugs normally appear during the spring and summer months.
The Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle or Six-spotted Green Beetle Cicindela sexguttata is a common North American species of beetle in the Carabidae family.
They are commonly found in the deciduous forests in between the Minnesota and Ontario and south to Kentucky, and are easily recognizable by their large, white, overlapping mandibles. The imago (adult) is 12–14 mm in length, with long legs. The large white mandibles, give these attractive insects a ferocious appearance. Although they are strong enough to subdue their prey, they do not bite humans unless handled.
Both the common name and the species name refer to the number of small white spots on the beetle's metallic-green to metallic-blue elytra, usually numbering six. This is not always true, however, as some individuals have fewer spots, or none at all. Six-spotted Tiger Beetles live in woody places, and they like shady openings such as dirt paths and fallen logs to hunt caterpillars, ants, spiders, and many other kinds of arthropods.
This species is not gregarious, but sometimes many beetles may be seen in one fallen log. The females lay eggs in sandy patches, and the larvae burrow into the ground when they hatch. Here they lie in wait until small arthropods walk by, where then the larvae pounce much like jack in the boxes. The beetles stay in larvae form for one year before pupating. The beetle has a total lifespan of just under 5 years.
Trogodendron fasciculatum or the Yellowhorned Clerid is a small beetle of the Family Cleridae checkered beetles. The Yellowhorned Clerid is native to Australia and feeds on other insects.
Cleridae can be found in the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and even in Australia. There are approximately 3,500 species in the world and about 500 species in North America. Due to this wide distribution there are many different habitats in which the checkered beetles can be found.
Stag beetles are a group of about 1,200 species of beetle in the family Lucanidae, presently classified in four subfamilies Some species grow up to over 12 cm (4.8 in), but most are about 5 cm (2 in). The English name is derived from the large and distinctive mandibles found on the males of most species, which resemble the antlers of stags. A well known species in much of Europe is Lucanus cervus, referred to in the United Kingdom as "the" stag beetle it is the largest terrestrial insect in the UK.
Pliny the Elder noted that Nigidius called the stag beetle lucanus after the Italian region of Lucania where they were used as amulets. The scientific name of Lucanus cervus is this word, plus cervus, deer. Male stag beetles use their jaws to wrestle each other for favoured mating sites in a manner that parallels the way stags fight over females. Fights may also be over food, such as tree sap and decaying fruits.
The larvae feed for several years on rotting deciduous wood, growing through 3 larval stages until eventually pupating inside a pupal cell constructed from surrounding wood pieces and soil particles. In the final larval stage, "L3", the grubs of larger species, such as Prosopocoilus giraffa, may be the size of a human finger.
Eudicella gralli, sometimes called the flamboyant flower beetle or striped love beetle, is a brightly colored member of the scarab beetle family, in the subfamily known as flower beetles. Their shells seem to have a prismatic quality, refracting the ambient light to give the green of their carapace a rainbow tint.
This species of flower beetle lives in the rainforests of Africa, where it feeds on the nectar and pollen of flowers, but is popular in the exotic pet trade. The larvae of the flower beetle live in decaying wood, feeding on dead wood and leaf litter.
Adults reach lengths of 25-40 mm. As in other species of this genus, the males have a "Y"-shaped horn, used to fight over females. The females have a shovel-like tusk, used for burrowing in wood.
Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds UK, Ireland, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, ladybugs North America, or lady beetles preferred by some scientists. Lesser used names include ladyclock, lady cow, and lady fly.
They are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. A very large number of species are mostly or entirely black, grey, or brown and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as coccinellids and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken as such, like tortoise beetles.
Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described, more than 450 native to North America alone. A few species are pests in North America and Europe, but they are generally considered useful insects as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places.
The Mall of America, for instance, releases thousands of ladybugs into its indoor park as a natural means of pest control for its gardens. A common myth is that the number of spots on its back indicates its age.
The cockchafer colloquially called may bug, billy witch, or spang beetle, particularly in East Anglia is a European beetle of the genus Melolontha, in the family Scarabaeidae.
Once abundant throughout Europe and a major pest in the periodical years of "mass flight", it had been nearly eradicated in the middle of the 20th century through extensive use of pesticides and has even been locally exterminated in many regions. However, since an increase in regulation of pest control beginning in the 1980s, its numbers have started to grow again.
Adults of the common cockchafer reach sizes of 25–30 mm; the forest cockchafer is a bit smaller 20–25 mm. The two species can best be distinguished by the form of their pygidium the back end: it is long and slender in the common cockchafer, but shorter and knob-shaped at the end in the forest cockchafer. Both have a brown colour.
The tiger beetles are a large group of beetles known for their predatory habits. Some tiger beetles can run at a speed of 8 km/h (5 mph). For its size it has been suggested that they are technically the fastest running land animals.
Tiger beetles often have large bulging eyes, long, slender legs and large curved mandibles. All are predatory, both as adults and as larvae. The genus Cicindela has a cosmopolitan distribution. Other well known genera include Tetracha, Omus, Amblycheila and Manticora.
Cockroaches or simply "roaches" are insects of the order Blattaria. The name derives from the Greek and Latin names for the insects.
There are about 4,000 species of cockroach, of which 30 species are associated with human habitations and about four species are well known as pests.
Among the best-known pest species are the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, which is about 30 millimetres (1.2 in) long, the German cockroach, Blattella germanica, about 15 millimetres (0.59 in) long, the Asian cockroach, Blattella asahinai, also about 15 millimetres (0.59 in) in length, and the Oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis, about 25 millimetres (0.98 in).
Tropical cockroaches are often much bigger, and extinct cockroach relatives such as the Carboniferous Archimylacris and the Permian Apthoroblattina were several times as large as these.
Cockroaches live in a wide range of environments around the world. Pest species of cockroaches adapt readily to a variety of environments, but prefer warm conditions found within buildings. Many tropical species prefer even warmer environments and do not fare well in the average household. The spines on the legs were earlier considered to be sensory, but observations of their locomotion on sand and wire meshes have demonstrated that they help in locomotion on difficult terrain. The structures have been used as inspiration for robotic legs.
Cockroaches leave chemical trails in their feces as well as emitting airborne pheromones for swarming and mating. Other cockroaches will follow these trails to discover sources of food and water, and also discover where other cockroaches are hiding. Thus, cockroaches can exhibit emergent behavior, in which group or swarm behavior emerges from a simple set of individual interactions.
Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal and will run away when exposed to light. A peculiar exception is the Asian cockroach, which is attracted to light. Another study tested the hypothesis that cockroaches use just two pieces of information to decide where to go under those conditions: how dark it is and how many other cockroaches there are.
Mantodea or mantises is an order of insects that contains approximately 2,200 species in 9 families worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. Most of the species are in the family Mantidae. Historically, the term "mantid" was used to refer to any member of the order because for most of the past century, only one family was recognized within the order; technically, however, the term only refers to this one family,
Meaning the species in the other eight recently established families are not mantids, by definition (i.e., they are empusids, or hymenopodids, etc.), and the term "mantises" should be used when referring to the entire order. A colloquial name for the order is "praying mantises", because of the typical "prayer-like" stance, although the term is often misspelled as "preying mantis" since mantises are predatory.
In Europe, the name "praying mantis" refers to Mantis religiosa. The closest relatives of mantises are the orders Isoptera termites and Blattodea cockroaches, and these three groups together are sometimes ranked as an order rather than a superorder. They are sometimes confused with phasmids stick/leaf insects and other elongated insects such as grasshoppers and crickets.
Mantises are exclusively predatory. Insects form the primary diet, but larger species have been known to prey on small lizards, frogs, birds, snakes, and even rodents; they will prey upon any species small enough to successfully capture and devour.
Most species of mantis are known to engage in cannibalism. The majority of mantises are ambush predators, waiting for prey to stray too near. The mantis then lashes out at remarkable speed. Some ground and bark species, however, pursue their prey rather quickly. Prey items are caught and held securely with grasping, spiked forelegs.
The Phasmatodea sometimes called Phasmida are an order of insects, whose members are variously known as stick insects (in Europe and Australasia), walking sticks or stick bugs in the United States, phasmids, ghost insects and leaf insects generally the family Phylliidae.
The ordinal name is derived from the Ancient Greek phasma, meaning an apparition or phantom, and refers to the resemblance of many species to sticks or leaves. Their natural camouflage can make them extremely difficult to spot.
Phasmids can be relatively large, elongated insects. Some have cylindrical stick-like bodies, while others have a flattened, leaflike, shape. The body is often further modified to resemble vegetation, with ridges resembling leaf veins, bark-like tubercles, and other forms of camouflage. A few species, such as Carausius morosus, are even able to change their pigmentation to match their surroundings.
Many species are wingless, or have reduced wings. The mouthparts project out from the head, and include typical chewing mandibles. All phasmids possess compound eyes, but ocelli are only found in some winged males. The thorax is long in the winged species, where it includes the flight muscles, but is typically much shorter in the wingless forms.
The family Phylliidae often misspelled Phyllidae contains the extant true leaf insects or walking leaves, which include some of the most remarkable leaf mimics in the entire animal kingdom. They occur from South Asia through Southeast Asia to Australia. At present, there seems to be no consensus as to the preferred classification of this group; some sources treat Phylliidae as a much larger taxon, containing the members of what are presently considered to be several different families. It is used here in its most restricted sense.
A 47 million year old fossil of Eophyllium messelensis, a prehistoric ancestor of Phylliidae, displays many of the same characteristics of modern leaf insects, indicating that this family has changed little over time. Leaf insects use camouflage to take on the appearance of a leaf. They do this so accurately that predators often aren't able to distinguish them from real leaves.
In some species the edge of the leaf insect's body even has the appearance of bite marks. To further confuse predators, when the leaf insect walks, it rocks back and forth, to mimic a real leaf being blown by the wind. The scholar Antonio Pigafetta may have been the first to document the creature. Sailing with Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigational expedition, he studied and chronicled the fauna on the island of Cimbonbon as the fleet hauled ashore for repairs. During this time he documented the Phyllium species with the following passage.
In this island are also found certain trees, the leaves of which, when they fall, are animated, and walk. They are like the leaves of the mulberry tree, but not so long; they have the leaf stalk short and pointed, and near the leaf stalk they have on each side two feet.
If they are touched they escape, but if crushed they do not give out blood. I kept one for nine days in a box. When I opened it the leaf went round the box. I believe they live upon air.
Caterpillars are the larval form of a member of the orderLepidoptera the insect order comprising butterflies and moths. They are mostly phytophagous in food habit, with some species being entomophagous.
Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered pests in agriculture. Many moth species are better known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce.
The etymological origins of the word are from the early 1500s, from Middle English catirpel, catirpeller, probably an alteration of Old North French catepelose: cate, cat from Latin cattus pelose, hairy from Latin pilōsus.
Most caterpillars have tubular, segmented bodies. They have three pairs of true legs on the three thoracic segments, up to four pairs of prolegs on the middle segments of the abdomen, and often a single pair of prolegs on the last abdominal segment. There are ten abdominal segments. The families of lepidoptera differ in the numbers and positioning of the prolegs.
Some caterpillars are fuzzy which means they have hair and they are most likely to cause itching of the hands if touched Caterpillars grow through a series of moults; each intermediate stage is called an instar. The last moult takes them into the inactive pupal or chrysalis stage. Like all insects, caterpillars breathe through a series of small openings along the sides of their thorax and abdomen called spiracles.
These branch into the body cavity into a network of tracheae. A few caterpillars of the family Pyralidae are aquatic and have gills that let them breathe underwater. Caterpillars have about 4,000 muscles compare humans, with 629. They move through contraction of the muscles in the rear segments pushing the blood forward into the front segments elongating the torso. The average caterpillar has 248 muscles in the head segment alone.
Caterpillars do not have good vision. They have a series of six tiny eyelets or 'stemmata' on each side of the lower portion of their head. These can probably form well focused, but poorly resolved images, They move their heads from side to side probably as a means of judging distance of objects, particularly plants. They rely on their short antennae to help them locate food.
Some caterpillars are able to detect vibrations, usually at a specific frequency. Caterpillars of the common hook tip moth, Drepana arcuata Drepanoidea produce sounds to defend their silk nests from members of their own species, by scraping against the leaf in a ritualized acoustic duel. They detect the vibrations conducted by the plant and not airborne sounds.
Similarly, cherry leaf rollers Caloptilia serotinella defend their rolls. Tent caterpillars can also detect vibrations at the frequency of wing beats of one of their natural enemies.
Centipedes from Latin prefix centi-, "hundred", and Latin pes, pedis, "foot" are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda and the Subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metameric animals with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs from under 20 to over 300. All centipedes (discounting individual mutants) always have an odd number of pairs of legs, e.g. 15 or 17 pairs of legs -30 or 34 legs but never 16 pairs ,32 legs.
A key trait uniting this group is a pair of venom claws or forcipules formed from a modified first appendage. This also means that centipedes are an exclusively predatory taxon, which is uncommon. Centipedes normally have a drab coloration combining shades of brown and red. Cavernicolous and subterranean species may lack pigmentation and many tropical Scolopendromorphs have bright aposematic colors.
Size can range from a few millimeters in the smaller Lithobiomorphs and Geophilomorphs to about 30 cm in the largest Scolopendromorphs. Centipedes can be found in a wide variety of environments. Worldwide there are estimated to be 8,000 species. Currently there are about 3,000 described species. Geographically, centipedes have a wide range, which reaches beyond the Arctic Circle. Centipedes are found in an array of terrestrial habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts.
Within these habitats centipedes require a moist micro habitat because they lack the waxy cuticle of insects and arachnids, and so lose water rapidly through the skin. Accordingly, they are found in soil and leaf litter, under stones and deadwood, and inside logs. In addition, centipedes are one of the largest terrestrial invertebrate predators and often they contribute a significant proportion to invertebrate predatory biomass in terrestrial ecosystems.
Millipedes are arthropods that have two pairs of legs per segment except for the first segment behind the head which does not have any appendages at all, and the next few which only have one pair of legs. Each segment that has two pairs of legs is a result of two single segments fused together as one. Most millipedes have very elongated cylindrical bodies, although some are flattened dorso-ventrally, while pill millipedes are shorter and can roll into a ball, like a pillbug.
The name "millipede" is a compound word formed from the Latin roots milli "thousand" and ped "foot". Despite their name, millipedes do not have 1,000 legs, although the rare species Illacme plenipes has up to 750. Common species have between 36 and 400 legs. The class contains around 10,000 species in 13 orders and 115 families. The giant African millipede Archispirostreptus gigas, known as shongololos, is the largest species of millipede.
Millipedes are detritivores and slow moving. Most millipedes eat decaying leaves and other dead plant matter, moisturising the food with secretions and then scraping it in with the jaws. However they can also be a minor garden pest, especially in greenhouses where they can cause severe damage to emergent seedlings. Signs of millipede damage include the stripping of the outer layers of a young plant stem and irregular damage to leaves and plant apices.
Millipedes can be easily distinguished from the somewhat similar and related centipedes Class Chilopoda, which move rapidly, and have a single pair of legs for each body segment. Unlike centipedes however, millipedes are by nature not predators, and due to their slow, non aggressive behaviour and simple diet of decomposing leaves, are easy to keep and ideal as pets.
The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as short horned grasshoppers. Species that change colour and behaviour at high population densities are called locusts.
Crickets, family Gryllidae also known as "true crickets", are insects somewhat related to grasshoppers and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets family Tettigoniidae. They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae.
There are about 900 species of crickets. They tend to be nocturnal and are often confused with grasshoppers because they have a similar body structure including jumping hind legs.
Crickets are known to carry a large number of diseases, most of which cause painful sores but are not fatal to humans. Disease can be spread through their feces, bite, or physical contact.
Only the male crickets chirp. A large vein running along the bottom of each wing has "teeth," much like a comb does. The chirping sound is created by running the top of one wing along the teeth at the bottom of the other wing. As he does this, the cricket also holds the wings up and open, so that the wing membranes can act as acoustical sails. It is a popular myth that the cricket chirps by rubbing its legs together.
Locust is the swarming phase of short horned grasshoppers of the family Acrididae. The origin and apparent extinction of certain species of locust some of which reached 6 inches or 15 cm in length are unclear.
These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory. They form bands as nymphs and swarms as adults both of which can travel great distances, rapidly stripping fields and greatly damaging crops.
Though the female and the male look alike, they can be distinguished by looking at the end of their abdomen. The male has a boat-shaped tip while the female has two serrated valves that can be either apart or kept together. These valves aid in the digging of the hole in which an egg pod is deposited. Desert locusts can measure roughly 75mm (3 inches) in length.
In addition, a number of "grasshopper" species such as the Senegalese grasshopper Oedaleus senegalensis, and the rice grasshopper Hieroglyphus daganensis both from the Sahel, often display locust like behaviour and change morphologically on crowding.
Locusts are used as models in many fields of biology, especially in the field of olfactory, visual and locomotor neurophysiology. It is one of the organisms for which scientists have obtained detailed data on information processing in the olfactory pathway of organisms. It is suitable for the above purposes because of the robustness of the preparation for electrophysiological experiments and ease of growing them.
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae, and along with the related wasps and bees, they belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp like ancestors in the mid Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 species are classified and the upper estimates of species is about 22,000. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node like structure that forms a slender waist.
Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. These larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of "workers", "soldiers", or other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" and one or more fertile females called "queens".
The colonies are sometimes described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony. Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and certain remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems, and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass.
Their success has been attributed to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co evolution with other species has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships. Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study.
Many human cultures make use of ants in cuisine, medication and rituals. Some species are valued in their role as biological pest control agents. However, their ability to exploit resources brings ants into conflict with humans, as they can damage crops and invade buildings. Some species, such as the red imported fire ant, are regarded as invasive species, since they have established themselves in new areas where they have been accidentally introduced.
Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida. There are about 2,000 species of scorpions, found widely distributed south of about 49° N, except New Zealand and Antarctica.
The northernmost part of the world where scorpions live in the wild is Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in the UK, where a small colony of Euscorpius flavicaudis has been resident since the 1860s. The word scorpion derives from Greek σκορπιός – skorpios.
The body of a scorpion is divided into two parts the cephalothorax also called the prosoma and the abdomen opisthosoma. The abdomen consists of the mesosoma and the metasoma.
The cephalothorax, also called the prosoma, is the scorpion's “head”, comprising the carapace, eyes, chelicerae mouth parts, pedipalps claws and four pairs of walking legs. The scorpion's exoskeleton is thick and durable, providing good protection from predators.
Scorpions have two eyes on the top of the head, and usually two to five pairs of eyes along the front corners of the head. The position of the eyes on the head depends in part on the hardness or softness of the soil upon which they spend their lives.
The body structure of a spider is similar to that of other arachnids in being divided into an anterior cephalothorax, or prosoma, and a posterior abdomen, or opisthosoma. The two parts are separated by a narrow stalk, or pedicel, which gives the animal a flexibility that facilitates its use of silk. The cephalothorax ordinarily bears four pairs of simple eyes that tend to be larger in hunting spiders and smaller in spinners of elaborate webs. Each of the first pair of appendages, or chelicerae, bears a fang with an opening from a poison gland at the tip.
prey mainly by touch or vision.
The latter are mainly the black widow spider and its close relatives, which are nonaggressive and bite humans only in defense. Their painful bite is followed by faintness, difficulty in breathing, and other symptoms; although the bite is seldom fatal, especially if it is inflicted on healthy adults, medical attention for it should be sought at once.
The Pholcidae are a spider family in the suborder Araneomorphae. Some species, especially Pholcus phalangioides, are commonly called granddaddy long-legs spider, daddy long legs spider, daddy long legger, cellar spider, vibrating spider, or house spider.
Confusion often arises because the name "daddy long legs" is also applied to two distantly related arthropod groups: the harvestmen which are arachnids but not spiders, and crane flies which are insects.
Pholcids are fragile spiders, the body being 2–10 mm in length with legs which may be up to 50 mm long. Pholcus and Smeringopus have cylindrical abdomens and the eyes are arranged in two lateral groups of three and two smaller median contiguous eyes. Eight and six eyes both occur in this family.
Spermophora has a small globose abdomen and its eyes are arranged in two groups of three and no median eyes. Pholcids are gray to brown with banding or chevron markings. The shape of the Pholcus and Smeringopus's body resembles that of a peanut shell.
Pholcids are web-weaving spiders and are distributed worldwide. They hang inverted in messy, irregular, tangled webs. These webs are constructed in dark and damp recesses, in caves, under rocks and loose bark, abandoned mammal burrows in undisturbed areas in buildings and cellars, hence the common name "cellar spiders". However, Pholcids are also quite commonly found in warm, dry places, such as household windows and attics.
Latrodectus hesperus, the Western black widow spider or Western widow, is a highly venomous spider species found in western regions of the United States of America. The female's body is 14–16 millimeters in length and is black, often with an hourglass shaped red mark on the lower abdomen.
The male of the species is around half this size and generally a tan color with lighter striping on the abdomen. The population was previously described as a subspecies of Latrodectus mactans and it is closely related to the northern species Latrodectus variolus.
The species, as with others of the genus, build irregular webs, the strands of which are very strong. The female's consumption of the male after courtship, a cannabilistic and suicidal behaviour observed in Latrodectus hasseltii Australia's redback, is rare in this species. Male Western widows may breed several times during its relatively shorter lifespan.
The ultimate strength and other physical properties of Latrodectus hesperus silk were found to be similar to the properties of silk from orb weaving spiders that had been tested in other studies.
The ultimate strength for the three kinds of silk measured in the Blackledge study was about 1000 MPa. The ultimate strength reported in a previous study for Nephila edulis was 1290 MPa ± 160 MPa.