What is an Insect ?
– a very small animal or creature with amazing and wonderful characteristics
– termed as invertebrates (they have no backbones)
– classified as Arthropods.
What is this Arthropod you say ?
well, arthropods have the following distinction:
i) a hard outer skin
ii) bilateral symmetry (half of their body is a mirror of the other half)
iii) their body are segmented with paired limbs
Insects are present virtually everywhere; in the soil, in the air, in water/sea and on the bodies of plants and animals (including our own bodies!) :)
They are so small and often meaningless for so many of us, that we fail to recognise their true value. We are also unaware of the wide array of existing insects species.
The number of insects during the recent years have been growing outstandingly.
According to an article in Scientific American, enomologists estimate that there are more than 8 million species of insects. Can you imagine this!?
Further, based on some scientific investigations and comparisons, it have been reported that insects out-populate other life forms in the animal kingdom (like mammmals, fungi, etc..) to a very large extent. (i guess you will say “unbelievable”, :) )
Example of Insects:
– butterflies, ants, cockroaches, beetles, diplurans, flies, bugs, bees, wasps, spiders, snails, lobsters, crabs, starfish, prawns, dragon fly, etc.. too too many
Some classes of Insects:
– Arachnida (like spiders..)
– Crustacea (crabs..)
– Chilapoda (centipedes..)
– Diplopoda (millipedes..)
Benefits of Insects:
1) Aerate the soil, decompose dead materials/bodies to boost nutrients and hence keeping soil fertile.
2) A source of food.
– Honeybee provide the unique and very precious honey.
– Some people feed on insects too, like grasshopper, prawns..etc
3) Used to make silk (important economically)
4) Pollinate crops and flowers.
– fruit production on a large scale depends solely on cross-pollination by insects.
– No insect = no pollination = no flowers, trees or forests = no source of medecine = affects animal kingdom, ecological balance and the Earth!
5) A recycling agent for waste.
– the famous dung beetle
6) Form part of almost every food chain, either directly or indirectly
– countless animals (birds, reptiles, mammals..etc) depend on insects as their primary source of food.
7) Many insects are natural enemies of pests.
– regulate presence of weeds, pest affecting plants
– a plant with no presence of insect in its environment = weed
8 ) Build precious and stunning coral reefs in oceans
9) so many more.. ;)
Special Traits of certain Insects:
– Some moths can hear ultrasonic squeaks of bats
– feathery antennae of moths are covered with short stiff hairs that can feel chemicals, temperature and humidity
– Insects can even live in very cold artic and antarctic regions.
Example of such an insect is the wooly bear.
=> If you can respect the life of an insect, you will be able to respect any form of life..
Insects may have some drawbacks (like malaria to name one) but their assets and benefits undoubtedly outweigh those side-effects. Their existence is too precious of an importance to neglect them.