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Presenting insects: In no certain order

The numbers seem to fluctuate by what source you refer, but the world has at least 900,000 identified insect species.

With such a wide variety of habitats, of which many have yet to be fully explored, it is likely this list will continue to grow.

They are the most abundant group of animals on this earth.

Class Insecta actually consists of 30 distinct orders. Some insect orders are very familiar to you. For example, Order Diptera contains the flies and mosquitoes. The name Diptera is based on the Greek words meaning: having 2 wings.

Order Ephemeroptera, to which the mayflies belong, translates into living a short time. In fact, mayfly nymphs live on the bottom of “healthy” streams for a year, they then pupate.

The mayfly adult rises to some stream-side vegetation and then the adults’ wings harden.

They return to the stream surface. Those that aren’t gobbled up by a trout or creek chub, only live long enough to mate, lay eggs, and then die. (Usually less than a day)

Order Lepidoptera, meaning scaly wings, contains the butterflies and moths. If you caught a few butterflies, as I did for Scouts and school projects, you probably noticed the dusty, scaly covering on your fingers. Hence the appropriate order name.

I will identify an example or two of some of the most common insect orders. Remember that all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs.

“True bugs” belong to the Order Hemiptera. Insects in that order are stink bugs, squash bugs, bed bugs, etc. Bugs have piercing mouth parts that suck juices from plants, or maybe blood through an animal’s skin (bedbugs). Let’s see how many of the following are be familiar to you ...

Test Your Outdoor Knowledge: A praying mantis belongs to the Insect Order: A. Lepidoptera; B. Diptera; C. Coleoptera; D. Orthoptera

Last Week’s Trivia Answer: Somewhat surprising, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary’s hawk watch records many more broad-winged hawks than Cape May Hawk Watch. The “broadies” tend to follow the Appalachians on their southward trek.

A grasshopper belongs to Order Orthoptera (translates to straight winged.) About 20,000 species make up this order. BARRY REED PHOTOS
A “lady bug,” correctly identified as a lady bird beetle, belongs to Order Coleoptera (translates to shield wing.) The beetles have a harder fore wing that covers and protects the flying wings beneath.
The firefly is not a fly. The common name, lightning bug, is a bit misleading, as well. Surprisingly, fireflies are a type of beetle and belong to order Coleoptera joining potato beetles and the other 300,000 species.
House flies, stable flies, and the green bottle fly shown here, are all members of Order Diptera (Having two wings.)
Earwigs, common from midsummer through autumn, belong to order Dermaptera. There are 2,000 species of these “pincher bugs.”
The promethea moth belongs to Order Lepidoptera. They are the second largest insect order with more than 180,000 representative species.
Order Hymenoptera - Greek translation, “membrane winged” - includes honey bees, ants, wasps, and the bumblebee shown here. There are about 150,000 species in this insect order.
The green darner dragonfly belongs to insect Order Odonata. Damselflies also belong in this group and both are one of the 5,000 insect eating species in this insect order.
The stink bug belongs to Order Hemiptera (the true bugs.) They have piercing sucking mouth parts.
The water strider is not a spider. In fact, it belongs in Order Hemiptera. It uses its 4 back legs to glide on the water's surface tension and uses the front legs to capture insects on the surface and then in bug fashion, drink the body fluids.
Silverfish belong to insect Order Thysanura. They have 2 long antennae, 3 projections from the abdomen, and are silvery in color. They need slightly damp places, like under a sink, are very nocturnal, and eat cardboard, any food crumbs, and even wallpaper glue.
The crane fly, which many people think is a giant mosquito, is in the insect Order Diptera. I photographed this one through the windshield and it clearly shows an insect's characteristics of 6 legs and for Diptera, one pair of wings. Unlike a ½-inch mosquito, the crane fly can be 1½ inches in size.