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.