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Bugging out!


We all know that bugs come in different shapes and sizes; some fly, some crawl, some wiggle—but what makes an insect, an insect?

Well, insects are arthropods (this word is from ancient Greek, meaning, “jointed foot”) with:     
  • 6 jointed legs
  • 2 antennae 
  •  Bodies divided into 3 parts (head, thorax, and abdomen) 
  • Compound eyes (eyes with several thousand lens) 
  • 1 or 2 pairs of wings
  • Mouthparts (different varieties allow bugs to eat in a variety of ways: chewing, piercing-sucking, sponging, siphoning, and cutting) 
  • Spiracles: the insects breathing system; air enters through these holes in the abdomen, and then travels on to the tracheae
  • Exoskeletons
Did you know that an insect’s exoskeleton does not grow with the insect like the endoskeletons in humans? The exoskeletons’ main function is to give the bugs support and protection; as an insect grows it sheds the exoskeleton and creates a new one underneath--this process is called molting. Can you imagine shedding your skin and replacing it with new skin several times during your life?!

Did you Know?


  • Honeybees (pictured above) have to make about ten million trips to collect enough nectar for production of one pound of honey 
  • Houseflies find sugar with their feet, which are 10 million times more sensitive than human tongues
  • For every person on the earth, there are two hundred million insects
  • Approximately 2,000 silkworm cocoons are needed to produce one pound of silk
  • Ants can lift and carry more than fifty times their own weight
  • Mexican Jumping Beans actually have a caterpillar of a bean moth inside
  • It takes about one hundred Monarch Butterflies to weigh one ounce
  • When the droppings of millions of cattle started ruining the land in Australia, dung beetles (pictured right) were imported to reduce the problem
  • To survive the cold of winter months, many insects replace their body water with a chemical called glycerol, which acts as an "antifreeze" against the temperatures
  • Male mosquitoes do not bite humans, but rather live on plant juices and other natural liquids from plants and decomposing organic material

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