Related topics: species · genes · plants · animals · brain

Bats use leaves as mirrors to find prey in the dark

On moonless nights in a tropical forest, bats slice through the inky darkness, snatching up insects resting silently on leaves—a seemingly impossible feat. New experiments at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute ...

Plants defend against insects by inducing 'leaky gut syndrome'

Plants may induce "leaky gut syndrome"—permeability of the gut lining—in insects as part of a multipronged strategy for protecting themselves from being eaten, according to researchers at Penn State. By improving our ...

How bees stay cool on hot summer days

If you've ever walked past a bees nest on a hot summer day, you've probably been too focused on avoiding getting stung, rather than stopping to wonder how all those bees stay cool. Don't worry, Harvard scientists have braved ...

Effort clarifies major branch of insect tree of life

The insects known as Hemiptera are not a particularly glamorous bunch. This group includes stink bugs, bed bugs, litter bugs, scale insects and aphids. Their closest relatives are thrips, bark lice and parasitic lice. But ...

How birds and insects reacted to the solar eclipse

A team of researchers with Cornell University and the University of Oxford has found that birds and insects reacted in some surprising ways to the 2017 U.S. total solar eclipse. In their paper published in the journal Biology ...

Global warming: More insects, eating more crops

Crop losses for critical food grains will increase substantially as the climate warms, as rising temperatures increase the metabolic rate and population growth of insect pests, according to new research.

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Insect

Insects (Class Insecta) are arthropods, having a hard exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae. They are the most diverse group of animals on the planet and include approximately 30 gladiator and icebug, 35 Zoraptera, 150 snakefly, 200 silverfish, 300 alderfly, 300 webspinner, 350 jumping bristletail, 550 scorpionfly, 600 Strepsiptera, 1,200 caddisfly, 1,700 stonefly, 1,800 earwig, 2,000 flea, 2,200 mantis, 2,500 mayfly, 3,000 louse, 3,000 walking stick, 4,000 cockroach, 4,000 lacewing, 4,000 termite, 5,000 dragonfly, 5,000 thrips, 5,500 booklouse, 20,000 cricket, grasshopper, and locust, 82,000 true bug, 110,000 ant, bee, sawfly, and wasp, 120,000 true fly, 170,000 butterfly and moth, and 360,000 beetle species described to date. The number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million, with over a million species already described. Insects represent more than half of all known living organisms and potentially represent over 90% of the differing life forms on Earth. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species occur in the oceans, a habitat dominated by another arthropod group, the crustaceans.

Adult modern insects range in size from a 0.139 mm (0.00547 in) fairyfly (Dicopomorpha echmepterygis) to a 56.7-centimetre (22.3 in) long stick insect (Phobaeticus chani). The heaviest documented present-day insect was 70 g (2½ oz) Giant Weta, though the Goliath beetles Goliathus goliatus, Goliathus regius and Cerambycid beetles such as Titanus giganteus hold the title for some of the largest species in general.

The largest known extinct insect is a kind of dragonfly, Meganeura.

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