Reddish Vale Country Park
Did you know that 95% of all the animal species on the earth are insects! Millions of insects can exist in a single acre of land, over one million species of insects have been discovered by scientists, and they think that there might be ten times that many that haven't been named yet.
Insects are divided up into 32 orders, or groups of insects. The largest order is the beetles (Coleoptera) with 125 different families and around 500,000 different species. This means that one in four animals on earth is a beetle. Scientists estimate that 10% of the animal biomass of the world is ants, and another 10% is termites.
The incredible size of individual species of insects is only dwarfed by the incredible numbers they sometimes occur in. In 1943 Profeesor Salt found that an acre of British pastureland near Cambridge supported over 1,000,000,000 Arthropods of which nearly 400,000,000 were insects and 666,000,000 were mites the remaining 38,000,000 were Myriapods (centipedes and milipedes).
In Africa swarms of Locusts may contain as many as 28,000,000,000 individuals. If each Locust weighs about 2.5 grams when they are added up together this comes to 70,000 tons of Locust in one swarm.
Ants are social animals and live in colonies, sometimes these colonies may contain only 50 or so individuals, but one supercolony in Formica Yessensis on the coast of Japan is reported to have contained 1,080,000 queens and 306,000,000 workers in 45,000 interconnected nests.
The Dragonfly has not changed over the last 300 million years. The Dragonfly could be the fastest insect in the world, one was recorded flying at 58 kilometers an hour.
Insects are incredibly adaptable creatures and have evolved to live successfully in most enviroments on earth, from deserts to the Antarctic. The only place where insects are not commonly found is in the oceans. Insects have an amazing number of differences in size, shape and behaviour, but they all have 4 characteristics in common.
* Three body parts-a head, thorax and abdomen
* Six jointed legs
* Two antennae to sense the world around them
* An exoskeleton (outside skeleton)
If all four of these things are not true the animal
can't be called an insect!
Insects And Bugs