What kinds of cockroaches live in our homes?

Quite a few cockroaches live in our homes, but, except in the southern states, four species commonly infest North American homes and other buildings. All four are originally creatures of warm climates and in the North survive only in heated buildings. All of them hide in the daytime and become active only in the dark. […]

What is the digestive system of an insect like?

In its broadest aspects, it is roughly similar in both form and function to the digestive system of a vertebrate such as a human. In overall form, the insect’s digestive tract, also known as the gut, is a tube that extends through the body from the mouth opening to the anus. Food is moved through […]

Where are insect fossils found?

Insect fossils have been found in at least 150 sites around the world, in strata that date from 400 million years ago to the recent past. There are, however, many gaps in the fossil record of the insects. As mainly land animals, they are less likely to be buried in deposits of sediment, which eventually […]

How do springtails jump without using their legs?

Near the end of the abdomen of a springtail, there is a fork-shaped, really “Y”shaped, appendage called the furca. The furca can be swung forward under the abdomen and held flexed against the undersurface of the abdomen by a catch known as the retinaculum. The furca can be put under quite a bit of tension, […]

What causes the iridescent colors that shine from the cuticles of some insects?

These are “physical colors” that are not due to a pigment. They are almost always interference colors, produced by a laminated surface, a surface covered with closely packed microscopic plates, or laminae, that are parallel to each other. Such a surface can reflect different colors, depending upon the distance between successive laminae. For example, blue […]

What is a springtail and Where do springtails live?

Springtails, the members of the order Collembola, are tiny, wingless insects that are usually much less than a quarter of an inch long. They are easily recognized by a fork-like jumping organ, the furcula, that is folded forward on the underside of the abdomen, and whose two prongs hook onto a clasp-like structure. When the […]

How complex are the inner workings of a tiny insect?

The inner workings of a tiny insect are as complex as our own. Insects have a circulatory system that circulates blood throughout the body, a respiratory system that delivers oxygen to all of its cells, a digestive system that digests and absorbs food, an excretory system that eliminates metabolic wastes from the body, a reproductive […]

What Is a Millipede and What Does the Name Millipede Mean In Greek?

Millipedes belong to the class Diplopoda, a name that means double legs, from the Greek diplo, double, and poda, a foot. Like centipedes, they have long, slender bodies that consist of a head with chewing mouthparts and one pair of antennae, which are much shorter than those of centipedes, and a trunk that consists of […]

What are Taxonomists and what do Taxonomists do?

A taxonomist is a scientist who names, describes, and classifies organisms. Insect taxonomists usually specialize on some limited group. There are just too many insects for any one person to deal with them all. How do taxonomists keep track of so many different species of insects? They pigeon-hole or classify them by arranging them in […]