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What is an insect?

This illustration of a tiger beetle has been cut away so we can see its insides. All insects breathe through tiny holes in their...Read More >>This illustration of a tiger beetle has been cut away so we can see its insides. All insects breathe through tiny holes in their sides which are connected to a network of tubes (yellow). Their long heart (red) pumps blood around the internal organs.Insects are invertebrates, animals without backbones. They have six jointed legs and a hard external skeleton. All insects have three main body parts: the head, the thorax and the abdomen. The eyes, jaws and antennae (feelers) are found on the head. Both legs and wings are attached to the thorax. The abdomen contains the intestines. There are probably more than 10 million types of insect. They are divided into a number of major groups: ants, flies, bugs and so on.



The body parts of an insect (in this case, a parasitic wasp). The eyes, jaws and antennae are found on the head. The legs and...Read More >>The body parts of an insect (in this case, a parasitic wasp). The eyes, jaws and antennae are found on the head. The legs and wings are attached to the thorax. The abdomen contains the insect's intestines.
A cricket, showing its legs and feet

Legs

All insects have six legs, which are made up of several jointed sections. Tiny bristles on the legs and body can feel vibrations caused by sound or movement. Some insects, such as crickets, have ears on their legs. The end part of an insect’s leg, its foot, is called the tarsus. The claw is used for gripping surfaces.

The tiny flea can jump more than 100 times its own length. It feeds on the blood of larger animals, such as rats.

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