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Learning about insect facts and anatomy for kids

Nature explorers such as children can find the most amazing insects in their own backyards or other nature settings. But how can these nature explorers even identify insects?

Insects are part of the invertebrate domain. Invertebrates are animals without backbone. Although insects have no backbone, they are a diverse species. Experts believe that insects occupied the Earth a long time ago, even in the Dinosaur age. Entomologists are expert professionals that study the function and structure of insects.

As a matter of fact, entomologists and other experts believe there are about 2 million to 10 million different species of insects. Most insects have the ability to adapt to different environmental changes such as ice, water, heat and wind. While the variety of insects is enormous, some are considered as pests and others are not. For instance, in general, ladybugs are insects that can eat aphids or other harmful pests that can hurt a crop or plant. But fleas are insects that can be harmful to pets and humans by extracting their blood.

What are the physical characteristics of insects = insectos?

Insects have 3 main parts that characterizes them: a head = cabeza, a thorax = tórax, and an abdomen = abdomen. And many of the exterior parts of insects are protect by an exoskeleton or hard shell. They also have 6 legs. Many instances, some insects have more than one set of wings.

Function of the Head = Cabeza

The head comprises of the eyes, mouth and antennae. The eyes are generally compound. It allows them to see and detect various types of movements. The mouth is mostly composed of jaw-like mandibles, used to grab and chew food. The antennae are sensory appendages in insects. These allow them to feel, smell, and even hear what is around them. The thorax follows after the head.

Function of the Thorax = Tórax

The thorax is composed of 3 general areas: the prothorax (before), the mesothorax (middle), and the metathorax (after). The 3 pairs of legs are located within each of the 3 areas of the thorax. Besides providing movement, legs can also function as sensory elements such as smell, taste and detection of vibration. Wings are located in the mesothorax and are used for flying. The abdomen follows after the metathorax.

Function of the Abdomen = Abdomen

The abdomen is comprised of 10 to 12 segments. The digestive system, the reproductive system and additional sensory elements are found within these segments. In some insects, the sting-needle carrying the poison is also located within these segments.

Whether children observe ants, bees, ladybugs or butterflies in nature, they can also learn that specific body parts characterize insects. And each body part plays a particular function in their survival. However, when observing insects in nature, please be aware of your surroundings and allergies.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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