Essay by Metalroid September 2002

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An insect is a creature without a backbone and with a body divided into three main parts: the head, thorax and abdomen.

Most insects have three pairs of legs and one or two pairs of wings. The 'feelers' or antennae on the insect's head are it sense of touch and smell. Some insects have a sting in the abdomen.

We already know that there are over a million different kinds of insects, and many new species are being found all the time.

Insects are by far the biggest group of creatures on Earth. Just think how many animals, birds, reptiles and fish feed on this endless supply of insects all over the world.


Most beetles have two pairs of wings. Underneath the first hard pair is another delicate pair. You can see these as the beetle flies around. When the beetle lands, the second pair folds away. The first pair then closes down like a shell to protect them.

Ants and Termites.

Ants live together in large colonies and often make nest underground. The ant hill is full of passages and separate cells for eggs and food. Worker ants build the nests, gather food and look after the larvae that hatch from the eggs, until they turn into young ants. Termites are ant-like insects. They build huge mounds of earth from grains of soil. Inside live millions of termites in tunnels and chambers. Some mounds are over eight metres (26ft) high.


A butterfly begins life as an egg. The egg hatches and out comes a caterpillar. The caterpillar grows, shedding its skin several times. At full size it becomes a pupa in a hard shell. After a while the shell cracks open and out squeezes a new butterfly. Butterflies love

The sunshine. If you walk in a...