July 2009
Billie Silvey
Types of Insects
Ants, Bees and Wasps
Hymenoptera is the scientific name for these
insects that have two pairs of membranous wings.
Diptera is the order meaning two wings, or a
single pair of fore wings with the hind pair
reduced to knob-like balance organs.
Lacewings and Antlions
Neuroptera, or nerve wings, refers to the
elaborate network of supporting veins.
True Bugs
Hemiptera means half wings and refers to the
fact that the front wings of these insects are
divided between a thickened base and a
membranous tip.
Mantodea, meaning soothsayer, refers to the
modified front legs, which are often held in a
position suggesting prayer,
Walking Sticks
Phasmida is the scientific name for stick insects,
which are extremely elongated and twig-like in
appearance, sometimes with leaf-like structures
completing the camouflage.
Ephemeroptera means short-lived wings,
referring to the short lives of adults after a year
or more as an aquatic nymph.
Butterflies and Moths
Lepidoptera is scale wings, referring to the
wings of butterflies and moths, which are often
covered with tiny, colorful scales.
Coleoptera means sheath wings.  The front
pair of beetles' wings are modified to form
casings to protect their hind wings and body.
Cicada, Hoppers and Aphids
Homoptera means uniform wings and is the
scientific name for insects whose front wings
have a uniform textured appearance in contrast
with their hemiptera relatives, the true bugs.
Blattaria run swiftly, though many have
wings. A few exploit human food supplies.
Grasshoppers and Crickets
Orthoptera have straight wings, a pair of
elongated and thickened front wings and
membranous hind wings.
Dragonflies and Damselflies
Odonata means tooth.  The name comes from
the fact that the aquatic nymph often has an
expandable jaw which can catch prey some
distance from the rest of the head.
Insects are the most diverse and numerous animals on the planet.  
With some 1.3 million species having been described, they
represent more than two-thirds of all known organisms on earth.  
Insects have hard exoskeletons, three-part bodies, three pairs of
jointed legs, compound eyes and two antennae.

Though often seen as nuisances and worse, insects are a basic part
of the food chain and contribute to the beauty and diversity of life
on earth.  There are 13 major types of insects: