There are thought to be as many as ten million different species of insects roaming this Earth.

You know how we humans have our bones inside our body? Our bones give our body shape and protect us from impacts and damage. Insects don’t have bones, but they have hard shells or shell-like skeletons outside of their bodies that protect them. All insect bodies are broken into three different parts. The head which is the front most of the segments. The head contains the organs (antennae and eyes) that allow the insect to sense the environment. The second body part of an insect is the middle part that is called the thorax. The legs and wings (if present) are attached to the thorax. All insects have six legs. The thorax is also where the insect takes in oxygen. The final part of the insect body is called the abdomen. The abdomen contains many vital organs including the heart, digestive, and reproductive organs.

The life cycle of all insects is similar. They begin as an egg and hatch in a larva state. Larva differs greatly between each species of insect. The larvae look nothing like the adult insects. This can be seen in the fly. Maggots are the larvae stage of flies. The larvae eventually reach a transformative stage where it forms either a chrysalis, cocoon, or pupa. From there it emerges as a full adult insect. Insects are estimated to account for 90% of the Earth's animal species. These worksheets explore all about insects.

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Printable Insect Worksheets

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Arthropods

Arthropod is the scientific name for the group of living creatures that includes insects, spiders (arachnids), and crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, and shrimp). Creatures that have both a hard exoskeleton with joints and pairs of jointed legs are considered arthropods.

Arthropods Questions

There are over 100,000 species of arachnids, which is a Greek work meaning spider. Although the words arachnid and spider are frequently used interchangeably, there are non-spider members of the arachnid family like scorpions and ticks. Arachnids have the following characteristics: eight legs, simple eyes (as opposed to the compound eyes that insects have), an exoskeleton, no wings or antennae. Like insects, arachnids also lay eggs.

Insects vs. Arachnids

Insects have two types of eyes: compound eyes and simple eyes. An individual insect has between two and five eyes, which can be comprised of one, the other, or a combination of eye types. Arachnids have between three and seven pairs of simple eyes.

QUESTIONS: Insects vs. Arachnids

How many body parts do insects and arachnids have, respectively?

Arachnids

Arachnid is a Greek word meaning spider. There are over 100,000 species of arachnids. Non-spider members of the arachnid family include spiders, harvestmen, mites, ticks, and scorpions.

QUESTIONS: Arachnids

Arachnids have eight legs. Unlike insects, they not have antennae, and their bodies are divided into two segments. The front segment is called the cephalothorax. The back segment is called the abdomen. On very tiny arachnid bodies like mites and harvestmen, these two sections are so close together that they appear to be one. There are no arachnids that have wings.

Spiders

Spiders belong to a species called arachnids. Arachnid is a Greek word meaning spider. Arachnids are found in almost every kind of land habitat and some aquatic habitats.

QUESTIONS: Spiders

Spiders use their silk to spin webs with which they catch their prey or to reproduce. They can also use strands of silk to float through the air. Spiders are able to stick to their own web because of a special oil their bodies produce for this purpose.

Insects

There are more insects on earth than any other kind of creature: insects make up over half of all the organisms on Earth. Insects are incredibly diverse. There are between six and ten million different kinds of insects. Insects can differ greatly from each other; however, all insects have certain things in common.

The End of Insects?

Insects are the dominant form of animal life. Nearly a million different species of insects have been identified, compared to only 5,416 mammals, and entomologists (scientists who study insects) believe there may yet be insect species that have not yet been identified.

QUESTIONS: The End of Insects?

Some scientists blame climate change for this alarming ongoing loss of biodiversity within tropical insect populations, adding that in areas farther from the equator, where insects can survive wider fluctuations in temperature, insects are likely to do more damage to agricultural crops as their metabolism increases.

Are Insects the Future of Food?

The world’s population grows by about 70 million people every year, and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. As conventional agriculture becomes increasingly controversial over issues like climate change, pollution, world hunger, and health, some people are proposing a radical answer to the world's food problem: entomophagy.

QUESTIONS: Are Insects the Future of Food?

Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects, and people have been doing it for thousands of years.

Stick Insects

A stick insect (also known as a walking stick) is a kind of insect that looks like a stick in order to blend in with the plants in the area where it lives.

QUESTIONS: Stick Insects

What is required in order to keep a stick insect as a pet?

How Spiders Spin Webs

Many arachnids use silk to spin webs. This silk consists of a combination of connected protein chains that give the silk strength and unconnected areas that make it supple.

QUESTIONS: How Spiders Spin Webs

Spiders build webs for both offensive and defensive reasons. Offensively, spiders build webs to catch their prey.

Types of Spider Webs

Spider webs vary according to the species of the spider spinning it. There are five basic spider web designs: orb webs, tangled webs, wooly webs, sheet webs, and funnel webs.

QUESTIONS: Types of Spider Webs

Tangled webs are also called cob webs because they seem to have no particular shape. The design of these webs allows them to be anchored into the corner of a ceiling.