The life cycle of all insects is similar. They begin as an egg and hatch in a larva state. The shape and appearance of larva differs greatly between each species. The larvae look nothing like the adult. 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. Insects are estimated to account for 90% of the Earth's animal species.
These worksheets explore all about the world of insects. Each of the worksheets begins with a full reading passage that will provide students with a solid understanding of each topic. They are followed by a multiple choice and short answer question worksheet that is based on each reading passage.
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Printable Insects Worksheets
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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.
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), an exoskeleton, no wings or antennae. Like insects, arachnids also lay eggs.
Insects have two types of eyes: compound eyes and simple eyes. A single organism 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.
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 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.
There are more insects on earth than any other kind of creature: they make up over half of all the organisms on Earth and are incredibly diverse. There are between six and ten million different kinds of insects that can differ greatly from each other; however, all have many things in common.
Insects are the dominant form of animal life. Nearly a million different species have been identified, compared to only 5,416 mammals, and entomologists (scientists who study them) believe there may yet be species that have not yet been identified.
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 they can survive wider fluctuations in temperature. They are likely to do more damage to agricultural crops as their metabolism increases.
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.
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.
Types of Insects
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. Their 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 is the middle or central part that is called the thorax. The legs and wings (if present) are attached to the thorax and they all 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.
There are around 30 million types of insects worldwide, many of which are still unaccounted for. But there are only a few you may need to be familiar with.
Here are some known types or orders of insects:
These bugs compensate for their size through numbers and diversity.
Dragonflies are the most popular members of the Order Odonata. Odonata members are also known as toothed insects. Besides dragonflies, damselflies are also part of this order.
Long, narrow, parallel-sided, and membranous wings
Depending on your sources, some may group cockroaches and termites as Order Blattodea or Order Dictyoptera. Their relationship is debatable; thus, it has been proposed that they should be regarded as different but closely-related orders.
Such separation may have risen from the fact that cockroaches and termites are highly unique from each other. What may unite them, however, is that they are both social creatures. Similar to ants and bees, they have their societies and hierarchy.
Looking closely at crickets and grasshoppers, they look a bit alike. That may be because they belong to the same order, Orthoptera, along with other insects such as katydids and mole crickets.
Some similar traits among Orthopterans are:
Mandibular or chewing mouthparts
Two wings for adults
The hindlegs of Orthopterans are modified to make them suitable for jumping. You may have noticed before that grasshoppers and crickets love to hop along; to do that, they need the right legs.
Stink bugs, plant bugs, cicadas, aphids, and planthoppers are just a few of many insects considered true bugs. All these true bugs belong to Order Hemiptera.
True bugs are known to have these qualities:
Do not undergo the pupal stage (incomplete metamorphosis)
Similar-looking adults and nymphs
The sucking mouthparts of Hemipterans may also be called a proboscis. However, not all adult Hemipterans suck or eat food.
While ants aren’t closely related to termites, they are to wasps and bees. Besides these three, other Hymenopterans include sawflies and horntails.
An insect could be a Hymenopteran if it has these characteristics:
Mandibular or chewing mouthparts
Fused abdomen and thorax
Heavy, membranous wings
Another interesting thing about Hymenopterans is that some species are very organized.
That is, their societies have hierarchies, as reflected in the way of life of ants and bees.
Individual bees and ants belong to castes and function according to their caste (e.g., workers find food for the reproductive members).
Beetles, weevils, and grubs all belong to the order Coleoptera. The majority of the order’s population is made up of beetles.
Coleoptera is the largest insect classification whose members are known to survive in diverse habitats by consuming various food sources.
These three insects are grouped together because of these notable characteristics:
Hard, dense exoskeleton
Sheathed or sclerotized wings
Complete metamorphosis means that the insect undergoes the four life stages:
I don’t think it’s too surprising to discover that moths and butterflies are close relatives. They both belong to the Order Lepidoptera.
Lepidopterans have these characteristics:
Mouthparts for siphoning
Scaly and powdery wings
True flies and mosquitos are part of the order Diptera, which means “two-winged.” They are named so because such characteristics make them distinct from most other bugs, which are usually four-winged.
Besides the number of wings, these insects are also united by these features: