Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Clade: Pancrustacea
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta

Insects are an extremely diverse class of invertebrates belonging to the phylum Arthropods. They include over a million species and live in almost every environment on the planet. Insects potentially represent over 90% of the differing animal life forms on the planet. Recent findings of fossils of giant dragonflies trace its history to the Paleozoic Era and a theory is gaining ground that the insect group developed simultaneously with flowering plants. Insects have an exoskeleton, a body consisting of 3 parts (head, thorax, abdomen), compound eyes, a pair of antennae and 3 pairs of jointed legs. Due to the restrictions imposed by their un-expanding exoskeleton, some insects grow by series of molts (change of exoskeletons) called Incomplete Metamorphosis. Some undergo Complete Metamorphosis which is a series of stages (egg, larvae, pupa, adult). They move in a variety of ways like walking, flying, swimming, or hopping. Insects live mostly solitary lives, but some like bees, ants and termites are social and live in large, well-organized colonies. Some insects like earwigs even provide maternal care of their young. Insects have developed many ways of communicating with each other, from chemicals (pheromones), sounds (like crickets) and even light (like lightening bugs). Insects relationship to humans is varied – many are beneficial like honey bees and silk worms, and many are pests of plants we like to eat or invade our homes.