The Body Of An Insect

The head is the front of the three regions found on any adult insect. The head is a vital part of the insects survival due to the fact that it bears the compound eyes the antennae and the mouthparts. It is made up of sclerites, which are sections of the exoskeleton.

The insects thorax is divided up into three sections, the prothorax (first thorax), the mesothorax (middle thorax), and the metathorax (last thorax). Each section consists of sclerites and each bears a pair of legs. The wings however are only found on the mesothorax and the metathorax. The first section is usually clearly separated from the last two sections.

The abdomen usually contains most of the insects vital equipment, such as the digestive system, the heart and the sexual organs. Like the other two regions found on the insect, the abdomen is protected by the ridged exoskeleton but between the three regions the body is flexible. The surface of the abdomen is covered by a thin layer of wax that prevents the insect from loosing too much water.

The antennae of insects vary in length and size due to which insect they are found on. But whatever shape or size they may be the antennae hold many sensory structures that can detect movement, vibrations and smells.Some antennae also detect sound or the change in humidity. Antennae are found near the front of an insects head.

Insects are the only invertebrates (animals without backbones) that can fly but the wings only become fully functional in the adult stage of an insects life cycle. The wings come in many different forms. They can be membranous (a thin layer of skin), fringed with long hairs or covered with scales. Wings aren't only used for flight but they are used as a protective cover, as sound producers and as a way to communicate with other insects of there type. In most cases a network of veins runs through the wings and in membranous wings these veins can act as support during flight. Most insects wings are different so humans use them as a source of identification.

Most insects have three pairs of legs- one on each of the segments of the thorax. each leg is made of five segments (not including the claws) that are joined together by hinge joints:


Obviously the mouthparts are an essential part of the insects survival. The different mouthparts are:

Labrum-The upper lip
Mandibles-hard powerful cutting jaws
Maxillae-pincers that are less powerful than the mandibles. They are used for steadying food.
maxillary palp-five segmented palp belonging to the maxillae, often concerned with taste.
labium-the lower lip
labial palp- Three segmented palp belonging to the labium.
hypo-pharynx-tounge like structure on the floor of the mouth.

Each of these mouthparts are on every insect but they may vary depending on what function they are appointed to do.

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