Insect Worksheets Listed By Specific Topic Area
Insects have a three-part body composed of (in order) head, thorax, and abdomen. Insects are the most diverse living creatures on the Planet. It is estimated that over ten million Insect species exist. Insects are vital organism to plants in the pollination process. There are so many different species of insects in the world, and so many of each specific insect, that these tiny creatures are larger in numbers than all the other animals of the world. Wow, what an interesting fact!
Sometimes it's hard to tell insects from other bugs, but in our complete lesson worksheet series, students will learn all about insects and how they differ from the other bugs. For example, insects usually have wings, and other bugs, such as spiders, do not. Remember, not all insects fly! Another way to tell the difference is by the body structure. Insects have three main body parts: head, thorax, and the abdomen. Insects are not only beneficial to our ecosystem, but to humans as well.
We have a number of great Insect worksheets for you.
- Acrostic Poem
- Bank On It!
- Do The Research!
- Group Creative Writing
- If I Were A.... ?
- Reading Comprehension
- Venn Diagram: Comparing Insects & Humans
- Vocabulary Quiz
- Vocabulary List & Definitions
- Word Chop
- Word Search
Insect Related Teacher Resources
What Are Insects?
Insects can be found everywhere, in freshwater, oceans, trees, or deep in the soil. They belong to the largest class of Phylum Arthropoda. They have the following 3 main features: a hard exoskeleton, segmented bodies, and joint legs. Insects are divided into 4 subphyla:
- Chelicerata (arachnids)
- Hexapoda (insects and springtails)
- Crustacea (crustaceans)
- Myriapoda (millipedes and centipedes)
Some typical examples of Chelicerata are spiders, mites, ticks, and scorpions. Their body is divided into two parts - the cephalothorax and the abdomen. They usually do not have antennae, but an anterior part is present called chelicerae, which acts as a pincer. The cephalothorax has the eyes and the chelicerae. They cannot ingest anything solid, so their pincher-like appendage helps them grab their prey, drink blood, or inject its poison into them.
Hexapoda (insects and springtails)
Hexapoda means six legs in the Greek language. They have a single pair of antennae and two pairs of wings. Their rigid bodies and flight skills make them a very successful group of insects. They include a smaller group of wingless insects as well. Examples include butterflies, flies, and cockroaches.
Crustaceans include woodlice, lobsters, shrimp, etc. They have 2 pairs of antennae in front of their mouth and two more appendages near the mouth that work as claws. They have two compound eyes that are usually mounted on stalks.
Myriapoda (millipedes and centipedes)
They have 2 body segments, a head and trunk, and they have a lot of legs. Centipedes and Millipedes are typical examples of Myriapoda. They also have a pair of antennae on their head. Their body is divided into many segments, with one pair of legs per segment. Centipedes are poisonous and carnivorous.
- Exoskeleton: Insects have a hard covering around their bodies, called an exoskeleton. It comprises two layers: an outer waxy layer, water-resistant, and an inner layer, which is thick and made of chitin. Adult insects have a hard exoskeleton, and those in the larval stage have a soft exoskeleton. An exoskeleton is a hard shell that cannot grow as the insect grows. The insects must shed their exoskeletons when they grow up and wait for a new exoskeleton to form. This process is called molting.
- Head: The head has a pair of antennae and sensory organs that allow the insects to detect movement in their surroundings or to smell and feel a surface. Insects have compound eyes with lots of lenses, giving them the benefit of having a broad vision to move freely, prey on things, or escape danger. Ocelli, also called simple eyes, are photoreceptors that detect movement in light or dark. Insects like locusts and dragonflies have ocelli.
- Mouthparts: Insects have adapted to a variety of mouthparts through natural selection. They are of two main types: chewing and piercing/sucking.
- Thorax: It is the middle section of an insect's body and comprises 3 segments. Each segment has a pair of legs and a pair of wings in adults.
- Abdomen: An abdomen is the final part of an insect's body and can go up to 11 segments. The reproductive, digestive, and excretory organs are located in the abdomen. They may contain cerci, paired appendages at the rear end that serve as sensory or copulation organs.
Why are insects such a successful group:
- High reproduction rate: They produce many offspring that grow rapidly into adults to reproduce again.
- Exoskeleton: This hard covering on insects protect them from trauma and lets them carry heavy weights. It has a wavy surface which prevents desiccation.
- Adaptable mouth parts: They can grind, chew, and crush food. They can nibble on leaves and suck blood from other animals. This gives them a high survival chance.
- Genetic diversity: Insects can adapt to their surroundings, so there is a diverse nature around us.
- Flight: There are a lot of species that can fly. This gives them a chance to escape predators and explore new areas.
- They may blend into their surroundings, bite or poison their prey, or benefit from their hard exoskeleton when attacked.
- Some insects like to live in groups, like bees and termites. They have different roles, e.g., some bees are worker bees, while some are queen bees.
- They also have innate behaviors which are genetically programmed in their system, e.g., flight habits.
- They also learn to alter their behavior as a result of experiences.
Metamorphosis is a unique process that takes place in an insect's life. It is a drastic change in the form or structure of an insect after it is born or hatches out of its egg. It changes the behavior and physiology of the insect as well.
The younger or immature insects are called larvae. They have a different mode of life and behavior than their adults. Common examples of metamorphosis in other animals are when a tadpole transforms into an adult frog. Similarly, starfish change from bilateral symmetry of larva to radial symmetry of adult.
In insects, complete metamorphosis occurs in species like butterflies and moths.
They have 4 stages in their lives; egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The larva is adapted for growth rather than reproduction. Then it goes through a non-feeding stage, i.e., pupa. At this time, larval tissues and organs are broken, wings appear, and finally, it changes into an adult.
The Sheer Importance of Insects
- They help in pollination.
- They can be helpful for the control of pest production since they feed on a variety of weeds and small insects. They are primary and secondary decomposers.
- We get products like honey, silk, and beeswax through insects.
- They are a source of food for many other birds and mammals. In some cultures, people like to eat insects as well.
- Insects living in soil maintain soil structure. Earthworms provide better aeration and nutrition supply to plants by continuously digging into the soil.
- Fireflies, butterflies, and other such insects are beautiful wonders of nature.
- Insects help decompose plants and are an essential part of the food chain. Without insects, a lot of animals and birds will die.
They dominate all living species when it comes to numbers. They are supremely adaptable and benefit greatly from their exoskeleton. Scientists who are intrigued by insects and curious to learn more can become entomologists.