Some of the most random facts about insects

Some of the most random facts about insects

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Insects

1. The most successful creatures.

To date, scientists have catalogued about 1.5 million species of organisms on the planet, with insects making up about two-thirds of this bounty, researchers report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But scientists have only begun to scratch the surface: Studies estimate the total number of species on Earth is probably closer to 9 million. Of the planet’s wildly diverse collection of creatures, some 90 percent of species are reckoned to belong to the class Insecta. Reasons for insects’ success include their tiny size, which both makes hiding easier and reduces overall energy requirements; wide diet of both natural and artificial foods; tough, protective exoskeletons; frequent possession of wings, which help them reach safety, grub and mates; and prodigious ability to reproduce.

2. Meet the beetles.

Beetles, of the insect order Coleoptera, are the most biodiverse group of creatures known, with more than 380,000 species described to date, making up 40 percent of all insect species on the books. When asked what a study of nature tells you about a creator, the British scientist J.B.S. Haldane once reportedly quipped that you can assume such a creator has “an inordinate fondness for beetles.” A recent Proceedings of the Royal Society B study suggests the secret to beetle diversity, and likely to that of other insects groups, is their lifestyle versatility. This ensures that their species do not go extinct as readily as, say, mammal or amphibian species.

Learn more about amazing science facts via our articles.

3. Planet of the ants.

Outside in warm temperatures? If so, when you look down you’ll probably spy an ant or two or 10 scurrying along. (It’s not uncommon to see ants when indoors, either.) The renowned biologists Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson estimated in their Pulitzer Prize-winning 1990 book, “The Ants” (Belknap Press), that on the order of 10 quadrillion ants live on the planet at any given moment. That’s about 1.4 million ants per human, based on a world population of 7.3 billion people.

4. On every continent . . . but just barely.

Although insects can be found by the buckets just about anywhere on Earth, there’s one continent where they barely have a foothold: Antarctica. In fact, only one true species of insect, a wingless midge called Belgica antarctica, calls the southernmost continent home, according to the Laboratory for Ecophysical Cryobiology at Miami University (Ohio). The tiny fly is only 0.08 to 0.23 inches (0.2 to 0.58 centimeters) long, but it’s still the Antarctic’s largest terrestrial animal. Amongst this insect’s many ingenious adaptations to Antarctic harshness, B. antarctica can withstand the freezing of its bodily fluids and sports a rich, purple-black complexion to soak up as much visible sunlight as it can for warmth.

5. Landlubbers.

Seeing as you still can’t escape insects even in Antarctica, there is one place where you can go to be virtually free of the six-legged creatures. That place is the 70 percent of the Earth’s surface covered by the ocean. Why have insects failed to set up shop in the biggest biosphere on the planet? No one really knows why, but suggested explanations are that the oceans lack the plants for food and sheltering habitat that are found on land. Another possible explanation is that a cousin of insects, the crustaceans, have largely made the ocean their home, potentially muscling out their jointed-leg competitors.

6. Breathing through their sides.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Insects

Insects do not breathe through their mouths. They inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide via holes called spiracles in their exoskeletons. These holes typically line insects’ thoraxes and abdomens. Also bizarre: Insect respiratory systems are not patched into the animals’ circulatory systems, as they are in humans, where the lungs exchange

Insects do not breathe through their mouths. They inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide via holes called spiracles in their exoskeletons. These holes typically line insects’ thoraxes and abdomens. Also bizarre: Insect respiratory systems are not patched into the animals’ circulatory systems, as they are in humans, where the lungs exchange gases with the bloodstream. Instead, insects have a cardiovascular-like network of tubes, called a tracheal system, which delivers oxygen and ferries away carbon dioxide from each cell in the animals’ bodies.

Insects do not breathe through their mouths. They inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide via holes called spiracles in their exoskeletons. These holes typically line insects’ thoraxes and abdomens. Also bizarre: Insect respiratory systems are not patched into the animals’ circulatory systems, as they are in humans, where the lungs exchange gases with the bloodstream. Instead, insects have a cardiovascular-like network of tubes, called a tracheal system, which delivers oxygen and ferries away carbon dioxide from each cell in the animals’ bodies.

That might be one of the most awesome amazing facts about animals you had no idea before.

7. Blood bath.

Speaking of circulatory systems, insects’ are way different from humans’. Rather than closed vessels such as arteries and veins shuttling blood around, insects have an open circulatory system, in which their blood, called “hemolymph,” bathes the organs. The insect “heart” is a segmented and chambered vessel running along the animal’s back. This vessel contracts to send hemolymph forward toward the head; from there, it sloshes around back into the rest of the body.

Speaking of circulatory systems, insects’ are way different from humans’. Rather than closed vessels such as arteries and veins shuttling blood around, insects have an open circulatory system, in which their blood, called “hemolymph,” bathes the organs. The insect “heart” is a segmented and chambered vessel running along the animal’s back. This vessel contracts to send hemolymph forward toward the head; from there, it sloshes around back into the rest of the body. Hemolympyh is typically clear but can be greenish or yellowish, as anyone knows who has seen certain bugs splatter on their windshield or underfoot.

8. Ancient critters.

The oldest insect fossil — a set of jaws, actually — goes back 400 million years, suggesting insects were among the first animals to transition from sea to land. Insects, in other words, were around a good 170 million years before dinosaurs came onto the scene.

The oldest insect fossil — a set of jaws, actually — goes back 400 million years, suggesting insects were among the first animals to transition from sea to land. Insects, in other words, were around a good 170 million years before dinosaurs came onto the scene.

9. That’s a big bug.

The largest insect ever known to have terrorized the skies is Meganeuropsis, or the griffinfly, which was an ancient dragonfly with a wingspan of up to 2.5 feet (0.8 meters). These ancient dragonfliespreyed on other insects and small amphibianlike creatures during their reign from about 290 million to 250 million years ago. That might be one of the most awesome random facts ever.

10. Monsters and motes.

The heftiest insect found today is New Zealand’s giant weta, a The heftiest insect found today is New Zealand’s giant weta, a cricketlike beast that can weigh more than a pound. The longest insect, meanwhile, is Chan’s megastick, native to the island of Borneo and stretching over 22 inches (66 cm). The smallest insect, you ask? The evocatively named fairyflies from Costa Rica. In one of these wasp species, Dicopomorpha echmepterygis, the male is a mere 0.005472 inches (0.014 cm) long.

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