Insecta (Insects)


Insects are the most diverse organisms on Earth with a long evolutionary history and are one of the most successful groups of organisms to have existed.

Keywords: hexapods; insects; evolution; biology

Figure 1.

Giant ant Formicium showing insect body organization (after Jarzembowski). Wingspan 144 mm.

Figure 2.

Life cycles of hemimetabolous (left) and holometabolous (right) insects compared (nymph = larva, pupa = chrysalis). (Adapted from Chinery, 1993.)

Figure 3.

Provisional relationships among the major hexapod groups (after Jarzembowski).

Figure 4.

Rhyniella praecursor reconstructed leaping (after Jarzembowski). Length 1.5 mm.


Further Reading

Carpenter FM (1992) Superclass Hexapoda. Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Part R, Arthropoda 4, 3 & 4. Lawrence: Kansas University Press.

Chinery M (1993) Insects of Britain and Northern Europe, 3rd edn. London: HarperCollins.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (1991) The Insects of Australia,. 2nd edition vols 1 and 2 Carlton: Melbourne University Press.

Daly HV, Doyen JT and Purcell AH III (1998) Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jarzembowski EA and Ross AJ (1996) Insect origination and extinction in the Phanerozoic. Biotic Recovery from Mass Extinction Events, Geological Society, Special Publication, no. 102, pp. 65–78. London.

Jolivet P (1998) Interrelationships Between Insects and Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Parker SP (ed.) (1982) Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms, vol. 2. New York: McGraw‐Hill.

Wilson EO (1971) The Insect Societies. Cambridge, MA: Belknap/Harvard University Press.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Jarzembowski, EA(Apr 2001) Insecta (Insects). In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001608]