If you were to look at an insect up close, you may be taken aback by how alien-looking they really are. With their bulging eyes, tough exoskeletons, and numerous legs, insects look nothing like humans – which is why some people find it hard to believe that they’re animals, just like us!
Is an insect an animal?
Insects belong to the kingdom Animalia, along with all the other animals on Earth. They are grouped in the class Insecta, with the Crustaceans (including crabs, shrimp, and lobsters) their closest evolutionary relatives.
What is an animal?
The Animalia kingdom is huge and diverse, so what classes an organism as an animal?
Organisms are considered to be animals if they are eukaryotic, multicellular, and capable of movement.
Animals can also respond to their environment and survive by eating other organisms.
What sets insects apart from other types of animals?
Organisms in the Insecta class have several features in common that set them apart from other animals. All insects have an exoskeleton, segmented bodies, and three pairs of legs.
All insects have an exoskeleton
Insects are invertebrates, which means they don’t have an internal skeleton. Instead, the insect skeleton forms a tough, outer layer on its body called the exoskeleton. The insect exoskeleton is made of a material called chitin and is hard and rigid to protect the insect’s inner organs. It is also waxy and waterproof, which helps insects to survive wet conditions and retain moisture.
All insects have segmented bodies
Insects all have segmented bodies that can be divided into three distinct parts; the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. The insect head features its mouthparts, eyes, and two antennae. The thorax (or middle section) of the insect is usually attached to all three pairs of legs and one or two pairs of wings. The abdomen (or hind part) of the insect is full of organs and contains the digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems.
All insects have six legs
Insects have three pairs of legs. All six are usually attached to the thorax (or midsection) of the insect.
General features of insects
Besides their anatomy, insects have lots of other things in common with each other. Most insects are small, though there are several giant exceptions to this rule. Insects are also highly adaptable, and are found almost everywhere on the planet. And there are more types of insects than you might think; in fact, scientists estimate that there may be over 5 million insect species on Earth.
Why do people think insects aren’t animals?
For many people, the idea that insects are animals is a strange one, simply because they look so different from humans.
However, the Animalia kingdom is endlessly diverse and also includes birds, jellyfish, and sea anemones, all of which have wildly different features.
As alien-looking as they are, insects belong to the Animalia kingdom. Like all animals, insects are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms that can move around, respond to their environment, and eat other organisms to survive. Insects belong to the Insecta class in the animal kingdom, and all have a tough exoskeleton, segmented bodies, and three pairs of legs.