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Insect Website Title


Special Features of Orders
Class Order Meaning Examples Life Cycle Mouth Antennae Legs Tarsal Segments Length Wings Color Pest Notes
Arachnida Acarina Mites, ticks Sucking None 8 1-2mm None Various Some mites and all ticks are parasites of man and/or domestic animals. Some mites are plant pests and some are beneficial. Abdomen unsegmented and body roughly oval without constriction as noted in spiders.
Araneae Ground, crab ,orb-weaver spider Chewing None 8 None Various Beneficial. Feed on insects and other small animals. Abdomen constricted at base, nearly always unsegmented with spinnerets at end (used to make webs, snares, shelters and egg sacs). Paralyze their prey with venom, some spider's venom dangerous to man.
Amblypygi, Microthelyphonida, Pedipalpida and Schizopeltida Tailless whipscorpions Chewing None 8 2-150mm None Beneficial Abdomen constricted at base,segmented and lacking a stinger. Some have whip-like tail. Occur only in Southern states.Some give vinegar-like odor when disturbed. 1st pair of legs longer than other 3 pair.
Opiliones (Phalangida) Daddy-long-legs Chewing None 8 None Beneficial Body oval and compact with extremely long, slender legs. Abdomen segmented.
Psudoscorpionida (Chelonethida) Pseudoscorpions Chewing None 8 Usually <5mm. None Beneficial Oval bodied , flattened with large claws.
Scorpionida Scorpions Chewing None 8 Up to 125mm. None Pest due to painful and sometimes dangerous sting. Largely nocturnal. Large pair of claws in front with prominent stinger at rear. Abdomen segmented. Found chiefly in Southwestern states.
Solpugida Wind scorpions None 8 <=25mm. Beneficial Nocturnal. Abdomen is segmented but body is spider-like. Found in deserts of Southwest.
Uropygi (Thelyphonida) Whip scorpions (Vinegarones) Chewing None 8 70-130mm (2 3/4-5 1/8"). None Reddish or brownish black. Beneficial Nocturnal predator. Whip-like tail but no stinger which sprays acetic acid for defense. Large claws. 1st pair of legs used as feelers. 1 specie found in Florida and in the Southwest.
Chilopoda Centipede Chewing Long >=30 None Beneficial Fast moving, one pair of legs/body segment, flat body, poisonous claws and breathes thru spiracles like insects.
Symphyla Chewing Long antennae w/14 or more segments 12 to 28 None White Pest White, flat, very small.
Crustacea Pillbug Chewing Short 12 to 28 None Pest Can roll into a ball and breathes thru gills.
Sowbug Chewing Short 12 to 28 None Pest Two, small pointy tails and breathes thru gills.
Diplopoda Millipedes Chewing Short antennae usually w/ 7 segments 30-400 None Pest Slow moving, 2 pair of legs/body segment , some emit smelly, brown, irritating fluid.
Insecta Anoplura Unarmed, without tail. Sucking lice None Sucking Short, not hidden from topview 6, have one claw each. 1 <=6 mm (<=1/4") None Parasitic pest of domestic animals and man. Flat body.
Coleoptera Sheath wings Beetle, weevil Complete Chewing Usually w/8-11 segments 6 3-5 1-130mm (1/16-5 1/8") 4. Hard forewing covering with straight line down back. Hind wings are membranous. Sometimes Most species of all insects.
Collembola Glue peg Springtail None Chewing Short, usually 4-6 segments 6 2-6mm (1/16-1/4"). None White, yellow-brown or grey. Some are important pests in greenhouses and mushroom cellars. Small, jump by means of a tail-like appendage which folds under the body. Common in moist sites.
Dermaptera Skinwings Earwig Gradual Chewing Threadlike, <= 1/2 body length. 6 3 6-35mm (1/4-1 3/8"). 4. Forewings are skin-like and hindwings are folded underneath them. Nuisance but can be serious pest in flowers or fruit. Non-poisonous pincers are found at end of abdomen.
Diptera Two wings Flies, gnats, midges, mosquitos, sheep ked. Complete Sucking or sponging Often short and 3 segmented. 6 5 1-65mm (1/16-2 1/2"). 2 forewings. Also have two hindwing balance knobs called halteres. Include pests, parasitic pests and some are beneficial. Sheep ked look like ticks and antennae not seen from topview. Immature stages are worm-like which are called maggots.
Ephemeroptera Short-lived with wings. Mayflies Incomplete Larvae - Chewing; Adults - Vestigial Small and bristlelike. 6 3-5 3-25mm (1/8-1"). 4 triangular shaped wings with many veins. Forewings are large and the hindwings are small. Nuisance but provide fishfood. Wings held together above body at rest. Long front legs and 2 or 3 taillike appendages. Adults are common around water.
Hemiptera Half wing. True bugs such as stink bug, harlequin bug. Gradual Beak for sucking in front and underneath head. Long and conspicuous or short and concealed. <=5 segments. 6 2-3 3-60mm (1/8-2 3/8"). 4. Forewings have a front part which is leathery and an aft part which is membranous forming a delta pattern due to wing overlap. Major pests but also some beneficial.
Homoptera Same wings. Aphids, cicadas, mealybugs, scales, whiteflies, psyllids & hoppers. Gradual Beak for sucking at rear and underneath head. Either short and bristlelike or long and threadlike. 6 1-3 1-60mm (1/32-2 3/8"). None or 4. Membranous wings often held roof-like over back. Cicadas and leafhoppers all have wings. Aphids sometimes have wings. Scales have no wings and mealybugs are usually wingless. Yes
Hymenoptera Membrane wing. Bees, ants, sawflies, wasps. Complete Chewing or sponging. Usually long w/10 or more segments. Ant antennae are elbowed. 6 5 1-55mm (1/16-2 1/8"). Wingless or have 4 membraous wings with few veins. Forewings larger than hindwings. Some are pests, some are beneficial. Adult body often has a pinched waist. Larvae are either maggot-like or caterpillar-like. Caterpillar-like larvae don't have crochets on prolegs.
Isoptera Equal wings. Termites Gradual Chewing Usually short and thread or beadlike. 6 4 5-25mm (1/4-1") 4 long, many veined wings only on male or females during mating season. Usually pale white or yellow. Mating termites are dark. Wood pests. Soft bodied and thick body. Live in wood.
Lepidoptera Scale wings. Moths, butterflies. Complete Adults - siphoning probe; Larvae - chewing. Long and slender and sometimes plumed especially in moths. Knobbed at end in butterflies. 6 Adults - 5 Adults usually have 4 large wings with scales. Wing span 3-270mm (1/8-10 5/8") Adults - Benign; Larvae - Butterflies sometimes pest, moths always pest. Larvae are called caterpillars, cutworms or hornworms. Adult moths - Feathery antennae; Adult butterflies - Knobby antennae.
Mecoptera Scorpionfly Complete Chewing at end of long beak. Threadlike and about 1/2 body length. 6 5 w/1 or 2 claws. 2-26mm (1/16-1"). 4. FW ~ HW, often with dark bands or spots. Beneficial Fake scorpion tip at end of abdomen.
Mallophaga Wool to eat. Bird lice. None Chewing 3-5 segments sometimes concealed in head. 6 1-2 w/1-2 claws. 2-5mm (1/16-1/4") None Parasitic pest. Broad head and flattened body.. Feed on feathers, hair, wool and skin.
Neuroptera Nerve wings. Lacewings, antlions and dobsonflies. Complete Larvae - chewing. Conspicuous, long, many segmented. 6 5 6-70mm (1/4-2 3/4") 4. Large membraneous, many-veined wings, forewing and hindwing equal. Beneficial Very fragile looking.
Odonata Toothed Dragonflies, damselflies. Incomplete Chewing Very short, bristlelike and inconspicuous. 6 3 18-127mm (3/4-5") 4. Membraneous, many-veined and tinted or patterned wings with notch in front margin. Hindwings may be larger than forewings. Beneficial Adults have large eyes. Adult dragonflies hold wings outstretched at rest. Adult damselflies hold wings upright at rest. Common around ponds, lakes and streams.
Orthoptera Straight wings. Grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, roaches, mantids, walkingsticks. Gradual Chewing None or 4. Forewings leathery, straight, narrow with many veins. Hindwings are broad and fan-like. Most are pests. Hind legs adapted for jumping or running. 5-150mm (1/4-5 7/8").
Plecoptera Plaited wings. Stoneflies Incomplete Chewing or vestigial Long, threadlike. 6 3 6-64mm (1/4-2 1/2") 4. Hindwings larger than forewings and they fold lengthwise over the back. Beneficial Adults have 2 short (sometimes long) appendages at end of abdomen. Found near streams. Nymphs are aquatic.
Psocoptera Psocids, book lice. Simple Chewing Long and slender. 6 2-3 <=5mm (<=1/4"). Hindwing is smaller than forewing. Pests
Siphonaptera Tube without wings. Fleas. Complete Sucking Short, 3 segmented, usually fitting in grooves in head. 6 5 Adults <5mm (1/4") None Parasitic pest. Adults have jumping hind legs, long legs, numerous bristles facing backward and body flattened sideways. Larvae are worm-like.
Thysanoptera Tassel wings. Thrips Gradual Sucking/rasping. Short, 6-9 segmented. 6 1-2 Adults .5-3mm (1/64-1/8") 4 Narrow wings fringed with hair or no wings. Most are pests, some beneficials. Adults have short legs.
Thysanura Tassel tail. Bristletails, silverfish. None Chewing. Long and many segmented. 6 <=13mm (<=1/2"). None Mainly house pest. Adult has long flat body with 12 segments sometimes with powder-like scales. Three appendages at end of abdomen. Likes moist sites.
Trichoptera Hair wings. Caddisflies. Complete. Chewing or none. Long and threadlike, >= body length. 6 5 5-25mm (1/4-1") 4 wings held rooflike over back and with many fine hairs. Beneficial Found around streams. Larvae are worm-like and aquatic (live in streams).
Mollusca Slug Chewing None None Pest Slimy long shaped.
Snail Chewing None None Pest Slimy long shaped, partially covered by a shell.

Last Update: 12/7/97

Name: Jim Hammond



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