What Good is an Insect?
Insects are very useful in a variety of ways. Insects...
• are important pollinators of plants, especially fruits and crops.
• provide honey, wax and silk.
• help control pests.
• provide food for many birds, fishes, humans and other animals.
• can be used as indicators of water pollution.
• help to treat diseases in people.
• improve soil quality because their burrows provide air spaces and because they
recycle organic material.
adaptation - a special shape, behavior or body part that helps an insect survive
antennae - a pair of "feelers," one on each side of the head, used to help an insect sense its
arthropods - animals, including insects, that have jointed legs and a hardened outer shell
camouflage - color or pattern that conceals an insect by matching its background
caterpillar - larva of a butterfly or moth
chrysalis - pupa of a butterfly, the life stage between caterpillar and adult; usually has a
camouflaged covering and is exposed to weather
cocoon - protective case made of silk fibers secreted by a larva, in which it will pupate
dormant - inactive, as during very cold weather
entomologist - person who studies insects
entomology - the scientific study of insects
exoskeleton - external, waterproof, protective body covering that houses and supports internal
organs, muscles and other tissues
habitat - place an animal lives
insectivorous - feeding on insects
larva (plural, larvae) - the young form of an insect with complete metamorphosis
metamorphosis - changes in the shape, structure and habits of an insect as it grows into an
migrate - travel from one area to another
molting - shedding an insect’s hard outer skin as its body grows larger
nymph – a stage in incomplete metamorphosis in which the insect resembles the adult but
lacks wings and cannot reproduce
pollinate - to fertilize a plant by moving pollen to the female structures of a flower
pupa (plural, pupae) - a stage of complete metamorphosis between larva and adult
taxonomist - person who studies how organisms are grouped and named
taxonomy - the scientific study of naming and grouping living things