Scientists have classified over one million species of insects. Some experts believe there could be as many as ten million species.
Insects belong to the phylum arthropoda. Arthropoda, which means “jointed leg” includes animals like insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, and ticks. Although insects and spiders are in the same phylum, spiders are not insects. Insects have six legs, three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), and two antenna. Spiders have eight legs, two body parts, and do not have antenna.
There are hundreds of species of insects in Iowa. Although some are harmful to crops and gardens, most are very beneficial animals. Insects are responsible for pollinating many flowers, trees, and other plants. They play a major role in the process of decomposition (breaking down dead plant and animal material). They are a source of food for thousands of other of animals such as bats, birds, frogs, turtles, spiders, and some snakes. Furthermore, they can be our best allies. Instead of using toxic chemicals to battle destructive bugs, predatory insects (insects that eat other insects) can be used as a non-harmful alternative to pesticides.