How Many Legs do Insects Have? Insect Identification

Insect! Insecta! Insectee! Insects are one of the largest species of living things that exist on planet earth as they are the most diverse group of animals and include more than 1 million species and describe more than half of all known living organisms.

Now let’s get to the question of the day, how many legs do insects have? is it 10? 20? 9? is it all insects that have the same number of legs? lucky for you, this article has been well set up with adequate research to provide you with answers to these questions. Now lets insect our way to the answer!


Read also: Where Do Grasshoppers Live? Discover Their Habitat


Brief Insight About the Insect World

Insects have been known to take over most of the population of living creatures (animals) in the world. Though they all belong to the same group, there are over a million species of these guys in the world as they vary in body size, body structure, mouthpart, feeding habits, etc. Before getting to know about the insect legs, let’s get to know a little about them.


What is an Insect?

An insect is any member of the class Insecta and belongs to the phylum Arthropoda, which itself is the largest of the animal phyla. Insects have segmented bodies which are divided into:

  • The Head: Bears the eyes, the antenna, and the mouthpart.
  • The Thorax: Bears the legs and the wings as well.
  • The Abdomen: Bears the digestive, excretory, and reproductive organs.

Insects have jointed legs and an exoskeleton, and are distinguished from other arthropods by their body segments.

Insects are in many ways beneficial to humans as they help in the pollination of flowers, can be used for research purposes, they serve as environmental indicators to assess water quality and soil contamination, produce useful substances, serve as a source of food, help in the control of pests, and are sometimes the pests.

Insects are the most successful group of animals as they have a wide distribution rate number and adaptability.


6 Shocking Facts About Insects

Below are facts about these creatures that will shock you:

  • They can be found in every continent except Antarctica.
  • Insects do not breathe through their mouths but their sides.
  • Insects are the most successful creatures on earth.
  • Insects are known to have lived 170 million years before dinosaurs.
  • Insects have compound eyes that can see multiple views.
  • All insects are bugs but not all bugs are insects.


Read also: Is a Butterfly an Insect? The Behaviors of Butterflies


Where is the Habitat of Insects?

As mentioned earlier, insects take almost all the population of living organisms and can be found almost everywhere. You can find insects in just about everywhere on Earth, from the sands of hot deserts to cold snowy mountain streams.

About 97% of insects live on land. Although they can be found almost everywhere, they prefer warm climates.

Some insects do begin life in water such as the dragonfly which begins life in water such as rivers, lakes, and ponds, but then takes off to the air when they become adults, and the diving beetle, which spends most of its time in the water but still returns to the surface of the water to breathe air.


What do Insects Eat?

One distinctive thing about insects is that they feed on a variety of foodstuffs which may include:

  • Grains
  • Crops
  • Tubers
  • Nectar
  • Fruits
  • Water
  • Dead or decayed animals and crops.
  • Other Insects, etc.

They feed based on their different mouthparts which may be:

  • Biting and chewing insects which may include grasshoppers, etc
  • Piercing and sucking insects which may include butterflies, etc
  • Boring Insects which may include weevils, etc


How Many Legs Do Insects Have?

Finally to the big question, how many legs do these creatures have? the answer is 6. All insects have 6 legs, any bug without 6 legs is no insect.


The Anatomy of Insects

Insects belong to the Phylum Arthropoda and like other arthropods, they have an exoskeleton (a hard outer covering made of chitin which protects and gives the body support) with no interior skeleton. As stated earlier, the body parts of these insects are divided into 3 parts:

  • The Head
  • The Thorax
  • The Arthropod, etc

The head of an insect is peculiar for bearing the compound eyes, antennae, the mouthpart for food intake, etc. The thorax serves as the grip point that bears the legs for locomotion and the wings as well, and the abdomen is used for digestion, reproduction, excretion, and respiration.

Even though the body segments of all insects perform the same function, there are differences in their wings, legs, mouthparts, and antennae which makes them different from other animals.


Read also: How Many Legs do Insects Have? Secrets Unveiled


The Head

The head of insects is encompassed in a hard exoskeleton except in species whose larvae are not fully sclerotized. The head carries most of the sensory organs (antennae, simple eyes, and compound eyes) of the insect body and the mouthpart as well.

In the adult insect, the head is unsegmented, though research has shown that it consists of 6 segments, including the mouthpart.

Of all the insect orders, the Orthoptera (an order of insects that comprises the grasshoppers, locusts) displays the greatest variety of attributes found in the heads of insects.

Here,  the dorsal region is situated between the compound eyes of insects with hypognathous (having the lower jaw longer than the upper) and opisthognathous (having backward-pointing jaws) heads.

However, In prognathous (having a projecting lower jaw) insects, the dorsal region is not found between the compound eyes, but rather, where the simple eyes are normally found.

The Thorax

The thorax of as mentioned earlier is said to bear the legs and the wings of the insects. The insect thorax is made up of three segments:

  • Prothorax
  • Mesothorax
  • Metathorax


Read also: How To Tell How Many Eyes Do Spiders Have?


The prothorax is the anterior segment closest to the head; its major features are the first pair of legs and the pronotum (the plate-like structure that covers the thorax). The middle segment is the mesothorax; its features are the second pair of legs and the forewings if they have one.

The third segment is the metathorax, which bears the third pair of legs and the hindwings. Each segment has four basic regions. The dorsal surface is called the notum, the two lateral regions are called the pleura, and the ventral aspect is called the sternum.

The notum of the prothorax is called the pronotum, the notum for the mesothorax is called the mesonotum and the notum for the metathorax is called the metanotum.

The Abdomen

The abdomen (lower part) of an adult insect consists of 11 to 12 segments and is less sclerotized than the head or thorax. Each division of the abdomen is made up of the tergum and the sternum. The tergum is separated from one another and from the adjacent sternum by a membrane.

The variation of the lower part of the abdomen consists of the fusion of the tergum to form a continuous dorsal shield. During the embryonic stage of most insects, eleven abdominal divisions are present. There is a reduction in the number of abdominal segments in modern insects.


Final Intake

There are a lot of mistakes people make when it comes to nature such as the case of the insect. People often mistake all bugs to be insects, It’s confusing, right? But luckily this article has been able to answer one of these many questions, how many legs do insects have? Alas! it is 6.

For more info, contact us and make your contributions or queries. We’re glad to have been of help to you and do well to subscribe to get more info about pests, pets, and animals as well. Thank you!

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