• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

What makes an insect an insect?


Allison Leavitt

What makes an insect an insect and separates insects from other small hard-bodied creatures?
First, all insects are arthropods, animals that lack backbones and have jointed legs and external skeletons, or exoskeletons. Arthropods include such diverse animals as roaches, millipedes, tarantulas, and lobsters. Second, all insects have three distinct body parts: a head, a thorax, and an abdomen; many other arthropods have either more or fewer body areas. Third, almost all insects have wings. No other group of arthropods can fly. Fourth, all insects have two antennae and six legs. Most other arthropods have eight or more legs. Their tiny size, quick reproduction rate, and ability to fly enable insects to explore and exploit almost every environmental niche imaginable.

Ladybugs gathering on an oak branch
Large groups of ladybugs can be found at the highest peaks of the Chisos mts. in the summertime
Allison Leavitt

Did You Know?

Apollo 17 landing site

Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt visited Big Bend in 1971 to study the regions geology in preparation for their mission to the moon. This was one of four field trips to Big Bend that Apollo astronauts participated in between 1964 and 1971.