Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Insects are “invertebrate animals which belong to the group of class insecta” (2). They are the largest and most widely distributed taxon with the phylum anthropoda. There are “about 925 000 known insect species” (1). For example the dragonfly species, praying mantis, grasshopper, butterfly and moth, fly, tree bug, beetle, bees and ant species.

These insects are categorised into flying insects and non-flying insects. The flying insects such as bees, butterflies, grasshopper and dragon flies have developed their own different characteristics. Their characteristics are seen on the arrangement patterns of wings and their flying pattern. The grasshoppers characterised by two pairs of wing i.e. the inner wings which are very-very soft and the hard outer wings. The wings are attached to their abdomen.

The diversity of flying insects is seen with the example of dragon flies characterised by two pairs of wings which flap up and down synchronously. These two pairs of wings is a special characteristic for this insect because it can fly for long distance at a very high speed. The bees which are characterised by fore and hind wings linked together with hooks. Some of the flying insects have wings that can be folded over their back meaning that they can only spread them when in use. The indirect-flight muscle plays an important role in powering the wings for flying.

The flying ability by insects enable them diversify throughout the world. They gained the ability to explore more territory and find new kinds of food giving rise to more species. Insects easily produce large number of off-springs hence they need only small amount of food. This is another thing which able them to be more than other animals.

These flying insects are also ecologically essential. They play a vital role and they are beneficial to the environment and to humans. Ecologically “they facilitate the pollination process for plants that need to reproduce” (2) for example bees; butterflies receive rewards of nectar and pollen. They play a role in seed dispersal from one point to another. The evolution of different flying insects is very crucial because they produce useful substances such honey, wax and silk. Many insects have been cultured by humans for many years. For example, Locusts serve as food for human.
Insects serve as food for other animals that are feed on insects thus insects are important in the food chain cycle.

Although the flying insects are diversified, they are facing threats. Through pesticides large numbers of insects are killed, although most tend to have some forms of resistance. These flying insects like locust are diversified in such a way that it is possible for them to invade a large portion of land.

Flying insects are very important to other plants and animals. In plants, this is seen during the process of pollination. Some plants cannot reproduce without the aid of the insects. Insects serve as food for other animals for survival.


1. A pair of wings took evolving insects on a non-stop flight to domination; [internet] [cited 2006 may 8]. Available from:
2. Wikipedia contributors. Insects [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 17, 05:19 [cited 2006 May 8]. Available from:

Mr Lufuno Mukwevho
CSIR Pretoria
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Tel: (012) 841 2133
Fax: 012 842 7024.
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