What is an Insect?
An insect is an animal that has three main body parts, two compound eyes, two antennae, and six jointed legs. Instead of bones, insects have hard exoskeletons, which protect their soft bodies like a coat of armor! Insects’ three body parts are a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. Most insects have one pair of wings, but some have two pairs (four wings total). Their legs and wings are all attached to the middle body segment – the thorax. Insects breathe through tiny holes along the sides of their bodies called spiracles.
What is a Bug?
Certain kinds of insects are called “true bugs.” True bugs include aphids, water bugs, stink bugs, and plant bugs (like box elder bugs and cabbage bugs). True bugs have mouth parts that are used to suck (like a straw) and have outer wings that are usually slightly harder than the wings underneath. The outer wings often have some sort of pattern on them. They still have three main body parts, six legs, and two antennae, just like other insects.
Any creature that does not have all of the characteristics listed above is not an insect! What about spiders? They are a lot like insects, but spiders have two body parts and have eight legs, so they aren’t insects. Spiders belong to a group of animals called arachnids. Scorpions and ticks are also arachnids.
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