You are on page 1of 5


Ant, common name for members of a family of hymenopteran insects known for highly organized social life and a wingless worker caste. At least 8800 known species exist, with most found in the tropics. Ants are found throughout the world except in the polar regions and at the very highest altitudes. True ants are entirely different from the so called white ants or termites, which constitute a separate order. Ants are of great importance in the environment. !n the Amazon forest, the estimated biomass "amount of living matter# of all ants is four times the biomass of all the vertebrate animals combined. Ants contribute immensely to population control of their prey, recycling of plant material, seed dispersal, turning of the soil, and other ma$or ecological processes. The tremendous success of ants is attributable in part to their collective mastery of social organization, which allows flexibility in approaches to survival. %haracteristics Ants are closely related to wasps, as can be seen in their similar body structures the abdomen is $oined to the thorax by a slender stalk, or pedicel. The pedicel may be enlarged into one or two knobs. The antennae are typically elbowed or $ointed in the middle. &ome species of ants possess a functional sting that the workers use to defend the colony or themselves. 'any species secrete formic acid, a potent repellent. The $aws of worker ants are used for many tasks, including defense, nest building, and larval care. The form of the $aws is often very specific to the type of work done by the particular worker. (evelopment The four life stages of an ant are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The minute white or yellowish eggs laid by the )ueen hatch in two to six weeks and develop into white larvae, or grubs. After feeding a few weeks to several months, larvae become pupae, commonly but incorrectly called ant eggs. !n some species the pupae are naked* in others, they are covered with cocoons spun from a substance that they secrete at the end of the larval stage. +ueens and workers of some species are known to live longer than ,- years. 'ost ants are much shorter lived, living for only a few months. &ocial .iology All ants are social, living together in extended families of a few individuals in primitive species to half a million or more in the army ants.


%addisfly, common name for certain a)uatic insects that resemble small moths. The wings of caddisflies are covered with small hairs, distinguishing them from the scaled wings typical of moths. About /-00 species exist worldwide* some ,000 species are known in 0orth America. The adults are ,.- to 1.- cm "0.2 to , in# long. 'ost have a habit of nocturnal flight and are found near fresh water* a few are marine. %addisfly eggs are deposited in green, gelatinous masses and are usually attached to water plants. The larvae, called caddisworms, caseworms, or cadbait "from their wide use for bait by anglers#, are a)uatic. The caddisworm is elongate with a small, hard head and a soft thorax and abdomen. 3or protection the larva lives in a characteristic tubular silk case covered with sand grains, bits of shell, twigs, or leaves. 'ost caddisworms are herbivorous* several species, however, also eat small a)uatic animals, which they catch in nets spun from secreted silk and anchored in running water. After several months in the larval stage, the caddisworm closes the mouth of the case and pupates. At the end of the pupal stage the pupa rises to the water4s surface, and the adult )uickly emerges and flies away. &cientific classification5 %addisflies belong to the order Trichoptera.


3lea, common name for small, bloodsucking, wingless insects. Adult fleas, which feed on the blood of their hosts, are surface parasites on the skin of humans and other mammals and, less often, on birds. 3leas are found all over the world. Their eggs are laid under carpets, in the folds of tapestry, in refuse piles, and in other places that provide safety and ade)uate nutrition. !n 2 to ,1 days the eggs hatch, becoming larvae with biting mouth parts. After a few days of voracious feeding upon organic refuse, the larvae spin cocoons and enter a pupal stage. The adult flea emerges from the cocoon in a few weeks. Adult fleas, which are slightly more than 0.6 cm "more than 0., in# long, have broad, rather flat bodies, short antennae, and piercing and sucking mouth parts* their eyes are either minute or absent. Their long, powerful legs enable them to leap relatively high into the air. &everal flea species infest household pets and domestic animals. The dog flea and the cat flea are two of the most common species, both of which are parasites also on human beings, poultry, and livestock. The human flea, the species fre)uently found most on people, is distributed throughout the world, but is uncommon in the 7nited &tates. The dog flea, cat flea, and human flea are all intermediate hosts of a common cat and dog parasite, the cucumber tapeworm. Tapeworm eggs are deposited in fecal matter, and some of these eggs may cling to the hair of the primary host. 3leas swallow the eggs, which then undergo some development in the flea. !f an animal or person accidentally swallows an infected flea, an adult tapeworm develops in the new host. The rat fleas, in the Tropics and in 8urope, are important carriers of bubonic plague. The sticktight flea is another common pest, noted for its habit of clinging tenaciously to its host. (og eczema is usually associated with the presence of fleas. 3leas are controlled by destroying the adults and making breeding places unsuitable for larval life. Adult fleas are destroyed by bathing the host with strong soap and by applying insecticides or petroleum. These agents must be properly used to avoid in$ury to the infected animal or person. &cientific classification5 3leas constitute the order &iphonaptera. (og fleas are classified as %tenocephalides canis, cat fleas as %tenocephalides felis, and human fleas as 9ulex irritans. The rat flea of the Tropics is classified as :enopsylla cheopis* the rat flea of 8urope as %eratophyllus fasciatus. The sticktight flea is classified as 8chidnophaga gallinacea.


;ouse, common name for several species of small, wingless insects. Three types of true, or sucking, lice infest humans5 the crab louse, a broad, grayish white insect, about 0.6 cm "about 0.,6 in# long, usually found in the hairs of the pubic region* and two slender, gray lice, also about 0.6 cm long5 the body louse, usually found in clothing, and the head louse, found in the hairs of the head. The eggs, or nits, are attached to the hair or deposited in the seams of clothing. These species subsist on the blood of humans* the body louse is a vector in the transmission of several diseases. True lice infecting domestic animals include the hog louse, the horse louse, two species of cattle lice, and the dog louse. The biting lice, or bird lice, are insects differing from the true lice in that they possess biting "rather than sucking# mouthparts. They feed on the feathers and skin of birds and occasionally on the skin of other animals. The chicken louse is a species about 0.6 cm "about 0.,6 in# long, common on domestic fowl. There are also several species that are parasitic on turkeys and pigeons. The name louse is also applied to several other small insects, such as the plant lice, bark lice, and book lice. The wood louse "also known as sowbug#, a crustacean, is so called because of its superficial resemblance to lice. &cientific classification5 True lice belong to the order 9hthiraptera. The crab louse is classified as 9hthirus pubis, the body louse as 9ediculus humanus humanus, the head louse as 9ediculus humanus captitis, and the hog louse as <aematopinus suis. The horse louse is classified as <aematopinus asini and the cattle lice as <aematopinus eurysternus and ;inognathus vituli. The dog louse is classified as ;inognathus setosus. The biting, or bird, lice make up the suborder 'allophaga. The chicken louse is classified as 'enopon gallinae. 9lant, bark, and book lice belong to the order 9socoptera.


'ayfly, common name for delicate insects that often emerge in great numbers from lakes, streams, and rivers. The approximately ,-00 species range in length from , to 6 cm "0./ to ,.1 in# and have two or three long tail filaments* transparent, upright forewings* short antennae* and bulging, light sensitive eyes. .oth adults and larvae are important food of trout* because of this, artificial lures have been patterned after mayflies for more than /00 years. 'ayflies usually spend one to three years as underwater nymphs, breathing by means of gills and feeding on microscopic plant life. After ,0 to 10 molts they emerge from their nymphal skins on the water surface and fly to nearby plants, where they go through a last molt, shedding their downy, waterproof skins. "'ayflies are the only insects to molt in a winged stage.# 0ow fully adult, they cannot feed, but instead they form male and female swarms that mate over water. After mating, the males die* the females live a few more hours, depositing the eggs in water and thus starting the next generation of nymphs. 'ayflies are among the oldest insect groups and have been found as fossils dating from about 600 million years ago. At lake and river resorts, expiring mayflies often accumulate in =snowfalls= under outdoor lighting. &cientific classification5 'ayflies make up the order 8phemeroptera.