Info

sucking or lapping mouthparts; some

insects; may sting

species social

complete

large, scaled wings; chewing mouthparts

pollinate flowers; larvae and pupae

in larvae, siphoning mouthparts in adults produce silk; larvae damage clothing and crops

Hymenoptera 100,000 ("membrane wing")

bees wasps ants

Lepidoptera 140,000

("scaled wing")

butterflies moths in larvae, siphoning mouthparts in adults produce silk; larvae damage clothing and crops figure 37-2

Some insects are harmful to humans, but most are beneficial. (a) Termites, such as Reticulitermes flavipes, can destroy a building by feeding on the wood. (b) The blister beetle, Lytta fulvipennis, cross-fertilizes plants by spreading pollen from flower to flower as it searches for nectar. Insects serve important roles in many agricultural systems.

figure 37-2

Some insects are harmful to humans, but most are beneficial. (a) Termites, such as Reticulitermes flavipes, can destroy a building by feeding on the wood. (b) The blister beetle, Lytta fulvipennis, cross-fertilizes plants by spreading pollen from flower to flower as it searches for nectar. Insects serve important roles in many agricultural systems.

(a) (b)

Insects and People

Because insects are so abundant, it is not surprising that they affect our lives in many ways. Some insects, such as grasshoppers, boll weevils, and corn earworms, compete with humans for food by eating crops. In fact, nearly every crop plant has some insect pest. Other insects spread diseases by biting humans or domesticated animals. For example, some fleas may transmit the bacteria that cause plague; some female mosquitoes may transmit the protists that cause malaria; and the tsetse fly may transmit the protists that cause African sleeping sickness. Termites, shown in Figure 37-2a, attack the wood in buildings, and some moths consume wool clothing and carpets.

Despite the problems some insects cause, it would be a serious mistake to think that the world would be better off without any insects. Insects play vital roles in almost all terrestrial and freshwater environments. They serve as food for numerous species of fish, birds, and other animals. Many kinds of insects, such as the beetle shown in Figure 37-2b, are essential for the cross-pollination of plants. It is estimated that insects pollinate 40 percent of the world's flowering plants, including many of those cultivated as food for humans and livestock. Insects also manufacture a number of commercially valuable products, including honey, wax, silk, and shellac. We tend to think of termites as destructive pests because of their effects on buildings, but by feeding on decaying wood, they also help recycle nutrients needed to maintain a healthy forest. Other insects recycle the nutrients contained in animal carcasses.

Oplan Termites

Oplan Termites

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