1 Luna Moth My Home: I am found in trees of the eastern part of the United States and into Canada. I only fly at night and that is how I got my name, the word "luna" means moon. What I eat: As a caterpillar, I will eat hickory, sycamore and walnut leaves. I do not have a mouth and do not eat as an adult. What I look like: My wings are light green with yellow stripes that have a long wing tail. My wingspan is approximately five inches long and four inches wide. I am one of the largest moths in North America. How I am born: I will go through four stages of development: egg, caterpillar, pupa (cocoon), and adult. The female can lay 400 to 600 eggs, four to six eggs at a time on the underside of leaves. It can take up to two weeks for my egg to hatch into a lime green caterpillar with small orange spots along the sides. It takes about six weeks from the time my egg is laid to turn into an adult. Print-Friendly Version The adult Luna Moth does not have a mouth, which is why they only live about a week. Luna Moths are members of the giant silkworm family.
2 Mosquito My Home: I will usually remain within one mile of the place where my egg hatched. I am found most often near a water source; rivers, ponds, lakes, streams or pools of standing water. What I eat: As a larva, I eat the organic material in the water. As an adult, I will drink the nectar or juices from decaying materials. Only the female mosquito will bite. The female requires a blood meal to develop her eggs. What I look like: I am ½ to ¾ of an inch in length, gray in color with a long needle like mouth part that is used to drink my food. How I am born: I go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. A female will lay her eggs in water, 100 to 300 at a time. As a larva in the water, I breathe by using a tube I stick up above the surface like a snorkel. My life cycle from egg to adult is about a month. Female mosquitoes live up to 100 days. The males only live approximately 20 days. Print-Friendly Version Mosquitoes existed about 170 million years ago, during the time of the dinosaurs. There are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes.
3 Home > Insects > Praying Mantis Praying Mantis My Home: I am found in warm climates on bushes, trees, houses or any structure where I can find another insect for a meal. What I eat: I eat other insects. What I look like: I can be green or brown, and range 2 to 3 inches in length. I have a triangular shaped head with a long torso and grasshopper type back legs. My front legs have spines and are held upright when I am still, which makes it look like I am praying. How I am born: I go through three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. The female lays an egg case in the fall that contains up to 300 eggs. I hatch in the spring and emerge as a nymph, resembling a miniature adult, except without wings. I will develop into an adult by molting, shedding my skin. As an adult, my lifespan is less than a year. Print-Friendly Version They are the only insects that can turn their head side-to-side 180 degrees. Their eyes can see movement up to 60 feet away. The praying mantis bites the back of the neck of its victim to paralyze it before eating it. There are over 1,500 species of the praying mantis worldwide
4 Cicada My Home: I am found in North America and throughout other parts of the world. I spend most of my life underground as a nymph. For the month I am an adult, I can be found on trees, plants, fences, houses and almost anywhere. What I eat: As a nymph, I suck the sap from the roots of trees. As an adult, I have piercing sucking mouthparts and drink the juices from plant stems. What I look like: I have transparent wings that can have many patterns or colors, red eyes with a black body and will grow up to be about 3 inches long. How I am born: I go through three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. My egg is laid in tree branches and when I hatch I fall to the ground. In my larval stage I am called a nymph and I can live in the ground for many years. Some periodic broods or nests of cicada larvae live in the ground for 17 years! I emerge from the ground and attach myself to trees, plants, or structures until I pop out of my skin and become an adult. As an adult, I only live from 2 weeks to 40 days. Print-Friendly Version You can hear the cicada's song for up to ½ mile away and they only sing during the daytime. The cicada makes the loudest sound of any insect. There are approximately 2,500 cicada species in the world.
5 Common Black Ant My Home: I live in a colony, which can be in an anthill in the ground, a rotted log, an infested structure such as the foundation of a home or tree. What I eat: My jaws open sideways like scissors. I cannot eat 'whole' food, but instead use my jaws to squeeze out the juice and throw away the hull. I eat almost anything, from other insects to vegetation. What I look like: I have six legs and two eyes: which are made up of many smaller eyes (or lenses). I have two stomachs: the first for my food, the second I use to feed other ants. I have two antennae that I use for smell and touch. The queen ant has wings and so do the male ants, both for a short time. How I am born: I have four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The queen in my ant colony lays thousands of eggs. Worker ants take care of my egg until it hatches. I will live 45 to 60 days. Print-Friendly Version An ant can lift 10 to 20 times its own body weight. If a man weighed 180 pounds, he would have to lift 1,800 to 3,600 pounds to be as strong as an ant. Ants have the largest brain of any insect. The combined brain cells of a colony of ants have about the same number of brain cells as a human.
6 Firefly (Lightning Bug) My Home: I am found in humid, warm areas of the world, most often in rotting wood, by the edges of stream, ponds, drainage ditches or in some other moist area. The greatest numbers of fireflies are found in Asia and South America. What I eat: As a larva, I eat earthworms, snails and slugs. As an adult, I eat a variety of plants and other insects. What I look like: I am approximately ¾ of an inch long, and I usually am black with two red spots on my head, with my outer casing outlined in yellow. How I am born: I go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The eggs are deposited in the ground and hatch in about a month. As a larva, I feed all summer long and hibernate during the winter. The next summer, I emerge and in about six weeks become an adult. Some species can live for several years by hibernating as larva during the winter. Print-Friendly Version In the late evening the firefly will 'flash' a yellowish light to communicate with other fireflies. The males will flash approximately every five seconds and the females will flash approximately every two seconds. Many fireflies do not produce light.
7 Grasshopper My Home: I am found in gardens, fields, on crops and forests in almost all climates worldwide. What I eat: I am an herbivore, which means I eat only plants. What I look like: I come in many sizes and up to 5 inches in length. I can walk, hop great distances and even fly. I have five eyes and no ears, but can still hear with a special organ on my abdomen called a tympanal organ. My large back legs are used for hopping and making music. My smaller front legs are used for eating and walking. How I am born: I go through three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. My egg is laid in the fall and will hatch during the spring. I hatch into a nymph, which looks like an adult grasshopper, but without wings. I shed my skin many times to grow. When I become an adult I have developed wings. I will live about one year. Print-Friendly Version They make their sound (music) by rubbing their wings or legs together. They can jump 20 times the length of their body. That would be like a 6' man jumping 120 feet. There are over 18,000 different species worldwide.
8 Bumble Bee My Home: I live in small nests and do not swarm. The queen will spend her entire life in the nest. The male drones once hatched will mate with the queen, and fly off to live independent lives. What I eat: As an adult, I drink the nectar from flowers, or juices from fruit. I will only produce enough honey to feed the young bumblebees, which I store in honey pots. What I look like: I am ¾ of an inch in length, have four wings, a stinger at the end of my abdomen and am usually yellow and black in color. I appear to be 'furry' compared to other bees. I am bigger than a honey bee, but I am much less aggressive and usually will only attack if I feel my life is in danger. How I am born: Each spring the queen bee builds a nest out of wax. She deposits an egg in each cell and pollen for food, then seals up the cell. I hatch, go through larva and pupa stages, and develop into an adult worker bee, cutting my way out of the wax cell. This takes about 21 days. Print-Friendly Version If you find yourself in the presence of a bumblebee, just stand quietly. Once it realizes you're not a flower, it will move away. A bumble bee will die if it uses its stinger once.
9 Cricket My Home: I am found in North America and throughout other parts of the world. During the warm summer months I am found in fields, beneath rocks, or under some other yard debris. What I eat: I feed on plants and sometimes other insects. What I look like: I am related to the grasshopper and the katydid. I am approximately one inch in length, have great vision and with my compound eyes can see in many different directions at once. My wings are usually too small to allow me to fly. If I am a male cricket, I can use my wings to make a chirping song instead. How I am born: I go through three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. My egg is laid in the soil during the fall. When spring arrives my egg hatches. As a new cricket I look like a small adult. I grow each time I shed my skin (molt). I will live for about one year. Print-Friendly Version In many parts of the world, crickets are thought to bring good luck. It is rumored that crickets can tell the outside temperature: Count the number of chirps they make in one minute, divide by 4 and then add the number 40 to reach the outside temperature. There are about 900 species of crickets worldwide.
10 Centipede My Home: I prefer dark, damp environments and you will find me under leaves, bark, and logs or in your basement. I am most active at night unless I am disturbed in my hiding places. What I eat: I use my venomous jaws to catch and eat other insects, stunning or killing my prey with the poison. What I look like: I am flat, reddish brown in color and usually around 1 inch in length. My first pair of legs are modified venomous jaws that I use to catch other insects. If you pick me up, I may bite. I have a single pair of legs on every segment of my body. How I am born: I go through 2 stages of development: egg and small adult. My egg is laid in the soil during the warm summer months and the females care for my egg until I hatch. Adult centipedes will protect my egg nests. When I hatch I look just like a small adult. To grow I shed my skin which is called molting, adding a pair of legs each time I molt. I can live up to five years. Print-Friendly Version The name centipede means 'hundred legs'. In the tropical regions, some centipedes can get up to a foot long. A centipede is not an insect, it is a Chilopoda.
11 Madagascar hissing cockroaches hiss by exhaling air through breathing holes, a unique trait among insects. Fast Facts Type: Bug Diet: Herbivore Average life span in the wild: 2 to 5 years Size: 2 to 3 in (5 to 7.5 cm) long Weight: Up to 0.8 oz (22.7 g) Group name: Colony Did you know? A small colony of hissing cockroaches can eat a large carrot in a single day. Size relative to a paper clip: This insect looks and sounds like anything but a run-of-the-mill roach. Madagascar hissing cockroaches are one of many fascinating animal species to hail from the island of Madagascar. These cockroaches are shiny brown and oval-shaped, with no wings and a single pair of antennae. Males sport large horns, which give them an unusual and impressive appearance. Males use their horns in aggressive encounters reminiscent of battles between horned or antlered mammals. Rivals ram one another with their horns (or abdomens) and during the fight often unleash the amazing hisses that give the animal its name. Winning roaches hiss more than losers, so the sounds may be used to help determine a roach hierarchy. Hissing is also part of the cockroach's mating ritual, and can be used as an effective alarm cry. Most insects that make noise do so by rubbing their body parts together or by employing vibrating membranes. Madagascar hissing cockroaches, however, exhale air through their breathing holes. This audible use of the respiratory system is far more common in vertebrates. Like 99 percent of all cockroach species, Madagascar hissing cockroaches are not pests and do not inhabit human dwellings. These insects live on forest floors, where they hide amidst leaf litter, logs, and other detritus. At night, they become more active and scavenge for meals, feeding primarily on fruit or plant materials. The Madagascar hissing cockroach even begins its life in an unusual manner. Females create a cocoon-like egg case called an ootheca and carry their eggs (and neonatal nymphs) inside their bodies. They then bear living young as many as 60 nymph roaches.
12 Drywood Termite Drywood termites form colonies of up to 2,500 members. Drywood Termite colonies don t have workers. Younger termites, called "false workers", do all the work for the colony. Size: 3/8" to 1" Legs: 6 Shape: Long, narrow, oval Color: Light brown Common Name: Drywood Termite Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Wings: Yes Antenna: Yes Class: Insecta Order: Isoptera Family: Kalotermitidae Species: Varies DIET Drywood Termites eat wood, wallpaper, plastics and fabric made from plants. HABITAT Drywood Termite colonies are usually found in dry wood and they do not require moisture or contact with the soil. IMPACT Drywood termites can build nests and dig tunnels in buildings. These tunnels cause major damage because the wooden support beams can become weak and make the building lean or fall down. PREVENTION Make sure firewood and scrap wood is stored away from your house. Seal all cracks and crevices around the outside of your home.
13 Ladybugs, ladybirds, or lady beetles whatever one calls them are favored by farmers as voracious pesteaters. Fast Facts Type: Bug Diet: Omnivore Average life span in the wild: 2 to 3 years Size: 0.3 to 0.4 in (8 to 10 mm) Size relative to a paper clip: Many people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance. But farmers love them for their appetite. Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops. Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other planteating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed. By the end of its three-tosix-week life, a ladybug may eat some 5,000 aphids. Ladybugs are also called lady beetles or, in Europe, ladybird beetles. There are about 5,000 different species of these insects, and not all of them have the same appetites. A few ladybugs prey not on planteaters but on plants. The Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle are destructive pests that prey upon the crops mentioned in their names. Ladybugs appear as half-spheres, tiny, spotted, round or oval-shaped domes. They have short legs and antennae. Their distinctive spots and attractive colors are meant to make them unappealing to predators. Ladybugs can secrete a fluid from joints in their legs which gives them a foul taste. DEFENSE AGAINST PREDATORS: Their coloring is likely a reminder to any animals that have tried to eat their kind before: "I taste awful." A threatened ladybug may both play dead and secrete the unappetizing substance to protect itself.
14 MOSQUITO Beyond the nuisance factor, mosquitoes are carriers, or vectors, for some of humanity s most deadly illnesses, and they are public enemy number one in the fight against global infectious disease. Mosquito-borne diseases cause millions of deaths worldwide every year with a disproportionate effect on children and the elderly in developing countries. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes, but the members of three bear primary responsibility for the spread of human diseases. Anopheles mosquitoes are the only species known to carry malaria. They also transmit filariasis (also called elephantiasis) and encephalitis. Culex mosquitoes carry encephalitis, filariasis, and the West Nile virus. And Aedes mosquitoes, of which the voracious Asian tiger is a member, carry yellow fever, dengue, and encephalitis. Mosquitoes use exhaled carbon dioxide, body odors and temperature, and movement to home in on their victims. Only female mosquitoes have the mouth parts necessary for sucking blood. When biting with their proboscis, they stab two tubes into the skin: one to inject an enzyme that inhibits blood clotting; the other to suck blood into their bodies. They use the blood not for their own nourishment but as a source of protein for their eggs. For food, both males and females eat nectar and other plant sugars. Mosquitoes transmit disease in a variety of ways. In the case of malaria, parasites attach themselves to the gut of a female mosquito and enter a host as she feeds. In other cases, such as yellow fever and dengue, a virus enters the mosquito as it feeds on an infected human and is transmitted via the mosquito s saliva to a subsequent victim. The only silver lining to that cloud of mosquitoes in your garden is that they are a reliable source of food for thousands of animals, including birds, bats, dragonflies, and frogs. In addition, humans are actually not the first choice for most mosquitoes looking for a meal. They usually prefer horses, cattle, and birds. All mosquitoes need water to breed, so eradication and population-control efforts usually involve removal or treatment of standing water sources. Insecticide spraying to kill adult mosquitoes is also widespread. However, global efforts to stop the spread of mosquitoes are having little effect, and many scientists think global warming will likely increase their number and range. Fast Facts Type: Bug Diet: Carnivore Average life span in the wild: 2 weeks to 6 months Size: 1/8 to 3/4 in (0.3 to 2 cm) Weight: Average oz (2.5 mg) Group name: Swarm Did you know? The red bump and itching caused by a mosquito bite is actually an allergic reaction to the mosquito s saliva. Size relative to a paper clip:
15 Fast Facts Type: Bug Diet: Omnivore Average life span in the wild: Several months (the queen lives through winter) Size: 1.25 in (3.2 cm) Group name: Grist or hive Size relative to a paper clip: Hornet Hornets are wasps of the genus Vespa, closely related to (and resembling) yellowjackets. There are about 20 hornet species. Most live in tropical Asia, but the insects are also found in Europe, Africa, and North America, where the European hornet was introduced by humans. These social insects construct hives by chewing wood into a papery construction pulp. They mature from egg to adult inside the community hive. Queens dominate hornet hives and are the only females to reproduce. Most other hornets are asexual female workers that perform essential community duties such as building the hive, gathering food, feeding the young, and protecting the colony. Males are few and they have only one real role mating with the queen. Males typically die soon after their sexual task is complete. In colder climes, hornet nests are abandoned in winter and only new, young queens (and their eggs) survive the season by finding protected areas under tree bark or even inside human dwellings. In the spring, such a queen will begin a new nest, and soon her young will become workers and take over the chores of the new hive leaving the queen to tend to reproduction. She will produce more workers to expand the hive and then, before she dies, yield a breeding generation of new queens and males (drones) to restart the cycle of life. These insects eat some tree sap but they are also accomplished predators. A hornet hive will eliminate many flies, bees, and other insects. Workers defend their hive with potent stingers. Though these insects do not sting humans unless provoked, some people are allergic to their venom and can have very dangerous reactions to a sting. Hornets are often considered pests, particularly when they nest near humans, because they will defend a nest aggressively if they feel it is threatened. Though many people fear their sting, hornets usually get the worst of such encounters when their nests are poisoned or destroyed. In some areas, such as Germany, they are granted protection to preserve their role in the ecosystem.
16 Ant Fast Facts Type: Bug Diet: Omnivore Average life span in the wild: Several weeks to several years Size: 0.08 to 1 in (2 to 25 mm) Group name: Army or colony Size relative to a paper clip: Did you know?**interesting FACT Ants can lift and carry more than three times their own weight. Ants are common insects, but they have some unique capabilities. More than 10,000 known ant species occur around the world. They are especially prevalent in tropical forests, where they may be up to half of all the insects living in some locations. Ants look much like termites, and the two are often confused especially by nervous homeowners. However, ants have a narrow "waist" between the abdomen and thorax, which termites do not. Ants also have large heads, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws. These insects belong to the order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps and bees. Enthusiastically social insects, ants typically live in structured nest communities that may be located underground, in ground-level mounds, or in trees. Carpenter ants nest in wood and can be destructive to buildings. Some species, such as army ants, defy the norm and do not have permanent homes, instead seeking out food for their enormous colonies during periods of migration. Ant communities are headed by a queen or queens, whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Workers (the ants typically seen by humans) are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead forage for food, care for the queen's offspring, work on the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties. Male ants often have only one role mating with the queen. After they have performed this function, they may die. Ants communicate and cooperate by using chemicals that can alert others to danger or lead them to a promising food source. They typically eat nectar, seeds, fungus, or insects. However, some species have diets that are more unusual. Army ants may prey on reptiles, birds, or even small mammals. One Amazon species (Allomerus decemarticulatus) cooperatively builds extensive traps from plant fiber. These traps have many holes and, when an insect steps on one, hundreds of ants inside use the openings to seize it with their jaws. Another species, the yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), is capable of forming so-called supercolonies that house multiple queens. On Australia s Christmas Island, the accidental introduction of yellow crazy ants in the early 20th century has led to a destructive infestation. The ants are a significant threat to the island s endemic population of red crabs, which are displaced by the ants from their burrows or killed as they pass through ant nest sites during the crabs' large-scale annual migration from the forest to the coast.
17 Firefly (Lightning Bug) My Home: I am found in humid, warm areas of the world, most often in rotting wood, by the edges of stream, ponds, drainage ditches or in some other moist area. The greatest numbers of fireflies are found in Asia and South America. What I eat: As a larva, I eat earthworms, snails and slugs. As an adult, I eat pollen or other insects. What I look like: I am approximately ¾ of an inch long, and I usually am black with two red spots on my head, with my outer casing outlined in yellow. How I am born: I go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The eggs are deposited in the ground and hatch in about a month. As a larva, I feed all summer long and hibernate during the winter. The next summer, I emerge and in about six weeks become an adult. Some species can live for several years by hibernating as larva during the winter. In the late evening the firefly will 'flash' a yellowish light to communicate with other fireflies. The males will flash approximately every five seconds and the females will flash approximately every two seconds. Many fireflies do not produce light.
18 Cicada My Home: I am found in North America and throughout other parts of the world. I spend most of my life underground as a nymph. For the month I am an adult, I can be found on trees, plants, fences, houses and almost anywhere. What I eat: As a nymph, I suck the sap from the roots of trees. As an adult, I have piercing sucking mouthparts and drink the juices from plant stems. What I look like: I have transparent wings that can have many patterns or colors, red eyes with a black body and will grow up to be about 3 inches long. How I am born: I go through three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. My egg is laid in tree branches and when I hatch I fall to the ground. In my larval stage I am called a nymph and I can live in the ground for many years. Some periodic broods or nests of cicada larvae live in the ground for 17 years! I emerge from the ground and attach myself to trees, plants, or structures until I pop out of my skin and become an adult. As an adult, I only live from 2 weeks to 40 days. You can hear the cicada's song for up to ½ mile away and they only sing during the daytime. The cicada makes the loudest sound of any insect. There are approximately 2,500 cicada species in the world.
19 Dragonflies What do they look like? Immature dragonflies have six spindly legs, and a body that is only a few times longer than it is wide. They have two fairly big eyes. Some of their mouthparts are modified to shoot forward and grab prey. They breathe water through gills in their abdomen, and can squirt this water out fast to give themselves a quick jet-propelled movement. Adult dragonflies are easy to recognize. They have long thin bodies, very large eyes, and they hold their 2 pairs of wings out flat on either side. Their legs sometimes have many long stiff hairs. Immature dragonflies are usually brown or greenish, and sometimes have algae growing on them. Adult dragonflies can be very colorful, some are red, blue, yellow, or green. Where in the world do they live? Dragonflies are found all over the world. In Michigan there are 114 species What kind of habitat do they need? Immature dragonflies live in freshwater. They are most abundant an diverse in slow-moving freshwater that has no fish (small streams and ponds) but can be found in many shallow freshwater habitats. Adult dragonflies often stay near water, but sometimes travel away from water while hunting or on migration. They are fast fliers, so they tend to hunt in open areas, not in thick trees or other vegetation. Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams. Wetlands: marsh; swamp; bog. How do they grow? Dragonflies hatch from eggs in freshwater, and spent at least a few months (sometimes several years) as aquatic predators. As they grow they molt (shed their whole skin at once) many times. Once they are big enough, they crawl out of the water and the adult stage emerges from the skin of the nymph. Once they have transformed into the winged adult stage, the stop growing. Most dragonfly species spend the winter as nymphs in the water, but some migrate south, and spend the winter as adults. In few species that lay their eggs in the late summer or fall, the eggs don't hatch until spring. Dragonflies emerge from the water in the warm months of spring or summer. How long do they live?
20 Dragonflies live for months at least, and some live for several years as aquatic larvae before emerging and living for a few months as adults. How do they behave? Dragonflies need sunny warm weather to fly, usually the temperature must be over 65 C. If it is too cold or wet, they hide in vegetation. Adult male dragonflies often establish territories along the edges of ponds or streams. They only defend the territory against other males of their species. Some large dragonfly species migrate south to warmer climates at the end of the summer. Their offspring may then migrate north the following year. How do they communicate with each other? Adult dragonflies communicate visually much more than most other insects. Males fight aerial duels for territory, displaying their size and speed to each other. Mating pairs probably communicate by touch, possibly chemically too What do they eat? Dragonflies in their aquatic stage eat many kinds of small animals: aquatic insects, tadpoles, small fish, and other invertebrates. Adult dragonflies eat flying insects, especially mosquitoes and other true flies, but also aphids, smaller dragonflies, damselflies, and just about any other insects they can grab. What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten? Known predators frogs fish large spiders insect-eating birds Immature dragonflies avoid predators by hiding, and by jetting away if they have to. Adult dragonflies avoid predators with their quick and agile flight, and hide in vegetation when it is too cold to fly. What roles do they have in the ecosystem? Dragonflies are sometimes the top predators in ponds with no fish. Adult dragonflies help control populations of mosquitos and other flies. How do they interact with us? Dragonflies help control populations of biting flies like mosquitos.