The important role of insects

The important role of insects

SOCIAL RELEVANT ISSUE

Background

Insects are by far the largest group of hexapod invertebrates within the arthropod phylum. They play a very important role in the environment and can be found anywhere in the world. They have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body composed of a head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes and one pair of antennae. Insects are the most diverse group of animals and represent more than half of all known living organisms. 

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Ecological Importance

Insects are essential components in the ecosystems. They perform many important functions like aerating the soil, pollination of blossoms, and controlling the insect and plant pests. For example, beetles play an important role in recycling nutrients back into the soil. Beetles are scavengers and feed on dead animals and fallen trees. They are great decomposers and help create topsoil; the nutrient-rich layer of soil that helps plants grow. Burrowing bugs, such as ants and beetles, can dig tunnels that provide water channels which benefit plants. While insects such as bees, wasps, butterflies, and ants are responsible for pollinating flowering plants. The diverse population of insects participates in controlling the size of certain insect populations. However, all insects participate in fertilizing the soil with the nutrients from their droppings.

Economic Importance

Insects have great economic significance. Some insects produce valuable substances, such as honey, wax, lacquer, and silk. Honeybees are important insect and have been raised by humans for many years for honey. The silkworm greatly affected human history in a positive way and are used to develop silk; it connected China to the rest of the world. And adult insects, such as crickets, as well as insect larvae, are also commonly used as fishing bait.

Insects as Food

Insects are also a food source for many amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, so their roles in the food chains/food webs are extremely important. Insects are also used for food by humans in some parts of the world. They are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are seen as delicacies in many third-world countries. The most popular insects eaten are cicadas, locusts, mantises, grubs, caterpillars, crickets, ants, wasps, grasshoppers, and beetles.

Insects Role in Medicine

Insects have also been used in medicine. Fly larvae (maggots) have been used to treat dead flesh wounds (gangrene). Maggots eat dead flesh and can be placed on a human’s dead flesh to clean up the wound and prevent infection. This type of treatment is still used in hospitals.

 

REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect

Importance of Insects
https://www.ck12.org/book/CK-12-Life-Science-Concepts-For-Middle-School/section/9.21/

 

 

Insect by Brisbane City Council is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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