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The phylum of arthropods contains many different animals. One group, the insects, is a class full of over one million species. Insects are from the class Insecta having three pairs of legs and a head, thorax, and abdomen with two pairs of wings in the adult stage. It’s hard to imagine, but ninety-five percent of all the animal species on the earth are insects! Insects are incredibly adaptable creatures and live almost everywhere on earth including deserts and even the Antarctic. The only place where insects are not commonly found is in oceans. The characteristics that all insects have include as follows: three main body segments – head, thorax, and abdomen; six jointed legs; two antennae; and an exoskeleton. Also, most insects have one or two pairs of wings. The head is used for mainly eating, sensing things, and gathering information. The thorax protects the body and gives support for the legs and/or wings. The abdomen contains the organs used for digestion and reproduction. Insects are also used for many things including genetic testing. The fruit fly Drosophila has answered many genetic and inheritance-related questions. A few of the most interesting facts I came across include that a cockroach can live for nine days without its head and that dragonflies can fly at speeds of up to thirty miles per hour. Some common examples of insects include honeybees, praying mantises, and termites.


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