Types of Insects: Basic Insect Types

The word insect comes from the Greek word which translates as ‘sect’ which means segment. Insect is one of the animal groups that have segmented body and exoskeleton. This type of animals is called arthropod, animals with segmented body and paired jointed legs. What separates them from other arthropods is the fact that insects have six legs. Most insects possess wings while others have none.

Insect is popular for undergoing the process called metamorphosis, a wonderful process that changes an insect from egg to adulthood. In majority of insect species, the immature insect is different in form compared to the adult. This adaptation gives these animals the opportunity to exploit available food sources.

Insect Division

Taxonomically speaking, types of insects are grouped into orders like Coleoptera for beetles and Lepidoptera for butterflies. These orders are then subdivided into whether they have wings or none.

  1. Apterygota – insects with no wings
  2. Pterygota – insects that have wings

Here are some of the common types of insects according to orders

Common Insect Orders


ORDER BLATTODEA– cockroaches

The term Blattodea comes from "blatta", the Greek terminology for cockroach.

The word Coleoptera was derived from the Greek terms "koleos" meaning sheath and "ptera" meaning wings. These words refer to the modified front wings which serve as protective coverings for the membranous and delicate hind wings.

The word Collembola comes from the Greek "coll"  which means glue and "embol"  which means a wedge. This terms refer to a peg-shaped structure, the collophore, on the underside of the first abdominal segment.  The collophore was once thought to function as an adhesive organ.
DIPLURA – Diplurans
DIPTERA – Mosquito, Gnats, Flies
EMBIOPTERA - Webspinners
Order Hemiptera: The True Bugs
HEMIPTERA - "True" Bugs
HOMOPTERA – Leafhoppers
Order Hymenoptera: Ants, Bees and Wasps
HYMENOPTERA – Bee, Wasp, Ants
Order Isoptera: The Termites
ISOPTERA – Termites
Order Lepidoptera: Butterflies, Moths and Skippers
LEPIDOPTERA – Butterfly, Moth, Skippers
Order Mallophaga: The Chewing Louse
MALLOPHAGA - Chewing Louse
MANTODEA – Mantids
MEGALOPTERA – Alder,  Dobsonfly
Order Neuroptera: The Lacewings

NEUROPTERA – Lacewings

Order Odonata: The Dragonflies

ODONATA - Dragonflies

Order Orthoptera: Grasshoppers, Crickets and Katydids

ORTHOPTERA – Crickets, Grasshoppers, Katydids

Order Thysanoptera: The Thrips
Order Thysanura: The Silverfish
THYSANURA – Silverfish
Order Zoraptera: The Zorapterans
ZORAPTERA – Zoraptera

Some people identify the types of insects based on its habit (flying, crawling, running etc.) and its economic importance (insect pest, beneficial insects, neutral insects etc.). Whichever the case, it is very important to classify insects. This will not only avoid you from chaos and confusion, this will give us an idea how to deal with them judiciously.

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