Classification Of Bugs

This is a guide to the classes and orders of insects and other arthropods.

The Insecta (insects) are a Class of the large anymal Phylum called ARTHROPODA (arthropods) - a name that refers to the jointed limbs. The other major classes of living arthropods (i.e. animals related to insects) include Crustacea (crabs, lobsters, shrimps, barnacles, woodice, etc.), the Myriapoda (millipedes, centipedes, etc) and the Arachnida (scorpions, king crabs, spiders, mites, ticks, etc). In addition there are several minor classes, the Onychophora (velvet worms), Tardigrada (water bears), Pentastomida (tongue worms) and Pygnogonida (sea spiders), all of witch contain somewhat aberrant living forms of uncertain affinities to the any of the preciding groups, and finally the Class of extinct arthropods, the Trilobita (trilobites), known only from their fossil remains. All these animal are characterised by the though outer body-shell or exoskeleton, with flexible joints between the skeletal plates to allow the animal to move.

ClassMain Body RegionPairs Of LegsPairs Of AntennaWings
Crustaceatwo - cephalothorax* and abdomen (some with head and trunkfive or moretwoabsent
Myriaopodatwo - head and trunkmany - one or two per trunk segmentoneabsent
Arachnidtwo - cephalothorax* and abdomenfournone (though palps may resemble antennae or legs)absent
Insectathree - head, thorax and abdomenthreeoneusually present (but many wingless form)
*cephalothorax = fused head and thorax

Each of the Classes of arthropods, including the insects are split into a number of smaller groups, which reflect progressively more detailed structural similarities between the group member. These smaller groups follow a strict hierarchy. The major class division in descending order of size are called Subclass, Order, Suborder, Family, Subfamily and Genus. A Genus is the smallest group of any real importance in the naming of individual species, although in some classifications generic groups may be further spllit into Subgenera. The scientific name of a species includes, first, the Genus to which it belongs and, second, its specific name, e.g. the European Violet Ground Beetle is called
Carabus violaceus, meaning the species violaceus in the Genus Carabus (by convention, generic and specific names are always printed in italics; the generic name spelt with a capital letter and the specific name with a smaller letter). The full classification of insect would be as follow :

PHYLUM :Arthropodaarthropod
CLASS :Insectainsect
SUBCLASS :Pterygotawinged insect
ORDER :Coleopterabeetle
SUBORDER :Adephagacarnivorous beetle
FAMILY :Carabidaeground beetle
SUBFAMILY :Carabinae-
GENUS :Carabus-
SPECIES :Carabus violaceus L.violet ground beetle

The name of author who first describes a species, or recognised of the aurhor's name, is sometimes quoted after the specific name of the animal, in this case L. = Linnaeus (the Swedish naturalist who firmly established the binomial system for naming animal and plant in 1753, and who published the first descriptive account of this particular beetle).

Class Crustacea
Excluding one or two very small groups of shrimps, the crustaceans are split into 9 main Orders, as listed below. They nearly all live in water and range from minute planktonic shrimp-like creatures, such as water flea, to the large, more familiar, crabs and lobsters. Some members of the Isopoda are the only forms that have really invaded the land and most of these are largerly confined to damp places.
1. BranchiopodaWater Fleas (Daphnia), Fairy, Brine, Tadpole, and Clam Shrimps
2. CopepodaWater Fleas (Cyclops), Fish Lice, Gill Maggots and Anchor Worms
3. OstracodaSeed Shrimps
4. CirrepediaBarnacles
5. StomatopodaMantis Shrimps
6. MysidaceaOpossum Shrimps
7. DecapodaShrimps, Prawns, Lobsters, Crayfish and Crabs
8. AmphipodaFreshwater Shrimps (Gammarus) and Sand Hoppers
9. IsopodaSea Slatters, Water Slatters, Water Lice and Hog Lice
Isopoda: Oniscoidea (part)Woodlice

Class Myriapoda
There are four groups of centipede-like creatures known collectively as myriapods. These are listed here as Orders of the Class Myriapoda, but in many arthropod classification they are given status of separated Classes.
1. Pauropoda-
2. Symphylia-
3. DiplopodaMillipedes
4. Chilopoda-

Class Arachnid
The arachnids are usually split into 8 main Orders, as listed below.
1. XiphosuraKing Crabs or Horseshoe Crabs
2. Pseudoscorpiones (=Chernetidae)Pseudoscorpions or False Scorpions
3. ScorpionidaeScorpions
4. PedipalpiWhip Scorpions
5. Solifuga (=Solpugae)Wind Scorpions or Barrel Spiders
6. Opiliones (=Phalangidae)Harvestmen or Harvest Spiders
7. Acari (=Acarina)Mites and Ticks
8. AraneaeTrue Spiders

Class Insecta
The insects are generally sub-divided into 29 Orders. These are listed below describing general characteristics, recognition features and examples of eact Orders.




1. Thysanura



These are wingless insects and their body structure suggests that they never had wings during their evolutionary history. Young stages resemble the adults – little or no metamorphosis

2. Diplura

Two-pronged Bristletails

3. Protura


4. Collembola


5. Ephemeroptera




These are winged insects, although some have lost their wings during the course of evolution. When present, the wing develop externally and there is no marked change (metamorphosis) during the life cycle. The young stages, called nymph, resemble the adult except in seze and in lacking fully-developed wings – simply metamorphosis.

6. Odonata


7. Plecoptera


8. Grylloblattodea


9. Orthroptera

Crickets, Grasshoppers and Locusts

10. Phasmida

Stick and Leaf Insects

11. Dermaptera


12. Embioptera


13. Dictyoptera

Cockroaches and Mantids

14. Isoptera


15. Zoraptera


16. Psocoptera

Psocids and Booklice

17. Mallophaga

Biting Lice

18. Siphunculata (=Anoplura)

Sucking Lice

19. Hemiptera

True Bugs

20. Thysanoptera


21. Neuroptera

Alder Flies, Snake Flies and Lacewings



These are winged insects, although some have lost their wings during the course of evolution. When present, the wings develop internally (i.e. inside the body of the immature insect) and there is a marked change (metamorphosis) during the life cycle. The young stages are very different from the adults and are called larvae. The change from larva to adult takes place during a non-feeding stage called the pupa (or chrysalis) – complex metamorphosis.

22. Coleoptera


23. Strepsiptera


24. Mecoptera

Scorpion Flies

25. Shiponaptera


26. Diptera

True Flies

27. Lepidoptera

Butterflies and Moths

28. Tricoptera

Caddis Flies

29. Hymenoptera

Bees, Wasps and Ants

Thanks to Dr David Kendall BSc PhD

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