Crickets, of the family Gryllidae, are insects related to bush crickets, more distantly, to grasshoppers. The Gryllidae have cylindrical bodies, round heads, long antennae. Behind the head is a robust pronotum; the abdomen ends in a pair of long cerci. The hind legs have enlarged femora; the front wings are adapted as tough, leathery elytra, some crickets chirp by rubbing parts of these together. The hind wings folded when not in use for flight; the largest members of the family are the bull crickets, which are up to 5 cm long. More than 900 species of crickets are described, they occur in varied habitats from grassland and forests to marshes and caves. Crickets are nocturnal, are best known for the loud, chirping song of males trying to attract females, although some species are mute; the singing species have good hearing, via the tympana on the tibiae of the front legs. Crickets appear as characters in literature; the Talking Cricket features in Carlo Collodi's 1883 children's book, The Adventures of Pinocchio, in films based on the book.
The eponymous insect is central to Charles Dickens's 1845 The Cricket on the Hearth, as is the chirping insect in George Selden's 1960 The Cricket in Times Square. Crickets are celebrated in poems by William Wordsworth, John Keats, Du Fu, they are kept as pets in countries from China to Europe, sometimes for cricket fighting. Crickets are efficient at converting their food into body mass, making them a candidate for food production, they are used as food in Southeast Asia. They are used to feed carnivorous pets and zoo animals. In Brazilian folklore, crickets feature as omens of various events. Crickets are small to medium-sized insects with cylindrical, somewhat vertically flattened bodies; the head is spherical with long slender antennae arising from cone-shaped scapes and just behind these are two large compound eyes. On the forehead are three ocelli; the pronotum is trapezoidal in shape and well-sclerotinized. It has neither dorsal or lateral keels. At the tip of the abdomen is a pair of long cerci, in females, the ovipositor is cylindrical and narrow, smooth and shiny.
The femora of the back pair of legs are enlarged for jumping. The tibiae of the hind legs are armed with a number of moveable spurs, the arrangement of, characteristic of each species; the tibiae of the front legs bear one or more tympani. The wings lie flat on the body and are variable in size between species, being reduced in size in some crickets and missing in others; the fore wings are elytra made of tough chitin, acting as a protective shield for the soft parts of the body and in males, bear the stridulatory organs for the production of sound. The hind pair is folding fan-wise under the fore wings. In many species, the wings are not adapted for flight; the largest members of the family are the 5 cm -long bull crickets which excavate burrows a metre or more deep. The tree crickets are delicate white or pale green insects with transparent fore wings, while the field crickets are robust brown or black insects. Crickets have a cosmopolitan distribution, being found in all parts of the world with the exception of cold regions at latitudes higher than about 55° North and South.
They have colonised many large and small islands, sometimes flying over the sea to reach these locations, or conveyed on floating timber or by human activity. The greatest diversity occurs in tropical locations, such as in Malaysia, where 88 species were heard chirping from a single location near Kuala Lumpur. A greater number than this could have been present. Crickets are found in many habitats. Members of several subfamilies are found in the upper tree canopy, in bushes, among grasses and herbs, they occur on the ground and in caves, some are subterranean, excavating shallow or deep burrows. Some make home in rotting wood, certain beach-dwelling species can run and jump over the surface of water. Crickets are defenceless, soft-bodied insects. Most species are nocturnal and spend the day hidden in cracks, under bark, inside curling leaves, under stones or fallen logs, in leaf litter, or in the cracks in the ground that develop in dry weather; some excavate their own shallow holes in rotting wood or underground and fold in their antennae to conceal their presence.
Some of these burrows are temporary shelters, used for a single day, but others serve as more permanent residences and places for mating and laying eggs. Crickets burrow by loosening the soil with the mandibles and carrying it with the limbs, flicking it backwards with the hind legs or pushing it with the head. Other defensive strategies are the use of camouflage and aggression; some species have adopted colourings and patterns that make it difficult for predators that hunt by sight to detect them. They tend to be dull shades of brown and green that blend into their background, desert species tend to be pale; some species can fly, but the mode of flight tends to be clumsy, so the most usual response to danger is to scuttle away to find a hiding place. Most male
Human interactions with insects
Human interactions with insects include both a wide variety of uses, whether practical such as for food and dyestuffs, or symbolic, as in art and literature, negative interactions including serious damage to crops and extensive efforts to eliminate insect pests. Academically, the interaction of insects and society has been treated in part as cultural entomology, dealing with "advanced" societies, in part as ethnoentomology, dealing with "primitive" societies, though the distinction is weak and not based on theory. Both academic disciplines explore the parallels and influence of insects on human populations, vice versa, they are rooted in anthropology and natural history, as well as the study of insects. Other cultural uses of insects, such as biomimicry, do not lie within these academic disciplines. More people make a wide range of uses of insects, both practical and symbolic. On the other hand, attitudes to insects are negative, extensive efforts are made to kill them; the widespread use of insecticides has failed to exterminate any insect pest, but has caused resistance to commonly-used chemicals in a thousand insect species.
Practical uses include as food, in medicine, for the valuable textile silk, for dyestuffs such as carmine, in science, where the fruit fly is an important model organism in genetics, in warfare, where insects were used in the Second World War to spread disease in enemy populations. One insect, the honey bee, provides honey, royal jelly, propolis and an anti-inflammatory peptide, melittin. Medical uses of insects include maggot therapy for wound debridement. Over a thousand protein families have been identified in the saliva of blood-feeding insects. Symbolic uses include roles in art, in music, in film, in literature, in religion, in mythology. Insect costumes are worn for parties and carnivals. Culture consists of the social behaviour and norms found in human societies and transmitted through social learning. Cultural universals in all human societies include expressive forms like art, dance, ritual and technologies like tool usage, cooking and clothing; the concept of material culture covers physical expressions such as technology and art, whereas immaterial culture includes principles of social organization, philosophy and science.
This article describes. Ethnoentomology developed from the 19th century with early works by authors such as Alfred Russel Wallace and Henry Walter Bates. Hans Zinsser's classic Rats and History showed that insects were an important force in human history. Writers like William Morton Wheeler, Maurice Maeterlinck, Jean Henri Fabre described insect life and communicated their meaning to people "with imagination and brilliance". Frederick Simon Bodenheimer's Insects as Human Food drew attention to the scope and potential of entomophagy, showed a positive aspect of insects. Food is the most studied topic in ethnoentomology, followed by medicine and beekeeping. In 1968, Erwin Schimitschek claimed cultural entomology as a branch of insect studies, in a review of the roles insects played in folklore and culture including religion, food and the arts. In 1984, Charles Hogue covered the field in English and from 1994 to 1997, Hogue's The Cultural Entomology Digest served as a forum on the field. Hogue argued that "Humans spend their intellectual energies in three basic areas of activity: surviving, using practical learning.
Entomology has long been concerned with survival and scientific study, but the branch of investigation that addresses the influence of insects in literature, music, the arts, interpretive history and recreation has only become recognized as a distinct field through Schimitschek's work. Hogue set out the boundaries of the field by saying: "The narrative history of the science of entomology is not part of cultural entomology, while the influence of insects on general history would be considered cultural entomology." He added: "Because the term "cultural" is narrowly defined, some aspects included in studies of human societies are excluded."Darrell Addison Posey, noting that the boundary between cultural entomology and ethnoentomology is difficult to draw, cites Hogue as limiting cultural entomology to the influence of insects on "the essence of humanity as expressed in the arts and humanities". Posey notes further that cultural anthropology is restricted to the study of "advanced", literate societies, whereas ethnoentomology studies "the entomological concerns of'primitive' or'noncivilized' societies".
Posey states at once. Brian Morris criticises the way that anthropologists treat non-Western attitudes to nature as monadic and spiritualist, contrast this "in gnostic fashion" with a simplistic treatment of Western 17th century, mechanistic attitude. Morris considers this "quite unhelpful, if not misleading", offers instead his own research into the multiple ways that the people of Malawi relate to insects and other animals: "pragma
Gonimbrasia belina is a species of emperor moth, native to the warmer parts of southern Africa. Its large edible caterpillar, known as the madora or mopane worm or amacimbi, feeds but not on mopane tree leaves. Mopane worms are an important source of protein for millions in the region; the species was first described by John O. Westwood in 1849; the mopane worm is so-called in English because it is found on the mopane tree, Colophospermum mopane. Other vernacular names for the caterpillars include: Botswana Kalanga: mashonja Tswana: phane South Africa Northern Sotho: mašotša Venda: mashonzha Tsonga: matamani or masonja Southern Ndebele: iinnondo Zambia muyaya finkubala Zimbabwe Northern Ndebele: macimbi Shona: madora, masodya or mashonja Kalanga: mahonja Namibia Ovambo: omagungu Democratic Republic of the Congo Kongo: mingoloThe Latin name is sometimes given as Imbrasia belina, rather than Gonimbrasia belina; the moths are large with a wingspan of 120 mm. Wings are fawn coloured through shades of green and brown to red, with two black and white bands isolating the eyespots.
An orange eyespot is present on each hindwing. Males moths have feathery antennae. Larvae are black, peppered with round scales in indistinct alternating whitish green and yellow bands, armed with short black or reddish spines covered in fine white hairs. Larvae eat a wide range of plants including mopane, Carissa grandiflora, Ficus, Sclerocarya caffra and Trema. Mopane worm outbreaks defoliate shrubs. Widespread. Common in semi-desert and grassland. Like most caterpillars, the mopane worm's life cycle starts when it hatches in the summer, after which it proceeds to eat the foliage in its immediate vicinity; as the larva grows, it moults four times in its five larval stages, after which the mopane worm is considered most desirable for harvesting. Provided that the larva has not been harvested after its fourth moult, it burrows underground to pupate, the stage at which it undergoes complete transformation to become the adult moth; this stage happens over winter, for a duration of 6 to 7 months, whereafter it emerges at the beginning of summer.
The adult moths live only for three to four days, during which time they lay their eggs. Like many animals lower down on the food chain, the mopane worms and their eggs fall prey to various predators as well as disease. More than 40% of a mopane worm's eggs will be attacked by various parasites, the caterpillars themselves are susceptible to infection from a virus that has a high mortality rate; the worms' main predators are various birds and humans, which rely on the caterpillars for sustenance. Although the mopane worm feeds chiefly on the mopane tree, it is not limited to this diet, can feed on many other trees that are indigenous to the same regions, including the leaves of the mango tree, thus the mopane worm is scattered over a large area. As the larval stage of the mopane worm is short, in contrast to other browsing caterpillars, the extensive damage to foliage is survived by the tree, in time to be replenished for the next generation of mopane worms. Like most caterpillars, the mopane worm is a voracious eater, will continue to eat - non-stop - until it reaches the next stage of its life cycle, when it burrows underground to undergo metamorphosis.
Mopane worms are hand picked in the wild by women and children. In the bush, the caterpillars are not considered to belong to the landowner, but around a house, permission should be sought from the resident. Chavanduka describes women in Zimbabwe tying a piece of bark to particular trees to establish ownership, or moving the young caterpillars to trees nearer home; when the caterpillar has been picked, it is pinched at the tail end to rupture the innards. The picker squeezes it like a tube of toothpaste or lengthwise like a concertina, whips it to expel the slimy, green contents of the gut; the traditional method of preserving mopane worms is to dry them in the sun or smoke them, whereby they gain extra flavour. The industrial method is to can the caterpillars. Tins of mopane worms can be found in rural markets around southern Africa. Dried mopane worms can be eaten raw as a crisp snack. Alternatively, mopane worms can be soaked to rehydrate, before being fried until they are crunchy, or cooked with onion and spices and served with pap or sadza.
The flesh is yellow, the gut may still contain fragments of dried leaf, not harmful to humans. The taste of dried leaves, if not removed, is somewhat reminiscent of tea leaves. Dried mopane worms are canned/packaged in tomato sauce or chili sauce to enhance the flavour. In November 2015, a Cornell team of food scientists placed third in Brisbane, Australia, at the 2015 Global Business Challenge, by presenting the economic and nutritional benefits of transforming proteins from mopane worms into food; the harvesting and sale of mopane worms is a multi-million rand industry in southern Africa. The principal producers are Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe; the caterpillars are not domesticated, are picked wherever they occur naturally. It is one of the region's most economically important insects. In the 1990s, hundreds of tons were exported from South Africa each year, it is estimated that South Africa alone trades 1.6 million kilogrammes of mopane worm annually, that Botswana's involvement in this industry nets it $8 million annually.
Mopane worms are considered to be a profitable har
A dragonfly is an insect belonging to the order Odonata, infraorder Anisoptera. Adult dragonflies are characterized by large, multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong, transparent wings, sometimes with coloured patches, an elongated body. Dragonflies can be mistaken for the related group, which are similar in structure, though lighter in build. Dragonflies are agile fliers. Many dragonflies have brilliant iridescent or metallic colours produced by structural coloration, making them conspicuous in flight. An adult dragonfly's compound eyes have nearly 24,000 ommatidia each. Fossils of large dragonfly ancestors in the Protodonata are found from 325 million years ago in Upper Carboniferous rocks. There are about 3,000 extant species. Most are tropical, with fewer species in temperate regions. Dragonflies are predators, both in their aquatic larval stage, they are known as nymphs or naiads, as adults. Several years of their lives are spent as nymphs living in fresh water, they are fast, agile fliers, sometimes migrating across oceans, live near water.
They have a uniquely complex mode of reproduction involving indirect insemination, delayed fertilization, sperm competition. During mating, the male grasps the female at the back of the head, the female curls her abdomen under her body to pick up sperm from the male's secondary genitalia at the front of his abdomen, forming the "heart" or "wheel" posture. Loss of wetland habitat threatens dragonfly populations around the world. Dragonflies are represented in human culture on artifacts such as pottery, rock paintings, Art Nouveau jewellery, they are used in traditional medicine in Japan and China, caught for food in Indonesia. They are symbols of courage and happiness in Japan, but seen as sinister in European folklore, their bright colours and agile flight are admired in the poetry of Lord Tennyson and the prose of H. E. Bates. Dragonflies and their relatives are an ancient group; the oldest fossils are of the Protodonata from the 325 Mya Upper Carboniferous of Europe, a group that included the largest insect that lived, Meganeuropsis permiana from the early Permian, with a wingspan around 750 mm.
The Protanisoptera, another ancestral group which lacks certain wing vein characters found in modern Odonata, lived from the Early to Late Permian age until the end Permian event, are known from fossil wings from current day United States and Australia, suggesting they might have been cosmopolitan in distribution. The forerunners of modern Odonata are included in a clade called the Panodonata, which include the basal Zygoptera and the Anisoptera. Today there are some 3000 species extant around the world; the relationships of anisopteran families are not resolved as of 2013, but all the families are monophyletic except the Corduliidae. On the cladogram, dashed lines indicate unresolved relationships; the distribution of diversity within the biogeographical regions are summarised below. Dragonflies live on every continent except Antarctica. In contrast to the damselflies, which tend to have restricted distributions, some genera and species are spread across continents. For example, the blue-eyed darner Rhionaeschna multicolor lives all across North America, in Central America.
The globe skimmer Pantala flavescens is the most widespread dragonfly species in the world. Most Anisoptera species are tropical, with far fewer species in temperate regions; some dragonflies, including libellulids and aeshnids, live in desert pools, for example in the Mojave Desert, where they are active in shade temperatures between 18 and 45 °C. Dragonflies live from sea level up to the mountains, their altitudinal limit is about 3700 m, represented by a species of Aeshna in the Pamirs. Dragonflies become scarce at higher latitudes, they are not native to Iceland, but individuals are swept in by strong winds, including a Hemianax ephippiger native to North Africa, an unidentified darter species. In Kamchatka, only a few species of dragonfly including the treeline emerald Somatochlora arctica and some aeshnids such as Aeshna subarctica are found because of the low temperature of the lakes there; the treeline emerald lives in northern Alaska, within the Arctic Circle, making it the most northerly of all dragonflies.
Dragonflies are heavy-bodied, strong-flying insects that hold their win
Mayflies are aquatic insects belonging to the order Ephemeroptera. This order is part of an ancient group of insects termed the Palaeoptera, which contains dragonflies and damselflies. Over 3,000 species of mayfly are known worldwide, grouped into over 400 genera in 42 families. Mayflies exhibit a number of ancestral traits that were present in the first flying insects, such as long tails and wings that do not fold flat over the abdomen, their immature stages are aquatic fresh water forms, whose presence indicates a clean, unpolluted environment. They are unique among insect orders in having a winged terrestrial adult stage, the subimago, which moults into a sexually mature adult, the imago. Mayflies "hatch" from spring to autumn, not in May, in enormous numbers; some hatches attract tourists. Fly fishermen make use of mayfly hatches by choosing artificial fishing flies that resemble the species in question. One of the most famous English mayflies is Rhithrogena germanica, the fisherman's "March brown mayfly".
The brief lives of mayfly adults have been noted by naturalists and encyclopaedists since Aristotle and Pliny the Elder in classical times. The German engraver Albrecht Dürer included a mayfly in his 1495 engraving The Holy Family with the Mayfly to suggest a link between heaven and earth; the English poet George Crabbe compared the brief life of a daily newspaper with that of a mayfly in the satirical poem "The Newspaper", both being known as "ephemera". Immature mayflies are referred to as nymphs or naiads. In contrast to their short lives as adults, they may live for several years in the water, they have an elongated, cylindrical or somewhat flattened body that passes through a number of instars and increasing in size each time. When ready to emerge from the water, nymphs vary depending on species, from 3 to 30 mm; the head has a tough outer covering of sclerotin with various hard ridges and projections. There are two large compound eyes, three ocelli and a pair of antennae of variable lengths, set between or in front of the eyes.
The mouthparts are designed for chewing and consist of a flap-like labrum, a pair of strong mandibles, a pair of maxillae, a membranous hypopharynx and a labium. The thorax consists of three segments – the hindmost two, the mesothorax and metathorax, being fused; each segment bears a pair of legs which terminate in a single claw. The legs are robust and clad in bristles, hairs or spines. Wing pads develop on the mesothorax, in some species, hindwing pads develop on the metathorax; the abdomen consists of ten segments, some of which may be obscured by a large pair of operculate gills, a thoracic shield or the developing wing pads. In most taxa up to seven pairs of gills arise from the top or sides of the abdomen, but in some species they are under the abdomen, in a few species the gills are instead located on the coxae of the legs, or the bases of the maxillae; the abdomen terminates in a pair of, or slender thread-like projections. The final moult of the nymph is not to the full adult form, but to a winged stage called a subimago that physically resembles the adult, but, sexually immature and duller in colour.
The subimago has cloudy wings fringed with minute hairs. Subimagos are poor fliers, lack the colour patterns used to attract mates. After a period lasting one or two days but in some species only a few minutes, the subimago moults to the full adult form, making mayflies the only insects where a winged form undergoes a further moult. Adult mayflies, or imagos, are primitive in structure, exhibiting traits that were present in the first flying insects; these include long wings that do not fold flat over the abdomen. Mayflies are delicate-looking insects with one or two pairs of membranous, triangular wings, which are extensively covered with veins. At rest, the wings are held upright, like those of a butterfly; the hind wings may be vestigial or absent. The second segment of the thorax, which bears the forewings, is enlarged to hold the main flight muscles. Adults have short, flexible antennae, large compound eyes, three ocelli and non-functional mouthparts. In most species, the males' eyes are large and the front legs unusually long, for use in locating and grasping females during the mid-air mating.
In the males of some families, there are two large cylindrical "turban" eyes that face upwards in addition to the lateral eyes. They are capable of detecting ultraviolet light and are thought to be used during courtship to detect females flying above them. In some species, all the legs are functionless, apart from the front pair in males; the abdomen is long and cylindrical, with ten segments and two or three long cerci at the tip. Uniquely among insects, mayflies possess paired genitalia, with the male having two aedeagi and the female two gonopores. Mayflies are hemimetabolous, they are unique among insects. Mayflies at the subimago stage are a favourite food of many fish, many fishing flies are
Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, a species of darkling beetle. Like all holometabolic insects, they go through four life stages: egg, larva and adult. Larvae measure about 2.5 cm or more, whereas adults are between 1.25 and 1.8 cm in length. The mealworm beetle breeds prolifically. Mating is a three-step process: the male chasing the female, mounting her and inserting his aedeagus, injecting a sperm packet. Within a few days the female lays about 500 eggs. After four to 19 days the eggs hatch. Many predators target the eggs, including reptiles. During the larval stage, the mealworm feeds on vegetation and dead insects and molts between each larval stage, or instar. After the final molt it becomes a pupa; the new pupa is whitish, it turns brown over time. After 3 to 30 days, depending on environmental conditions such as temperature, it emerges as an adult beetle. A sex pheromone released by male mealworms has been identified. Inbreeding reduces the attractiveness of sexual pheromone signaling by male mealworms.
Females are more attracted to the odors produced by outbred males than the odors produced by inbred males. The reduction of male signaling capability may be due to increased expression of homozygous deleterious recessive alleles caused by inbreeding. Tenebrio molitor is used for biological research, its large size, ease of rearing and handling, status as a non-model organism make it useful in proof of concept studies in the fields of basic biology, evolution and physiology. Mealworms have been considered pests, because their larvae feed on stored grains. Mealworms originated in the Mediterranean region, but are now present in many areas of the world as a result of human trade and colonization; the oldest archaeological records of mealworms can be traced to Bronze Age Turkey. Records from the British Isles and northern Europe are from a date, mealworms are conspicuously absent from archaeological finds from ancient Egypt. Mealworms are edible for humans, are consumed in a practice known as entomophagy.
Mealworms have been consumed in many Asian countries in Southeast Asia. They are found in food markets and sold as street food alongside other edible insects. Baked or fried mealworms have been marketed as a healthy snack food in recent history, though the consumption of mealworms goes back centuries, they may be reared on fresh oats, wheat bran or grain, with sliced potato, carrots, or apple as a moisture source. The small amount of space required to raise mealworms has made them popular in many parts of Southeast Asia. Mealworms have been incorporated into tequila-flavored novelty candies. Mealworms are not traditionally served in tequila, the "tequila worm" in certain mezcals is the larva of the moth Hypopta agavis. Mealworms are used as a pet food for captive reptiles and birds, they are provided to wild birds in bird feeders during the nesting season. Mealworms are useful for their high protein content, they are used as fishing bait. They are commercially available in bulk and are available in containers with bran or oatmeal for food.
Commercial growers incorporate a juvenile hormone into the feeding process to keep the mealworm in the larval stage and achieve an abnormal length of 2 cm or greater. Mealworm larva contain significant nutrient content, a feature that has made them viable as food and feed. For every 100 grams of raw mealworm larva, 206 calories and anywhere from 14 to 25 grams of protein are contained. Mealworm larva contain levels of potassium, sodium, selenium and zinc that rival that of beef. Mealworms contain essential linoleic acids as well, they have greater vitamin content by weight compared to beef, B12 not included. In 2015, it was discovered that mealworms are capable of degrading polystyrene into usable organic matter at a rate of about 34-39 milligrams per day. Additionally, no difference was found between mealworms fed only styrofoam and mealworms fed conventional foods, during the one-month duration of the experiment. Microorganisms inside the mealworm's gut are responsible for degrading the polystyrene, with mealworms given the antibiotic gentamicin showing no signs of degradation.
Isolated colonies of the mealworm's gut microbes, have proven less efficient at degradation than the bacteria within the gut. No attempts to commercialize this discovery have been made. Zond 5, a 1968 space mission on which mealworms were among the first earthlings to fly to the Moon Darkling Beetle/Mealworm Information. Center for Insect Science Education Outreach. University of Arizona. Mealworms and Darkling Beetles. FOSSweb. Mealworms.org