What is an insect?

While we tend to think of all “creepy crawlies” as insects, it’s important to know that insects are in a very distinct category that sets them apart from spiders, worms, or centipedes.


  • Are invertebrates (they have no spine or backbone)
  • Have exoskeletons (their skeletons are on the outside of their body)
  • Have six legs
  • Have three segments of their body (head, thorax and abdomen)
  • Have antennae to help them smell and feel

Insects are one of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet, with over ONE MILLION insect species known.

While many insects are considered pests by humans, many are used by humans for things, such as:

  • Honey (from bees)
  • Silk (from the bombyx mori, or “silk worm”)
  • Food (such as crickets and grasshoppers are considered a tasty snack in many cultures!)

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