Insects of the Pacific Northwest
Entomology, or the study of insects, is a fascinating science – one most often ignored by amateur naturalists.
People love to watch feathered birds and hear their wonderful songs, or observe soft, cute & furry little mammals. They marvel at our majestic, large land mammals, and those at sea, which inspire whale watching tours by the thousands. Then you have the insects, with their hard bodies and bulging eyes, wavering antennae, and 6 legs – looking very much like little aliens! It’s no wonder that they’re not on most peoples’ favorite lists. If you stop to watch them, though, you can learn just how fascinating they really are. While some transmit deadly diseases or can sting with powerful poisons, most are of great benefit to us. From bees, who give us honey, pollinate plants, & help provide us with food, to ants that farm aphids for honey dew. From silk worms that give us silk, to garden insects that create soils to grow our foods. There are many, many ways that insects help us.
They have an exoskeleton that protects their internal organs, reinforcing them in much the same way, as our skeleton supports us. Their body is divided into 3 parts: abdomen, thorax, and head. They have 3 sets of legs that are attached to the thorax. Most insects have 2 pairs of wings also attached to this midsection. The exception to this are flies, whose 2nd pair of wings have been reduced, and are now used simply as flight stabilizers.
Entomology is something that I’ve always been interested in. There is something very thrilling about watching insects go about their daily activities. The next time you are outdoors, take a moment and look down – you’ll see them, and if you watch them for a few moments, you’ll be amazed!