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A compound eye is a visual organ found in certain arthropods. The compound eye consists of between 12 and 1,000 ommatidia, little dark/bright sensors. The image perceived by the arthropod is "recalculated" from the numerous ommatidia which point in slightly different directions. In contrast to other eye types, there is no central lens or retina. Though the resulting image is poor in resolution, it can detect quick movements and, in some cases, the polarization of light. Dragonflies have about 30,000 facets to their compound eyes, giving them nearly a 360° field of vision.
The Polyphemus Moth (Anthera polyphemus) is one the biggest moths, having a wingspan of up to 15 cm. Usually found in forests, moths are notable for apparently being attracted to light, the reason for this behaviour is not known.
A honey bee extracts nectar from a flower using its proboscis. Tiny hairs covering the bee's body maintain a slight electrostatic charge, causing pollen from the flower's anthers to stick to the bee's hairs, allowing for pollination when the bee moves on to another flower.
A macro shot of the head of a dragonfly, focusing on its compound eyes. Dragonfly eyes have up to 30,000 facets; each one is a separate light-sensing organ or ommatidium, arranged to give nearly a 360° field of vision.
The citrus root weevil (Diaprepes abbreviatus) is a major agricultural pest weevil in several Caribbean countries and the U.S. state of Florida. The larvae feed on the roots of the host plant for several months. They often eat the taproot of the plant, which can kill it by depriving it of water and nutrients or by making it vulnerable to infection by fungi, or water moulds.
Two Melangyna viridiceps (called Common Hoverflies in Australia) mating in mid-air. The male, which can be identified by the eyes meeting at the top of its head, is on top. The term "hoverfly" refers to about 6,000 species of flying insects in the family Syrphidae. They are often seen hovering at flowers and are important pollinators.
A mole cricket, an insect belonging to the Gryllotalpidae family. Mole crickets are common insects, found on every continent except Antarctica, but because they are nocturnal and spend nearly all their lives underground in extensive tunnel systems, they are rarely seen. This specimen is likely to be Gryllotalpa brachyptera and is about 3.5 cm (1.4 in.) in size.
Varroa destructor, a species of mite, is seen parasitizing a honeybee host in this digitally colorized low-temperature scanning electron microscope image. Varroa mites threaten agricultural pollination directly by weakening and destroying bee colonies. They also mandate more regular management of hives that is both labor-intensive and expensive.
A male Roesel's bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeseli), a European bush-cricket named after August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof, a German entomologist. Its song is very similar to that of Savi's Warbler. Its body length as an adult insect is 15 to 18 mm. It is brown with a pale margin to the sides of the pronotum. Its forewings usually reach midway along its abdomen at rest. However there is a macropterous form of this insect (f. diluta), in which the wings reach beyond the tip of the abdomen. This form appears predominantly during hot summers and enables the species to extend its geographical range rapidly while conditions are suitable; such migrations may also be in response to local overpopulation.
A fishing spider with two of its legs missing. Most likely some predator (a bird, or given its habitat a large fish or frog) grasped the spider by the missing limbs which were jettisoned by the spider in response, a process known as autotomy.
The head and mandibles of an Australian bull ant. Insect mandibles grasp, crush, or cut the insect’s food, or defend against predators or rivals. These mandibles move in the horizontal plane unlike those of the vertebrates.
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is one of the best-known species of butterfly. Its wings feature an easily recognizable orange and black pattern, with a wingspan of 8.9–10.2 centimetres (3½–4 in).
A European paper wasp (Polistes dominula) heating a bubble of regurgitated fluid in the sunlight. This is a common practice among many winged insects, and it is believed to be a way to facilitate digestion or to cool themselves off.
The face of a Dungeness crab (Cancer magister), a common crab found from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to Santa Cruz, California. The two eyes sit on eyestalks, with two antennules on either side of the rostrum (center, above the mouth).
The rose chafer (Cetonia aurata) is a reasonably large beetle (20 mm/¾ in long) that has metallic green coloration with a distinct V shaped scutellum, the small triangular area between the wing cases just below the thorax. Rose chafers are found over southern and central Europe and the southern part of the UK.
A female subimago of a March Brown mayfly (Rhithrogena germanica). Mayflies belong to the order Ephemeroptera, and the only insects that have a subimago phase. This stage is a favourite food of many fish, and many fishing flies are modeled to resemble them. They are aquatic insects whose nymph stage usually lasts one year in freshwater. The adults are short-lived, from as little as thirty minutes to a few days depending on the species.
Two Eastern Lubber grasshoppers (Romalea guttata) mating. Native to the southeastern and south central portion of the United States, it is well known both for its size and its unique coloration. During reproduction, the male grasshopper introduces sperm into the ovipositor through its aedeagus (reproductive organ), and inserts its spermatophore, a package containing the sperm, into the female's ovipositor.
An assassin bug belonging to the Reduviidae family of insects. A predatory insect so named because of its tendency to wait in ambush for its prey, the assassin bug uses its long rostrum to inject a lethal saliva that liquefies the internal structures of the prey, which are then sucked out.
The Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) is a well-known colourful butterfly, found on every continent except Antarctica. It occurs in any temperate zone, including mountains in the tropics. The species is resident only in warmer areas, but migrates in spring, and sometimes again in autumn.
The Forest scorpion (Cercophonius squama) is a scorpion native to southeastern Australia and Tasmania. The body is 25 to 40 millimetres (0.98 to 1.57 in) long, and coloured creamy yellow to orange brown with dark brown variegations. The legs are yellow with some dark brown pigment.
The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) is a species of mosquito known for its ability to spread yellow fever and dengue fever. The mosquito can be recognized by the white markings on its legs and a marking in the form of a lyre on its thorax. Though originally from Africa, the yellow fever mosquito can now be found in tropical regions around the world.
A female Thiodina puerpera jumping spider. This species is commonly found in the Eastern United States, its range stretching along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, and north to Kansas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Adult females are between 7 and 11 mm (0.28 and 0.43 in) in length and males are smaller.
The cryptic mantis (Sibylla pretiosa) is a mantid native to southern Africa. Its common name comes from its ability to grow asymmetrically to match the vegetation of its environment. They have unusual leaf-like projections on the joint of their four walking legs and leaf-like wings, generally the only green portion of the insect's otherwise brown and mottled exoskeleton. Adult females grow to 5–6 cm (2.0–2.4 in) in length while the males are generally about 1 cm smaller.
A Eusthenia species of stonefly. The order contains almost 3,500 known species, including the only known insects that are exclusively aquatic from birth to death. Stoneflies are believed to be one of the most primitive groups of Neoptera and are found worldwide, with the exception of Antarctica.
The internal anatomy of a typical female two-lunged spider. The yellow items signify portions of the digestive system, red indicates the circulatory system, blue is the nervous system, pink is the respiratory system, and purple is the reproductive system. Lastly, the spinnerets and poison glands are shown in green.
The Globe Skimmer (Pantala flavescens) is the most widespread dragonfly species on the planet, found between about the 40th parallels of latitude, or where the annual mean temperature is above 20 °C (68 °F), except in Europe where there are only occasional sightings.
The head of a female Clynotis severus species of jumping spider. The eyes of a spider are called simple eyes (as opposed to compound eyes) because in each eye, a single lens collects and focuses light onto the retina. In this spider, the two largest eyes in the middle are the most acute. The remainder on the sides and on the top of its head are "secondary eyes".
The Meadow Argus (Junonia villida) is a species of butterfly native to Australasia. Its brown wings are each covered with two distinctive black and blue eyespots as well as white and orange marks that appear on the edge of the wings. Males and females are similar in appearance and size, with females being slightly larger.
A crab of the species Carpilius convexus (left) feeding on a slate pencil urchin. Crabs are omnivores, feeding primarily on algae, and taking any other food, including molluscs, worms, other crustaceans, fungi, bacteria and detritus, depending on their availability and the crab species. For many crabs, a mixed diet of plant and animal matter results in the fastest growth and greatest fitness.
Two flesh-flies (Sarcophaga ruficornis species pictured) mating. The life cycle of the saprophagic flesh-fly larvae has been well researched and is very predictable. Different species prefer bodies in different states of decomposition, which allows forensic entomologists to extrapolate the time of death.
The Emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) is a species of shrimp with a wide distribution across the Indo-Pacific. It lives commensally on a number of hosts, including sea cucumbers (Bohadschia argus shown here).
Squilla mantis, a species of mantis shrimp, for sale at the fish auction of l'Ametlla de Mar in Catalonia, Spain. It is native to the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent warm parts of the Atlantic Ocean, where it burrows into muddy and sandy seabeds. It is the only native stomatopod to be fished for on a commercial scale in the Mediterranean.
Poli's stellate barnacle (Chthamalus stellatus) is a species of acorn barnacle common on rocky shores in South West England, Ireland, and Southern Europe. It is named after Italian scientist Giuseppe Saverio Poli. Depending upon environmental conditions and the amount of food available, it can reach up to 14 mm (0.55 in) in diameter.
The red rock crab (Grapsus grapsus) is one of the most common crabs along the western coast of the Americas. Adults are quite variable in color, including brownish-red, mottled or spotted brown, pink, yellow, bright orange and red. It feeds on algae primarily, sometimes sampling other plant matter and dead animals.
The longtail tadpole shrimp (Triops longicaudatus) is a freshwater crustacean resembling a miniature horseshoe crab. It is one of the oldest animal species still in existence. Like its relative Triops cancriformis, the longtail tadpole shrimp is considered a living fossil because its basic prehistoric morphology has changed little in the last 70 million years, exactly matching ancient fossils.
A nest of the tropical Asian giant honey bee, which consists of a single exposed honeycomb, an array of densely packed hexagonal cells made of beeswax. Honeycombs store food (honey and pollen) and house the "brood" (eggs, larvae, and pupae).
Compound eyes on a blue bottle fly. Unlike simple eyes, which have a single concave photoreceptive surface, compound eyes consist of a number of individual lenses (called ommatidia) laid out on a convex surface; this means that they point in slightly different directions. Compound eyes provide a wide field of view and can detect fast movement, but have low resolution.
Anthidium florentinum, a species of bee in the family Megachilidae. Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants that are involved in pollination. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven recognized biological families. Bees are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants. Bees range in size from tiny stingless bee species whose workers are less than 2 millimetres (0.08 in) long, to Megachile pluto, whose females can attain a length of 39 millimetres (1.54 in).
A honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal prismatic wax cells built by honey bees in their hives to contain their larvae and stores of honey and pollen. Honey bees consume about 8.4 lb (3.8 kg) of honey to secrete 1 lb (0.5 kg) of wax. As such, many beekeepers attempt to conserve honeycombs where possible.
A lithograph by Sidney Hall, published in Urania's Mirror, depicting the constellation Scorpius. One of the 48 constellations identified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century, Scorpius lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It contains 18 main stars, the brightest of which is Antares. Although frequently identified as a scorpion, this constellation has also been likened to a "leaning coconut tree" (Java) or "Maui's fishhook" (Hawaii).
The western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bee worldwide. It is believed to have originated in either Africa or Asia, and spread naturally through Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Following human introduction into the Americas and Oceania, the species is now found on every continent except Antarctica. Humans have been collecting honey from bees for thousands of years, with evidence in the form of rock art found in France and Spain, dating to around 7000 BC. Along with other insects, the honey bee is an important pollinator, with a large number of the crop species farmed worldwide depending on it.
The European paper wasp (Polistes dominula or Polistes dominulus) is one of the most common species of wasps in the genus Polistes. Originally described in 1791 by German naturalist Johann Ludwig Christ as Vespa dominula, it is native to southern Europe and North Africa, as well as temperate parts of Asia as far east as China. It has also been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Americas. The species is common and cosmopolitan due to its exceptional survival features, such as a productive colony cycle, a short development time and a higher ability to endure predator attacks. It generally lives in temperate, terrestrial habitats, such as chaparral, forest and grassland biomes. This picture shows a young European paper wasp queen guarding her nest and eggs.
Gonepteryx rhamni, also known as the common brimstone, is a butterfly in the family Pieridae. It lives throughout the Palearctic zone and is commonly found across Europe, Asia and North Africa. The butterfly relies on two species of buckthorn as hosts for its eggs and larvae, which influences its geographic range and distribution as these plants are commonly found in wetlands. After spending the summer feeding, adults travel to woodland areas to spend seven months hibernating. In spring when their host plants have developed, they return to the wetlands to breed and lay eggs. Both the larval and adult forms of the species have protective coloration and behaviour that decreases their chances of being recognised and preyed upon. The adult common brimstone has sexual dichromism in its wing coloration and iridescence; the male (pictured) has yellow wings and iridescence, while females have greenish-white wings and are not iridescent.
Sympetrum danae, the black darter or black meadowhawk, is a species of dragonfly found in northern Europe, Asia, and North America. Both sexes are black and yellow, but the abdomen of the male is largely black while that of the female is largely yellow. Breeding takes place in shallow acidic pools, lake margins and ditches in lowland heaths and moorland bogs. The female lays her eggs during flight by dipping the tip of her abdomen into the water. The eggs hatch the following spring, the larvae developing very rapidly and emerging as adults in as little as two months. The male seen here is perched on a frond of bracken on Warren Heath in Hampshire, England.
Planthoppers are insects in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha. This photograph shows three adult Phromnia rosea planthoppers on a stem, with three nymphs underneath; the adults fold their wings in a tent-like fashion, while the nymphs are clad in a dense tangle of white wax threads. Both the adults and the nymphs feed by sucking sap from the host plant.
Danaus genutia, the common tiger or striped tiger, is a species of brush-footed butterfly found in Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, south-eastern Asia and Australia. It prefers areas of moderate to heavy rainfall, and typical habitats include scrubby jungle, deciduous forests and fallow land near habitations. The insect sequesters toxins from plants, and advertises its unpalatability by having prominent markings and striking colour patterns. This adult male common tiger, of the subspecies D. g. genutia, was photographed in Kerala, India.
Longhorn beetles (Saperda carcharias pictured) are a cosmopolitan family of beetles, Cerambycidae, characterised by extremely long antennae. It is a large family, with over 20,000 described species; several are serious pests, with the larvae boring into wood.
The light blue soldier crab (Mictyris longicarpus) inhabits beaches in the Indo-Pacific region. Soldier crabs filter sand or mud for microorganisms. They congregate during the low tide, and bury themselves in a corkscrew pattern during high tide, or whenever they are threatened.
The Ozyptila praticola species of crab spider is found throughout Europe and the Middle East. They do not build webs to trap prey, but are active hunters. Crab spiders are so named because of their first two pairs of legs, which are held out to the side giving them a crab-like appearance. Also, like crabs, these spiders move sideways and backwards more easily than forwards.
Xylotrupes socrates (Siamese rhinoceros beetle, or "fighting beetle"), male, on a banana leaf. This scarab beetle is particularly known for its role in insect fighting in Northern Laos and Thailand.
Mantis shrimp (peacock mantis shrimp – Odontodactylus scyllarus – pictured) are marine crustaceans of the order Stomatopoda. They take their name from the physical resemblance to praying mantises and shrimp.
The Atlantic horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, is a marine chelicerate arthropod. It is most commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico and along the northern Atlantic coast of North America, with Delaware Bay a main area of annual migration.
Caterpillar of Large white butterfly. Pieris brassicae is a butterfly in the family Pieridae. It is a close relative of the small white, Pieris rapae. The large white is common throughout Europe, North Africa and Asia.
The buffalo treehopper, Stictocephala bisonia (formerly Ceresa bisonia), is a species of treehopper native to North America. They use their piercing mouthparts to feed on the sap of plants including black locust, clover, elm, goldenrod and willow.
The orb-weaver spiders (family Araneidae) are the familiar builders of spiral wheel-shaped webs often found in gardens, fields and forests. The family is a large one, including over 2800 species in over 160 genera worldwide, making it the third largest known (behind Salticidae and Linyphiidae). The web has always been thought of as an engineering marvel.