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Insect Orders: Main types


Insects are split into 34 groups. These groups are called orders. In this article, I will go through a few of the main orders.

1 .Lepidoptera:


Butterflies and Moths. Butterflies and moths are both in the same insect order. They have scaly, colourful wings for mimicry and to warn other insects that they may be dangerous. However, this is not the case. The difference between moths and butterflies is only slight. Moths spin cocoons made out of silk, and butterflies form chryslisis, which are hard, and contain no silk. Butterflies are diurnal( come out during the day hours), and moths are nocturnal( they come out during the night). Their antennae differ from each other too. Moths have fuzzy, smooth tips to their antennae, whereas butterflies have cubed tips, and the antennae itself is thin and beady.


2. Coleoptera

Beetles: All beetles are classed in this order. Some examples are: Ladybirds, Stag Beetles, Dung Beetles, Weevil Beetles. Beetles have parted wing coverings known as elytra.

Ladybird 4#.jpg

3. Strepsiptera

Twisted winged parasites: Parasites that can fly. They feed on animals or live inside of them, usually changing their host every so often.

twisted winged insect.jpg



Caddisflies. Insects from this order are often confused with the order Lepidoptera. Some scientists class insects from this order with Lepidoptera insects. However, caddisfly larvae are aquatic, and form a case out of webs, hence why they are called caddisflies or case files. Eggs are formed in a jelly like substance in the water. Caddisflies do form silk cocoons like moths, and are unable to eat solid foods, so feed on nectar. That is why they can be mixed up with Lepidopterans. The other obvious difference is that caddisflies have hairy wings, and butterflies and moths have scaly ones.


5. Orthoptera:


Crickets and Locusts, Grasshoppers. Though in the same family, they are put in different suborders. In the subgroup known as Caelifera there are the Locusts and Grasshoppers. In the other group , Ensifera, are Crickets. All have strong hind limbs, which they use to jump. Crickets, grasshoppers, and Locusts chirp in different ways. Crickets use their wings, whereas grasshoppers and locusts use their legs. The term for when they chirp is known as stridulating.


6. Diptera:


The typical house fly you see, known as true flies. They are known to have two membranous wings. There are 125,000 species of insects in this order. Crane flies, House Flies, and Mosquitos are some examples in this order. They have sucking mouthparts. Mosquitos suck blood, and flies sap from foodplants. Houseflies are notorious pests as they spread disease by depositing their faeces on our food. However, they are a useful food source for many insects and animals.

house fly Diptera.jpg

7. Hymenoptera :


Flying ants, Bees, Wasps and Hornets: All well known in Britain. Bees known for pollinating plants, wasps known for getting in the way and pointlessly stinging(joking). Wasps like their cousins, bees, also pollinate also. 

 All of them have something in common and it's not just that they have wings. Bees, wasps, flying ants, and Hornets all have a hierarchy of some sorts. They have queens, kings, soldiers, and workers. There are over 150,000 species of insects in the Hymenoptera order. You may wonder what's the point of a stinger, well, it's to actually kill it's prey, but often, is used for defence against humans. Unfortunately, bees die when they release their stinger. The bee's stinger is two barbed lancets. They are unable to yank the stinger out. If they do, they end up pulling the digestive tract, nerves and crucial muscles out with it , causing death.


8. Blattodea:


Cockroaches. Cockroaches are known to be pests all over the world. They are known to be a sturdy insect, because they are not able to be squashed so easily. The most bizzare facts about this pest is that, they can live without food for a month and water for two weeks! They can live without their head for an entire week!!!


9: Dermaptera:


Earwings: Characterized by their hooks at the end of their abdomen. Earwigs are often said to crawl into ears, but this isn't the case. Earwigs, unlike others, are good mothers and protect their young until they can make it on their own. They live for 2 to 3 years. The pincers are used to catch prey(plant matter and insects dead or alive), and to defend themselves. Males tend to have curlier pinchers than females.


10: Neuroptera:


Lacewings, Antilions and Mantidflies. Mantidflies are known to have two pairs of membranous wings with small veins. Their mouthparts are well formed and used to chomp on small insects and arthropods. Lacewings, a lot like ladybirds, eat aphids.


11: Phasmids

Leaf and Stick insects. They are best characterized by their fantastic ability to imitate bits of twig( stick insects) or leaves of a tree or bush(Leaf insects). 

maycleas Spectres .jpg

12: Mantids

Mantids are identified as being a predator species of insect with long maluable necks, and heads that can turn at certain angles.  They are vercious and can not be kept together or they will rip each other apart.

Moonlight the Giant Asian mantis.jpg

Those were the main insect orders.  There is plenty more to go through, but we made a star. Make sure you check the website regularly to see the latest information page, things for sale, and the latest news.


Some pictures are from and are under the creative common licence

Other photos are sources from my own insects. 

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