In Biology, there are only 5 Kingdoms which are K. Monera, K. Protesta, K. Animalia, K. Fungi and K. Plantae. The family of insects belong to the Kingdom Animalia where the kingdom is divided into two types: vertebrates and invertebrates. Invertebrates has many species which includes insects. Insects are a group of animals that are far most abundant with over a million of species and many has not yet discovered. They are thrice the size of human race when combined. But why insects so different? How did they became more populated than human or any other animal specie on the planet? They are estimated to be 10 quintillion individual insect on earth. They outnumbered human into 1 billion to 1. They approximately occupied 75% of animals on earth.
What makes them abundant? It comes down to many things that together they make some of the most adaptable and resilient creatures. Giving them their impressive ability to breath. They have low extinction rates and their relative age, giving time for diversification to take place. Some specie can produce hundreds offspring of their life time. Most offspring will be gone but more than enough will survive adulthood to reproduce. insects can grow rapidly so the cycle of reproduction resumes quickly. And will happen the same cycle over and over again in a short period of time. Most insects go through one generation per year but many have 3 or 4 generations in a single season. This allows them to adapt quickly to changing conditions. To their animals takes thousand of years to adapt, insects will only need a decade.
Insects have a tremendous amount of diversity. The different species contain a wealth of genetic data that give them a necessary adaptations they need to thrive in range of environment across the planet. Even in most extreme environment places a flat bark peels can live at -40 degrees Fahrenheit and Sahara desert ants can venture out when surface temperature exceeds 155 degrees. Some bumble bees can survive 18, 000 feet above sea level. Insects exoskeleton also work like body armor. Protecting them from the outside world and helping them cope with habitats than other creatures can’t. Since most insects are so tiny, their size is very useful to them. A single specie can spend many generation living a single parcel of tree. A tree can house the entire life cycle. They can make use the small space. Some insects eat the roots, trunk, leaves, nectar and pollen. Others like wasps make use of other insects to lay eggs inside by paralyzing the victims. So when eggs hatched they can eat their way out. There are insects mighty power the metamorphosis. This trend does not only transform insects but also maximize the available resources in the environment. Like butterflies, a larva can eat an entire shrub within a week to help them grow and spin cocoon. But when they grow, they only feed on flower’s pollen. Metamorphosis means, the larva and adult of one species would never compete the same resources.
(h/t VIDEO): TED Ed
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