Garden Plot: Bugs, insects, spiders an important part of garden ecosystem
About half of life on earth is concentrated in the insect class, which is in the Arthropod phylum. Insects are characterized by having an exoskeleton, a three-part body, three pairs of jointed legs, a pair of antennae and compound eyes. There are an estimated 6 million to 10 million species, and about a million have been described, meaning that more than 90% of animal forms on earth are insects. Think dragonflies, moths, butterflies, ants, termites, bees, worms, beetles — the list goes on and on.
Then there are bugs, which are in the order Hemiptera and are characterized by having piercing mouthparts and sometimes a shield-like back. Think stink bugs, water bugs, bed bugs and aphids. All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs.
But guess what? Spiders are not insects. They have a two-part body and are invertebrates. They typically have eight legs. The group Arachnida includes spiders, mites, ticks and scorpions. Some of our favorites, right?