Thursday, May 20, 2004

Bugged by terminology?

OK, OK: Technically, a cicada is an insect, not a bug.

Entomologically speaking, all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs

True bugs - like the shield bug and the assassin bug - have a feeding tube instead of a chewing jaw, which is what most insects (like cicadas, ants and grasshoppers) have. "Bug" is a generic term for assorted insects and creepy-crawlies.

More facts:

• Insects are the most populous animals on earth. Not only do insects outnumber people, but beetles, a subset of insects, outnumber people.

• All insects have three body sections (head, thorax and abdomen) and six legs.

Some have wings. Spiders, ticks and scorpions belong to a class of animals called arachnids, which have eight legs and two body sections. Centipedes and millipedes are myriapods (translated: "many legs") and have several body sections.

• Insects usually have two sets of jaws (unless they're bugs), two kinds of eyes and one pair of antennae.

Sources:; College of Mt. St. Joseph; University of Maryland;

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