Insects (Class: Insecta): It has long been recognized and documented that insects are the most diverse group of organisms, meaning that the numbers of species of insects are more than any other group. In the world, some 900 thousand different kinds of living insects are known. This representation approximates 80 percent of the world's species. The true figure of living species of insects can only be estimated from present and past studies. Most authorities agree that there are more insect species that have not been described (named by science) than there are insect species that have been previously named. Conservative estimates suggest that this figure is 2 million, but estimates extend to 30 million. In the last decade, much attention has been given to the entomofauna that exists in the canopies of tropical forests of the world. From studies conducted by Terry Erwin of the Smithsonian Institution's Department of Entomology in Latin American forest canopies, the number of living species of insects has been estimated to be 30 million. Insects also probably have the largest biomass of the terrestrial animals. At any time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive. In the United States, the number of described species is approximately 91,000. The undescribed species of insects in the United States, however, is estimated at some 73,000. The largest numbers of described species in the U.S. fall into four insect Orders: Coleoptera (beetles) at 23,700, Diptera (flies) at 19,600, Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps) at 17,500, and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) at 11,500. Spiders belongs to a large group of animals called Arthropoda, in the class, Arachnida. Insects (and all the species and orders within the Insecta class) and Spiders thrill me. Spiders were one of the first things I started photographing. I am constantly being amazed at how many different and really cool insects I find right out in my back yard. Most so small you would never notice them. I hunt the back yard and parks with a flashlight and macro lens. My neighbors, I think, have finally gotten used to seeing me stalking the great backyard, laying in the grass at night for hours and searching the sides of the house and garage for spiders. But then, they might just all think I’m a little nuts and aren’t letting on. But I have so much fun finding these insects and spiders, watching them, photographing them, that the “humans’ around me become oblivious to me. The word “Bugs” just doesn’t seem right, but since there are so very many species of insects and spiders, “Bugs” was the best title, even though it doesn’t do these creatures justice.
Butterflies, Moths & Caterpillars
Dragonflies, Damsleflies, Grasshoppers and Katydids