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Insects and other arthropods

What is an order of insects?

The masked hunter, of the order Hemiptera.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (Claude Pilon)
Hemiptera, Reduvius personatus, Québec, Canada.
  • Hemiptera, Reduvius personatus, Québec, Canada.
  • Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae.
  • Diptera, Tipulidae, Québec, Canada.
  • Hymenoptera, Apidae, Québec, Canada.
  • Lepidoptera, Limenitis archippus, Québec, Canada.

To classify insects, scientists have separated them into 30 groups called orders. The representatives of an order are related based on the shape of their body, their legs, their mouthparts and especially their wings.

The scientific name given to each of these orders usually ends with the suffix “ptera,” a Greek word that means wing. The first part of the name often indicates the shape, size, number or texture of wings.

Five orders comprise 80 percent of insect species – Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera!

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