As some of you know, Mark and Darice Dixons' website http://Wildflowerswest.org is often my go-to reference for the final answer in identifying my own wildflower discoveries. Their research is thorough, the photographs are stunning, the details are fascinating and the comments are lighthearted and entertaining. Theirs is so obviously a labor of love.
The Dixons have been experimenting with some slide show software for their bug photos that is now ready for prime time. Be prepared to be blown away at the beauty, detail and variety of the insect subjects.
The Phylum Arthropoda is the most numerous of all living organisms, containing more insect species than plants and animals combined, and 40% to 50% of those insect species are beetles. Did you know that Arachnid (containing spiders and mites) is not an Order, but is a Class in a Subphylum all its own? Of course you did!! And that Daddy Longlegs belong to the Arachnid Class but are not spiders? Well, now you do!!
And wonder of wonders, did you know that Lobsters and Crabs are insects?! Or that wars have been fought and empires established over the simple Silk Worm? Millipedes are scavengers, and some of them secrete cyanide to protect themselves when threatened. And, you probably already know that when you are bitten by a mosquito, it was a female mosquito that raised that welt.
For a fun excursion into the insect world, this website will introduce you to the varied insect Classes, Orders and Species, their physical make up, how their different body parts function, how they are different and how they are similar to one another.
Have fun exploring, and I hope the next time you see a bug, you will recognize and appreciate it for its beauty and complexity. (Flies and fleas excepted!!!!)