are in the Class Insecta within the Phylum Arthropoda.

have three body parts - head, thorax and abdomen.

do not have bones!  Instead they have an exoskeletonThe primary compound in the exoskeleton which gives it stiffness and strength is chitin.

have six legs.

have one or two pairs of wings as an adult (with some exceptions).

have one pair of antennae (singular - antenna) on the head.

have two compound eyes made up of many small simple eyes called ommatidia (singular - ommatidium). In addition, most insects have one to three simple eyes called ocelli (singular - ocellus).

transform as they grow through a process called metamorphosis.

The most advanced types of insects go through four stages -
egg, larva, pupa and adult.
This is called complete metamorphosis.
The larval stage does little except eat and grow.   Larvae may be slow-moving like a worm or caterpillar or they may have be fairly active with well-developed feelers and legs.  Ordinarily a larva has a constant appearance throughout its life.  But a few species of insects (mainly certain beetles and flies) have more than one kind of larva!  These are said to undergo hypermetamorphosis.
The pupa is a resting stage where the body of the insect is transformed into the adult.   Usually a special outer covering is formed to protect the helpless creature at that time.
- Butterflies make a
- Some flies make a puparium.
- Moths use silk to spin a cocoon.
What emerges after pupation is something totally unlike the larva - the adult - with wings and a different body, legs and mouthparts.
Insects who with complete metamorphosis include: Beetles, butterflies, moths, scorpionflies, fleas, true flies, caddisflies, thrips, lacewings, antlions, bees, wasps and ants.

Many insects have a three stage metamorphosis -
egg, nymph and adult.
This is called gradual metamorphosis.  
What hatches from the egg is a small version of the adult, except it lacks wings.   The young live on the land (a few live in the water, but do not have gills) and molt as they grow.  The final molt reveals a creature with fully-developed wings - the adult.
Insects with gradual metamorphosis include: true bugs, roaches, cicadas, leafhoppers, lice, termites, mantids, earwigs, crickets, grasshoppers and walking sticks.

Dragonflies, damselflies, stoneflies and mayflies have incomplete metamorphosis, which also has three stages - egg, naiad and adult.
Naiads are aquatic and possess gills.  They look like an insect, but are different from the adults.  When done growing, they emerge from the water and shed their skin to become an adult.
Mayflies also have the distinction of being the only type of insect that molts after becoming an adult!  The first adult is called a
subimago, which promptly molts again - wings and all - and becomes the imago, or true adult.

The most primitive types of insects - springtails, bristletails and silverfish - have no observable difference between young and adults.  They are said to have no metamorphosis.

Insects are the most successful type of creature on Earth.   Indeed, as many as 1 out of every 4 species of life on our planet is some type of beetle!  There are ~900,000 named species of insects in the world.  More than 86,000 species live in North America and an estimated 15,000+ of those may be found in Kansas.

The following list is based on "Insects in Kansas, 3rd edition" by Stephan White and Glenn Salsbury of the Kansas Department of Agriculture.  It is meant to be representative rather than comprehensive.  For a pdf version of this list (68K), click here Kansas insect list
(On a Windows system, download the file by right clicking on the link and choose "Save Target As" to save it to your hard drive, then open it from there.   You will need Acrobat Reader to view this file.  If you don't have that software already, you can get it for free from Adobe.)

Species portrait web pages have been done for Field Cricket, Monarch Butterfly, Cicadas, Honeybee, Cottonwood Borer and Regal Fritillary.   (The Honeybee page also includes information on several other types of bees.  Likewise, the Dog Day Cicada web page covers some of the other cicadas.) 
Separate web pages have been done for the Butterflies and Skippers and the Dragonflies and Damselflies.

Order of Springtails (Collembola)

Family Poduridae
Water Springtail – Podura aquatica

Family Sminthuridae
Alfalfa Springtail – Sminthurus medialis

Order of Bristletails and Silverfish (Thysanura)

Family Machilidae
Machilid – Machilis variabilis

Family Lepismatidae
Silverfish – Lepisma saccharina

Order of Mayflies (Ephemeroptera)

Family Ephemeridae
Giant Mayfly – Hexagenia limbata

Order of Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) - (click for a complete list)
Order of Stoneflies (Plecoptera)

Family Perlidae

Order of Walking Sticks (Phasmatodea)

Family Heteronemiidae
Walking Sticks

Order of Crickets, Grasshoppers and Katydids (Otrhoptera)

Family Acrididae
Lubber Grasshopper – Brachystola magna
Four-spotted Grasshopper – Philbostroma quadrimaculatum
Slant-faced Grasshopper – Mermiria bivittata
Carolina Grasshopper – Dissosteira carolina
Three-banded Grasshopper – Hadrotettix trifasciatus
Toothpick Grasshopper – Leptysma marginicollis
Differential Grasshopper – Melanoplus differentialis
Pictured Grasshopper – Dactylotum bicolor pictum

Family Tridactylidae
Large Sand Cricket – Neotridactylus apicalis

Family Tettigoniidae
Broad-winged Katydid – Microcentrum rhombifolium
Swordbearing Katydid – Neoconocephalus spp.
Gladiator Katydid – Orchelimum spp.

Family Gryllacrididae
Cave Cricket – Ceuthophilis spp.
Camel Cricket – Udeopsylla robusta

Family Gryllidae
Field Cricket – Gryllus assimilis
House Cricket – Acheta domesticus
Snowy Tree Cricket – Oecanthus fultoni

Family Gryllotalpidae
Mole Crickets

Order of Earwigs (Dermaptera)

Family Carcinophoridae

Order of Mantises (Mantodea)

Family Mantidae

Order of Cockroaches (Blattodea)

Family Blattidae
Oriental Cockroach – Blatta orientalis
American Cockroach – Periplaneta americana

Family Blattellidae
German Cockroach – Blattella germanica
Wood Roach – Parcoblatta bolliana

Order of Termites (Isoptera)

Family Rhinotermitidae
Eastern Subterranean Termite – Reticulitermes flavipes

Order of Booklice and Barklice (Psocoptera)

Family Liposcelidae

Family Psocidae

Order of Biting Lice (Mallophaga)

Family Philopteridae

Family Trichodectidae
Mammal Chewing Lice

Order of Sucking Lice (Anoplura)

Family Pediculidae
Head Louse – Pediculus humanus capitus

Order of True Bugs (Hemiptera)                                                     Top of page

Family Pentatomidae
Green Stink Bug – Acrosternum hilare
Spined Soldier Bug – Podisus maculiventris

Family Coreidae
Leaf-footed Bug – Leptoglossus phyllopus
Boxelder Bug – Boisea trivittata

Family Lygaeidae
Large Milkweed Bug – Oncopeltus fasciatus
Chinch Bug – Blissus leucopterus
Longnecked Seed Bug – Myodocha serripes

Family Tingidae
Lace bugs

Family Phymatidae
Ambush Bugs

Famly Reduviidae
Wheel Bug – Arilus cristatus

Family Gerridae
Water Strider – Gerris remigis

Family Notonectidae
Backswimmer – Notonecta undulata

Family Corixidae
Water Boatman – Sigara alternata

Family Nepidae
Water Scorpion – Ranatra fusca

Family Belostomatidae
Electric Light Bug – Lethocerus griseus
Toe Biter – Belostoma flumineum

Family Gelastocoridae
Toad Bug – Gelastocoris oculatus

Order of Aphids, Leafhoppers and Cicadas (Homoptera)

Family Flatidae
Citrus Planthopper – Metcalfa pruinosa

Family Cercopidae
Twolined Spittlebug – Prosapia bicincta

Family Cicadidae
Bush Cicada – Tibicen dorsata
Dog Day Cicada – Tibicen pruinosa
Periodical Cicada – Magicicada septendecim
Prairie Cicada – Melampsalta calliope

Family Cicadellidae
Saddled Leafhopper – Coladonus clitellarius

Family Membracidae
Buffalo Treehopper – Stictocephala bisonia

Family Psyllidae
Hackberry Nipplegall Maker – Pachypsylla celtidismamma

Family Aphidae

Family Dactylopiidae
Cochineal Insect – Dactylopius coccus

Family Diaspididae
Pine Needle Scale - Chionaspis pinifoliae

Order of Thrips (Thysanoptera)

Family Thripidae
Grain Thrips – Limothrips cerealium

Order of Nerve-winged Insects (Neuroptera)

Family Sialidae

Family Corydalidae
Dobsonfly – Corydalus cornutus

Family Mantispidae
Mantispid – Climaciella brunnea

Family Chrysopidae

Family Myrmeleontidae

Family Ascalaphidae

Order of Beetles (Coleoptera)                                                     Top of page

Family Cicindelidae
Tiger Beetles

Family Carabidae
Caterpillar Hunter – Calosoma scrutator
Bluemargined Ground Beetle – Pasimachus elongatus
Ground Beetle – Galerita janus

Family Dytiscidae
Predacious Diving Beetle – Cybister fimbriolatus

Family Gyrinidae
Whirligig Beetle – Dineutus assimilis

Family Silphidae
Carrion Beetle – Nicrophorus marginatus

Family Staphylinidae
Rove Beetles

Family Lucanidae
Stag Beetle – Pseudolucanus placidus

Family Scarabaeidae
Dung Beetle – Dichotomius carolinus
May Beetle – Phyllophaga spp.
Tenlined June Beetle – Polyphylla decemlineata
Green June Beetle – Cotinus nitida

Family Elmidae
Scott’s Riffle Beetle – Optioservus phaeus

Family Buprestidae
Metallic Wood Borers

Family Elateridae
Eyed Click Beetle – Alaus oculatus
Click Beetle – Neotrichophorus carolinensis

Family Lampyridae
Eastern Firefly – Photinus pyralis

Family Cantharidae
Goldenrod Soldier Beetle – Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus

Family Lycidae
Netwinged Beetle – Calopteron terminale

Family Coccinelidae
Sevenspotted Lady Beetle – Coccinella septempunctata
Pinkspotted Lady Beetle – Coleomegilla maculata

Family Tenebrionidae
Darkling Beetles

Family Meloidae
Blister Beetles

Family Cerambycidae
Locust Borer – Megacyllene robiniae
Flowerloving Longhorn – Typocerus sinuatus
Cottonwood Borer – Plectrodera scalator
Red Milkweed Beetle – Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

Family Chrysomelidae
Threelined Potato Beetle – Lema trilineata
Dogbane Beetle – Chrysochus auratus
Sunflower Beetle – Zygogramma exclamationis
Elm Leaf Beetle – Pyrrhalta luteola
Spotted Cucumber Beetle – Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi
Tortoise Beetle – Deloyala guttata

Family Rhynchitidae
Rose Curculio – Merhynchites bicolor

Family Curculionidae
Acorn weevils – Curculio spp.
Milkweed Curculio – Rhyssomatus lineaticollis
Ironweed Curculio – Rhodobaenus tredecimpunctatus

Order of Ants, Bees and Wasps (Hymenoptera)

Family Siricidae
Pigeon Tremex – Tremex columba

Family Ichneumonidae
Longtailed Megarhyssa – Megarhyssa atrata
Megarhyssa Wasp – Megarhyssa macrurus

Family Pelecinidae
Pelecinid Wasp – Pelecinus polyturator

Family Chrysididae
Cuckoo Wasp – Chrysis smaragdula

Family Mutillidae
Velvet Ants

Family Scoliidae
Scoliid Wasp – Scolia bicincta

Family Formicidae
Western Harvester Ant – Pogonomyrmex occidentalis
Acrobat Ant – Crematogaster lineolata
Black Carpenter Ant – Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Family Vespidae
Potter Wasp – Eumenes spp.
Eastern Yellowjacket – Vespula maculifrons
Common Paper Nest Wasp – Polistes exclamans

Family Pompilidae
Tarantula Hawk – Pepsis formosa

Family Sphecidae
Steelblue Cricket Hunter – Chlorion aerarium
Black & Yellow Mud Dauber – Sceliphron caementarium
Great Golden Digger Wasp – Sphex ichneumoneus
Great Black Wasp – Sphex pennsylvanicus
Pipe Organ Wasp – Trypoxylon politum
Cicada Killer – Sphecius speciosus

Family Halictidae
Sweat Bees

Family Megachilidae
Leafcutter Bee – Megachile parallela

Family Anthophoridae
Carpenter Bee – Xylocopa virginica

Family Apidae
Bumble Bee – Bombus pennsylvanicus
Honey Bee – Apis mellifera

Order of Caddisflies (Trichoptera)

Family Hydropsychidae
Seinemaking Caddisflies

Family Phryganeidae
Giant Casemaker Caddisfly – Phryganea cinerea

Family Leptoceridae
Longhorned Casemaker – Nectopsyche candida

Order of Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera)                               Top of page

Family Incurvariidae
Yucca Moth – Tegeticula yuccasella

Family Psychidae
Bagworm – Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis

Family Gelechiidae
Redbud Leaffolder – Fascista cercerisella

Family Yponomeutidae
Ailanthus Webworm – Atteva punctella

Family Sesiidae
Glorious Squashvine Borer – Melittia gloriosa

Family Cossidae
Carpenterworm Moth – Prionoxystus robiniae

Family Tortricidae
Codling Moth – Cydia pomonella

Family Limacodidae
Spiny Oakslug Caterpillar – Euclea delphinii

Family Crambidae
Grape Leaffolder – Desmia funeralis

Family Pterophoridae
Geranium Plume Moth – Amblyptilia pica

Family Geometridae
Buttercup Moth – Xanthotype urticaria
Chickweed Geometer – Haematopsis grataria

Family Lasiocampidae
Eastern Tent Caterpillar – Malacosoma americanum

Family Saturniidae
Imperial Moth – Eacles imperialis
Io Moth – Automeris io
Polyphemus Moth – Antheraea polyphemus
Luna Moth – Actias luna
Cecropia Moth – Hyalophora cecropia

Family Sphingidae
Tomato Hornworm – Manduca quinquemaculata
Elm Sphinx – Ceratomia amyntor
Osage Orange Sphinx – Ceratomia hageni
Small Eyed Sphinx – Paonias myops
Big Poplar Sphinx – Pachysphinx modesta
Snowberry Clearwing – Hemaris diffinis
Pandorus Sphinx – Eumorpha pandorus
Abbott’s Sphinx – Sphecodina abbottii
Whitelined Sphinx – Hyles lineata

Family Notodontidae
Yellownecked Caterpillar – Datana ministra
White Furcula – Furcula borealis

Family Arctiidae
Bella Moth – Utetheisa bella
Saltmarsh Caterpillar – Estigmene acrea
Fall Webworm – Hyphantria cunea
Giant Leopard Moth – Ecpantheria scribonia
Figured Tiger Moth – Grammia figurata
Yellow Collared Scape Moth – Cisseps fulvicollis

Family Noctuiidae
Shortlined Chocolate – Agyrostrotis anilis
Sweetheart Underwing – Catocala amatrix
Widow Underwing – Catocala vidua
Beautiful Wood Nymph – Eudryas grata
Army Cutworm – Euxoa auxiliaris
Painted Schinia – Schinia volupia

Butterflies and Skippers - (click for a complete list)
Order of Scorpionflies (Mecoptera)

Family Bittacidae

Family Panorpidae

Order of True Flies

Family Tipulidae
Crane Flies

Family Culicidae

Family Tabanidae
Deer Fly – Chrysops vittatus
Black Horse Fly – Tabanus atratus

Family Asilidae
Robber Flies

Family Nemestrinidae
Tangleveined Fly – Neorhynchocephalus volaticus

Family Bombyliidae
Bee Flies

Family Dolichopodidae
Longlegged Fly – Condylostylus sipho

Family Syrphidae
Hover Flies

Family Otitidae
Picturewinged Fly – Delphinia picta

Family Tephritidae
Round Goldenrod Gall Maker – Eurosta solidaginis

Family Muscidae
House Fly – Musca domestica

Family Calliphoridae
Greenbottle Fly – Phaenicia sericata

Family Sarcophagidae
Flesh Flies

Family Tachinidae
Tachinid Flies

Order of Fleas (Siphonaptera)

Family Pulicidae

Insect Links:

For more information on insects in Kansas, browse the Kansas Insects Newsletter from Kansas State Unversity.

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- This page was spun by Jim Mason -

Questions or comments?  Send Email to Jim Mason Spidey
Or write us at: 
Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E. 29th Street North
Wichita, KS 67220-2200             Call:  316-683-5499            Fax:  316-688-9555