Insects are animals that have:

  • a pair of antennae
  • six walking legs
  • a body divided into three parts
  • a skeleton outside the body
  • mouthparts which are adapted for particular diets.

Insects are the largest group of animals on Earth, all of which have exoskeletons and three body parts- head, thorax and abdomen, six jointed limbs and a pair of antennae. Insects comprise 75% of all catalogued animal species and their success is attributed to their ability to fly. Being the only invertebrate with wings, insects are able to seek out new environments and escape unsuitable ones.

Insects play an essential role in the web of life, with the interaction between insects and plants playing a crucial role in pollination. Pollination by insects is important for the environment and us.

Many insects are predators, parasites or parasitoids, with a great diversity of hunting strategies and behaviours used to capture or feed on their prey. Invertebrate predators, parasites and parasitoids also play an important role in keeping many animal populations under control.

The Australian Museum Entomology Collection consists of an estimated 1.699 million specimens and contains mostly Australian species of insects, but there is a significant non-Australian representation of beetles, psocids (booklive), flies, butterflied and moths.

Discover our Insect factsheets

203 Fact Sheets in this section

Learn about the straight-winged insects, Order Orthoptera, and the skin-winged insects, Order Dermaptera on the following webpages:

The two-winged insects, Order Diptera; the toothed insects, Order Odonata; and the net-winged insects, Order Neuroptera are featured on these webpages:

Entomology Collection information

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