Insects are small, invertebrate animals found in nearly every conceivable terrestrial environment. As adults, they have stiff exoskeletons and their bodies are organized into three main regions: head, thorax and abdomen. The head contains one pair of antennae, a pair of compound eyes, and mouthparts that are modified to slice, suck, pierce, lap and/or tear. The thorax contains three pairs of legs and, usually, two pairs of wings. One pair is often modified (like a beetle's 'shell' - composed of modified wings called eltyrae). Many insects are organized and grouped by their wing form and function. The adult abdomen does not contain legs, but may contain a stinger – watch out!
The basic insect body plan has many variations – think of the differences between a mosquito and a ladybug – and more than 1,200,000 species of insects exist. Within the class Insecta, these species are grouped into approximately 26 orders (there is some flux in the number of recognized orders). Approximately one third of these orders are represented in our collection.
The insect collection was started more than 50 years ago and contains thousands of insects collected by current and former faculty and students. The specimens in this collection are used by several classes at Gustavus, including Organismal Biology, Invertebrate Zoology, Entomology, Freshwater Biology and Aquatic Stewardship. The collection is also used by Entomologists in the broader, scientific community.
Insect Orders Represented in the Collection
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