Arthropods

Insects, arachnids, crustaceans and myriapods. The largest phylum classification in the world. Arthropods are so diverse and numerous, yet they all share basic traits and features like a segmented body, an exoskeleton, and pairs of appendages. Probably the most simplified name for these creatures is “bugs”.

These “bugs” range from ants to crabs, bees to spiders, millipedes to scorpions. Should they all be classified into one group? What do they all have in common?

To begin, these creatures, unlike humans and other higher vertebrates, have their skeleton located on the outside of their body like a shell. Some of them molt their ‘shell’ as they grow in size and age. This exoskeleton is a conveniently strong “body armor” that contains all the innards and protects the organism as a whole, yet doesn’t limit the creature’s mobility. If you’ve ever squished an insect, like a beetle, you can hear the audible sounds of the exoskeleton cracking and ultimately shattering, exposing the viscera of the then dead animal.

What might be the most feared (by humans) characteristic of arthropods is the multiple legs and appendages that arthropods have. Spiders are generally the common stereotype of this subject. So many legs (most arthropods having barbed tips on them) give the animals the ability to walk on most surfaces, even upside down, provided their mass is resistant to gravity’s pull. For example, the ant’s mass is insignificant enough that you can throw one out of a plane and it will survive the fall and live perfectly fine afterwards.

So little has been said here on the topic of arthropods. We haven’t even discovered most of their species. One could devote his entire life to the them and never know everything about them. I do not give the animals proper representation in this essay, and if you need or want to know anything more about these fascinating bugs, the internet is the place to go.

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