Insect Body Parts

Insect Body Parts

Scientists--and you!--can identify insects by noticing differences in their body parts. Body parts are also used to describe how insects function and behave.

This exercise will give you some practice in locating parts of a typical insect. First, read the following information about insect body parts. Then name the numbered parts of the grasshopper drawing. There are a few parts that look different or are not present on other insects. If you have a grasshopper specimen, try to find the described parts on it.

All insects have three main body regions: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen.

The Head

The main visible parts on the head are the large compound eyes, the antenna (feelers), and the mouthparts. On the grasshopper, the antennae are long and thread-like. Grasshoppers have chewing-type mouthparts, but other insects may have sucking, rasping, or undeveloped mouthparts.

The Thorax

The thorax is the middle region of the body, and it bears the legs and wings--if wings are present. The front wing is long, narrow and somewhat leathery on the grasshopper. The hind wing is membranous and folds like a fan under the front wing when the grass hopper is not flying.

Almost all insects have a pronotum covering the top of the first segment of the thorax, but it is usually not as big as on a grasshopper. On the grasshopper it looks like a saddle behind the head. Near the base of the middle leg, there is a small breathing hole called the thoracic spiracle. Insects breathe through spiracles and not through their mouths.

The legs of different insects are adapted to do different things. The legs of some insects are adapted for swimming, burrowing, jumping, or grasping. From looking at the form of the grasshopper's hind leg, how do you suppose they are used?

The Abdomen

The abdomen does not have many outstanding features on most insects. It just looks like a series of similar-looking segments. On some grasshoppers, there is a large round disc on the first segment next to the thorax. It is called a tympanum and is the grasshopper's ear. If you look closely at the other abdominal segments, you can find a pin-hole on the side of each segment. They are abdominal spiracles and are also used for breathing just like the spiracle on the thorax.

Label the parts of the grasshopper

Answers to Labeling the Grasshopper