SpiderInsects and spiders are invertebrates this means they do not have a internal skeleton or backbone. They instead have a hard exoskeleton on the outside. The top layer of this is known as the cuticle. The cuticle is made out of proteins and it can be very versatile. It can be thick and hard for protection, thin and soft for flexibility and even stretchy for movement. It can be heavy or it can be light to let them fly. It can be permeable, for letting water or gases in and out, or it can be solid and waterproof. It can also be many different colours. Just like human skin is different on different areas of the body so is an insects cuticle. It is because of the versatility of this cuticle that insects have become one of the most successful groups of animals on the earth.

An insect’s body is made up of three parts, the head, the middle section called the thorax and the end section which is called the abdomen.

A spider’s body has two main sections, the cephalothorax and an abdomen. Insects have a brain, a nervous system, gut and tubes called tracheae through which they breathe oxygen. They have two antennae and six legs.

Spiders have eight legs and usually have simple eyes instead of “compound” eyes that give many insects a lot better vision.

Most insects go through a complete metamorphosis such as beetles, wasps and flies. They start life as an egg that hatches to a larva. The larva eats, grows and sheds then turns into a pupa in which chemical changes take place. The final stage that they go through is turning into the adult which can reproduce.

Not all insects go through a complete metamorphosis.  Some such as stick insects and grasshoppers go through an incomplete metamorphosis. This is where the insect hatches from the egg and looks like a miniature version of the adult. The insect continues to keep growing and every time it molts (sheds portions of its skin) it gets bigger until it gets to adulthood.

Insects can be found in just about every type of habitat on earth.

With the exception of one family all spiders are venomous. Spiders use venom to subdue their prey. The spider family Uloboridae do not possess venom glands.

All spiders are predators. They hunt and catch their prey.

African Giant Millipede

African Giant Millipede

Scientific Name Archispirostreptus gigas Conservation Status Not Evaluated Appearance African giant millipedes are coloured black. As one of the world’s largest millipedes they will grow up to 30.5cm (12in). This body is rounded and consists o...
Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle

Scientific name : Family Scarabaeidae Conservation status : Stable Appearance There are over 7000 species of dung beetles in the world. Dung beetles can come in a variety of colours from dull and glossy black to metallic green and red. They have...
Emperor Scorpion

Emperor Scorpion

Scientific Name Pandinus imperator Conservation Status Not Evaluated Appearance As one of the largest scorpions in the world the emperor scorpion may reach lengths of up to 20cm (7.9in) long and weighs in at an average 30g (1oz). They have...
Lord Howe Island Stick Insect

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect

Scientific Name Dryococelus australis                             Conservation Status Critically endangered Appearance Lord Howe Island stick insects are coloured a golden honey brown. Running down the abdomen is a faint cream stripe. B...
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Scientific Name Gromphadorhina portentosa Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance Madagascar Hissing cockroaches have a black to mahogany brown exoskeleton. On the abdomen are orange markings. They have 6 legs. On the feet are pads and...
Mexican Red Knee Tarantula

Mexican Red Knee Tarantula

Scientific Name Brachypelma Smithi Conservation Status Near Threatened Appearance The Mexican red knee tarantula is coloured black with brown hairs across most their body. At the leg joints are the red bands from which their name is derived....
Rainbow Stag Beetle

Rainbow Stag Beetle

Scientific Name Phalacrognathus muelleri                Conservation Status This species has not yet been assessed for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. Appearance The rainbow stag beetle is brightly co...
Spiny Leaf Stick Insect

Spiny Leaf Stick Insect

Scientific Name Extatosoma tiaratum Conservation Status Not Evaluated Appearance The spiny leaf stick insect is generally a tan colour across their whole body. Diet and environmental factors can lead to them appearing green, red, brown, white...
Stick Insects

Stick Insects

Conservation status : All species are vulnerable Appearance There are around 3000 species of stick insects, so obviously their appearance is varied. Typically they are mostly shades of brown, but they can be green, gray, black and even blue. Some...
Tarantula

Tarantula

Scientific name : Class - Arachnida Family - Theraphosidae Classification status : Several species are threatened Appearance There are over 1400 species of tarantula, but like all spiders tarantulas have two body segments. There is the cephalothorax...