Butterflies Moths Dragonflies Wasps Flies & Spiders
Here is a really interesting thing about insects that many people don't know - they do not breathe through their mouths! In fact some insects don't even have a mouth. So how do they breath and how do they eat? Good questions!
They breath through small holes down the sides of their bodies. The small holes look like port-holes on a ship. Caterpillars are insects also and they breath the same way.
And what about the ones with no mouths - how do they eat? Well they don't eat at all! Yes some insects don't eat anything. Here is the sad bit - their lives are so short they don't have to eat. Most of these types of insect only live one day. The Mayfly is a good example of an insect that only lives one day.
And here is something interesting about their mouths. They have mouths like us, but they are turned 90 degrees. That means that their jaws move sideway - like a door split down the middle.
Some insects don't fly, but most of the ones on this web site do fly. You can see it in the name - Butterfly, Dragonfly.
Insects use their mouths for eating. Some eat by chewing things (like humans do) but some eat by sucking up things through a built-in straw.
Butterflies eat by sucking up nectar through a built-in straw that they can coil up and fold away. Dragonflies have jaws and eat by chewing things.
Butterflies need flowers and flowers need butterflies. Can you figure out why?
Dragonflies need to be near lakes and ponds because they need to lay their eggs in water. It is sometimes hard to see dragonflies because they fly so fast. They are brilliant fliers and always seem to know where they are going. Butterflies always look as though they are not sure where they will land next.
If you sit and watch dragonflies you will notice that after they take off they often return to the exact same spot. This is very handy to know if you try to photograph them. Just be patient and they will come back so you can be ready with your camera.
Most insects are afraid of dragonflies because they are very fast and live by killing and eating other insects. Dragonflies have very few enemies, but the wasp is one of them.
Dragonflies have huge eyes so they can see really well when flying fast. They also have very large and strong wings so they can get to great speeds really quickly and manoeuvre brilliantly. Dragonflies never crash into anything.
Spiders are not insects. Do you know why?
Moths are like butterflies but they usually fly at night when all other insects are asleep. This means that the world is theirs during darkness. They have great freedom then - except for bats! Bats come out at night also (bats are not insects) and they try to catch moths to eat.
Ireland has over 1200 different kinds of moth. Some of them are very beautiful, but we never really see them. You can catch moths by leaving a light on. They are attracted to lights (nobody knows why).
If you want to see some really good photographs of Irish moths have a look at these web sites:
1. Jenny Seawright's Irish Moths Click here for Jenny's site.
2. Photos of Ireland's larger moths Click here for the site.
3. Moths Ireland Click here for MothsIreland
Places to live or habitats are important for all insects
Butterflies, dragonflies and moths, in fact all insects, will die if they cannot find a place to live. The place where a living thing lives is called a habitat. It is very important that there are plenty of habitats in Ireland. We must give living things places to live.