The Insects
About Aquatic Fish Food
(Insects and other aquatic creatures)

The world has millions of species of plants and animals, and thousands of insect species. To make it easier for scientists (and you) to name and describe all of these amazing different life forms, scientists created a "family tree". This tree helps us group similar species, and lets us organize every living thing on the planet. The animal kingdom is organized to show things that are alike and things that are different in the way animal bodies are put together. This is the basis of "classification".

Insects belong to a classification of animals called "arthropods" - a word that means jointed feet. This group of animals includes scorpions, crabs, centipedes and spiders. All of these animals have jointed legs and bodies. Insects are arthropods that have a body with three segments, six legs and one set of antennae. These body parts make them different from all other arthropods. Spiders are not insects because they have eight legs and two body parts. Centipedes are not insects because they have many body parts and many legs.

In this project we will only be talking about a special kind - aquatic insects.

Insect Anatomy Click here to see the anatomy of an insect.

Even though all insects have the same basic body parts - three-segment body and six legs - there are so many different kinds that they have been grouped into twenty-nine different divisions called "orders". Each order contains species that are like one another in specific ways. For example, all insects with two wings like mosquitoes belong to the order "Diptera". Every species of insect has its own special name and these names are in Latin. Latin is an old language that scientists have used for hundreds of years to name all the plants and animals that we have found. Each name has two parts - such as the name for brook trout. The Latin classification, Salvelinus fontinalis, is kind of cool. Salvelinus is an old name for char and fontinalis tells you that the fish lives in springs.

Insect Classification Click here to see how insects are classified.

Insect life cycle
Most insects completely change their size, shape and colour as they go through their life cycle. These changes are called metamorphosis. There are three basic kinds of life cycles in insects. Some have a four phases (egg-larva-pupa-adult); others have three phases (egg-nymph-adult). The four-phase life cycle is usually called complete metamorphosis and the three-phase life cycle is called incomplete or simple metamorphosis. Some insects go through no metamorphosis at all. They hatch from their eggs looking like tiny versions of adults. They simply grow larger over time, shedding their outer skin as it becomes too tight to reveal a new, larger skin underneath.

In a complete metamorphosis the wings of the insect develop internally during the larval stages. The larval stages look quite different from the adult. Between the last larval stage and the adult stage there is a pupal stage where the insect is not active.

In simple metamorphosis the wings of an insect develop externally during the larval stages. The larval stages, which are called nymphs, look very similar to the adult insect. There is no pupal stage.

Most insects and other aquatic fish food reproduce by sexual reproduction - that is - the female has her eggs fertilized by a male and the new insect is a combination of both of the parents. Other creatures reproduce by asexual reproduction. Leech mothers lay eggs that contain only her genes. They are not fertilized by a male.

Click here to see a three phase insect life cycle.
Click here to see a four phase insect life cycle.

The Midges
The Leeches The Caddisflies
How to tie and fish the Midge (Bloodworm) How to tie and fish the Leech How to tie and fish the Caddisfly
The Scuds The Waterboatmen The Damselflies
How to tie and fish the Scud How to tie and fish the Waterboatman How to tie and fish the Damselfly
The Dragonflies The Mayflies The Mosquitos
How to tie and fish the Dragon Fly How to tie and fish the Mayfly
  The Giant Stoneflies   The Giant Crane Flies   The Baitfish  
  How to tie and fish the Stonefly   How to tie and fish the Crane Fly   How to tie and fish the Bait Fish  
  Egg Patterns      
  How to tie and fish Egg Patterns      

Teacher Support Materials for this Section