Dominating the biological spectrum with nearly a million known species, members of Insecta
may represent as much as 90% of multicellular life on Earth. Though the incredible diversity of insects overwhelms any attempt at inclusive summarization, adult members of this class can be identified by the following characteristics: three pairs of legs; a segmented body including a head, thorax, and abdomen; and one pair of antennae. Most insects also have compound eyes, a trait exclusive to the phylum Arthropoda
to which the class Insecta
belongs. Additionally, insects are the only known invertebrates capable of flight, and many species are equipped with one or two pairs of wings. A dizzying array of adaptations, from social behaviors and complex communication to metamorphic cycles and camouflaging mimicry, allow insects to inhabit nearly all environments and persist as one of the most integral aspects of their various ecosystems.