Insect Evolution

Possibly the most fascinating aspect of entomology is how insects first and continued to evolve into over 1 million (possibly up to 10 million) different species, all occupying completely different ecological niches.

Take any ecosystem on planet earth. The adaptations that animals have evolved to live in that habitat can inform us on the best way to live in that environment. The Native Americans took advantage of millions of years of evolution by basing their design of pottery upon a form of local potter wasp nest, which are perfect for mass provisioning food. Modern inventions that have taken advantage of insect evolution include sound production by orthopterans and hemipterans and principles of aerodynamics utilised by members of diptera and odonata.

Understanding evolution and relatedness of species can also be useful for applied science- for instance trialling of closely related parasitoids wasps improve biological control of particular insect pests.

Follow these links to learn more about evolution of the insects:

– The Basics: How does Evolution Work?

– A Brief History of Time: Evolutionary Trees

– Formulating a winning recipe: Success of the Insecta.

– Adapting an environment to suit you: Coevolution & Mutualisms

– Building the Superorganism: Sociality

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