Small, short bodied, often covered with scales, biting mouthparts, short antennae, small or no eyes, terminal forked springing organ (furcula) folded up under the body when at rest. Found mostly in damp places.
Subclass Pterygota (winged insects)
Division Hemimetabola/Exopterygota (insects without a specialised larval form, at each moult they get more and more like the adult form. The less specialised orders.
Soft bodies, large eyes, minute antennae, atrophied mouthparts in the adult, hindwings much smaller than fore wings, or may be absent, 2 or 3 terminal abdominal filaments. Nymphs aquatic, long lived, adults ephemeral.
Robust with large, jumping legs, biting mouthparts, antennae medium to long, forewings modified and hardened as wing covers, specialised stridulatory and auditory apparatus. Mature females usually have a well-developed ovipositor.
Large, usually wingless, frequently elongated and stick-like or leaf-like, biting mouthparts. Mostly tropical, but a few species have been introduced to the UK and survive in hot-houses. Often kept as pets.
Robust, antennae and cerci many segmented, biting mouthparts, forewings thickened to wing covers, wings folded flat over abdomen, pronotum shield-like. Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal and omnivorous. Mantids are mainly tropical.
Body flattened, wingless, piercing/sucking mouthparts usually retractable, thoracic segments fused, head longer than broad. All ectoparasitic on mammals at all stages. About 500 species worldwide, 50 in Europe.
Single pair of membranous wings, hind wings reduced to club-like balancing organs (halteres), mouthparts usually sucking or piercing. Larvae vermiform, often with specialised head structure. Pupae in puparium, usually no cocoon.
Hard-bodies, smaller hind wing linked to fore wing by hooks (hamulae), venation specialised, mouthparts biting/sucking, some with complex behaviour, some social, many parasitic. Larvae polypodus or apodus. Pupae generally in cocoons.
Forewings horny elytra meeting midline down the back, hind wings membranous and covered by elytra or absent, biting mouthparts. Larvae diverse. "If one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of creation, it would appear that God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles." —J.B.S. Haldane, 1951.