Q:

How do insects protect themselves?

A:

Quick Answer

Insects use a variety of defense mechanisms to avoid predation, including chemical defenses, running, flying, mimicry and camouflage. However, these are only a few of the tactics and strategies employed by the group as a whole.

Know More

Full Answer

North Carolina State University explains that when a predator grabs a leg of some insect species, such as crane flies, the insect can break off the appendage. Called autotomy, this technique is also employed by walking sticks, grasshoppers and other long-legged species. Some insects regenerate their lost limbs, but even among those that don't, the missing appendage usually isn't a serious burden.

Other species, particularly a number of caterpillars, use bristles, spines or hairs to defend themselves. Some of these hairs dissuade predators through mechanical means. Contrastingly, other hair types, such as the spines of saddleback caterpillars, induce pain or itching upon contact. Such structures are called urticating hairs.

Other insects, such as the familiar wasps, bees and ants, produce venom that is delivered through a hollow stinger. Located at the back of the abdomen, these stingers are actually modified ovipositors. The venom used by these insects often causes pain, but, in some cases, it can also cause an allergic reaction in the predator.

Learn more about Bugs
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Are snails insects?

    A:

    Snails are not insects. They are members of the class Gastropoda, and are more closely related to squid than to the insects that live in gardens.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do lightning bugs eat?

    A:

    Adult lightning bugs usually eat other either insects, pollen or nectar, although some species, like the European glow-worm, have no mouth and are unable to eat at all. Larval lightning bugs are predators, eating worms, slugs, snails and small insects.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Are praying mantises harmful to humans?

    A:

    According to Encyclopædia Britannica, praying mantises feed exclusively on insects, and they are harmless to humans. No known venomous species of mantis exists. Although their appearance may be frightening, mantises are uninterested in humans.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is the scorpion an insect or an arachnid?

    A:

    Scorpions are neither insects nor spiders; they are distant cousins of the spider and are animals in the Scorpiones order, beneath the class Arachnida. Unlike insects that have six legs, scorpions and spiders both have eight legs, and scorpions have only two body segments, compared to the insects' three.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore