Texas Tech University

Tiny and Mighty Creatures

Rainforest waterfall in Thailand

Insects comprise the largest group of living beings on Earth. They play many different roles in the ecosystem, all of them important both for humans and the environment.

Here we have a small sample of insects from around the world, which are part of the Invertebrate Zoology Collection of the Natural Science Research Laboratory of the Museum of Texas Tech University.

These are some of the key roles that insects play:

Pollinators

Those who transfer pollen across plants to help them produce fuits and seeds.

Insect pollinators: bees, butterflies, and flies

To learn more about pollinators and pollination, go to the website that graduate student Alyssa DeWaele put together about this.

Predators

They feed on other insects or other invertebrates. Free pest control.

A wasp, a beetle, and a robber fly, all feeding on other insects

 

Decomposers

The recycling team. They help breaking down organic matter, returning nutrients to the soil.

Termites, a hide beetle, and a dung beetle

 

Plant feeders

A large proportion of insects feed on plants, on different parts of them. 

A grasshopper, aphids, and a leaf beetle

Insects as food

Many animals depend on insects as a food resource with high content of protein and fat.

A spider feeding on a fly; a bird eating a caterpillar; a bird eating a butterfly





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Background photo by Huay Mae Kamin: waterfall in rainforest at Kanchanaburi province, Thailand.

Insect photos courtesy of Dr. Catherine Galley.

Bird picture on bottom center by Dr. Joe Manthey.

The insect display has been prepared by Dr. Jennifer Girón, Dr. Catherine Galley,
and graduate student Alyssa DeWaele.

Do you have questions?

Why do the insects in the display have pins going through them?

What are the pieces of paper under some of the insects?

For other questions, please email the Acting Collections Manager of the Invertebrate Zoology Collection: Jennifer.Giron@TTU. edu