Do all insects have six legs?
Insects include many different types of creatures, such as ants, bees, beetles, butterflies, cockroaches, crickets, dragonflies, fleas, grasshoppers, silverfish, termites, wasps, and more.
The 4-stage life cycle of an insect is egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Some insects only have a 3-stage life cycle: egg, larva, and adult.
The larva stage – the caterpillar or grub or maggot (depending on the type of insect) – does not usually have six legs. Some larvae, such as maggots have no legs (just little nubs), some larvae, such as beetle grubs, have 3 ‘true’ legs, and some larvae, such as caterpillars, have 3 ‘true’ legs, 4 prolegs and a clasper. But not all caterpillars have this combination of legs, because some caterpillars have only one pair of prolegs. (Note: larva is one, larvae are several)
The larva pupates and forms a casing, called a cocoon or a chrysalis, and after days or weeks, an adult insect emerges – this is called metamorphosis (which means ‘after changing’ or ‘transformation’) where, for most species, the larva looks very different from the adult. Some examples include the following: a nymph becomes a dragonfly, a maggot becomes a fly, a grub becomes a beetle, and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly or moth.
So, all adult insects are hexapods, which means that all adult insects have six legs.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM