Most species of insects are the prey for many animals, so the ability to avoid predators and defend themselves is significant for the preservation of life and survival of individuals in the general population. Most (80-99.99%) of individuals born do not survive to reproductive age. Predation causes 50% of mortality among insects. Insects had to evolve a wide range of defense mechanisms because of the ongoing escapist battle. Despite the small size, weaknesses, numerous enemies, and loss, this class of insects is an active living one, which is ranked in the world’s sustainable ecological niches. It is caused by the fact that insects, similar to all living beings, are genetically provided with everything necessary for the preservation of life. Only the best defense mechanisms have been passed down from generation to generation through the survival of the fittest insects. Such behavior includes passive and active defensive reaction to protect themselves, their homes and territory. The principal protective devices and processes are different types of defensive coloration and shape of a living being, as well as production of poisonous substances and pigments and bodies of their allocation. Among the diverse means of protection from the enemy, the most often used mechanisms are running (for example, ground beetle larvae due to numerous legs), jumping (a flea beetle), and a fast rise (horse-flies, borers). The ability to fall from plants with bent limbs and to play dead (ladybugs), camouflage coloring, spraying caustic or odorous liquid are other common features of insects. All of these defense mechanisms have proven to be effective since these species of insects continue to exist today. The research paper focuses on the defense mechanisms of insects, discovers their nature and emphasizes the significance of the class in the world.
Defense Mechanisms of Insects
Insects belong to the most numerous class of arthropod invertebrates. According to various estimates, their number reaches 3 million species. To date, about 1 million of described species of insects represent about 70% of the total number of known fauna. The representatives of the class of insects are ubiquitous in most ecological communities and play an important role. All living beings on Earth have special mechanisms needed to protect themselves from danger, ensuring the survival of their offspring. Insects have different kinds of defense mechanisms that allow them to hold a significant place among the inhabitants of the planet.
Hiding is one of the best defense mechanisms of insects because if they cannot be seen then they cannot be killed. One of the protective measures insects are using is obliterative coloration. There are three types of protective coloration and body shape: camouflage, mimicry, and demonstration. Insects, similar to many animals, do not just hide from predators in shelters, but use the protective coloration to mask and hide their eyes. It makes them less noticeable in the habitat, allowing merging with the background. Conversely, the brightness of the colors and the specificity of the figure serve as warnings to the enemy of poisonous insects. Color and shape of the insect's body mainly correspond to features of its habitat. Biological, physiological and morphological characteristics of the species that are in accordance with the environment are called a life form. For example, life forms of locusts are combined into two classes: the inhabitants of the plants (phytophils) and residents of the open areas on the surface of the soil (geophiles). Thus, individuals living in the green area have the green coloration as well as the ability to miraculously change to yellow as the drying vegetation.
Cryptic morphology. Certain insects have the ability to hide in the environment while changing their coloration according to the circumstances. With the help of the evolved specialized cryptic morphology, some insects became an integral part of the general background because of their resemblance to the environment. Other types invented the way of pretending to be an inedible object. Walking sticks (Order Phasmatodea), moths (Order Lepidoptera) and many katydid species (Family Tettigoniidae) are only small part of the class representatives that succeeded in evolution of these skills. Walking sticks are the great masters of disguise. They often look exactly like the surrounding vegetation. The ability to blend into the environment was inherited in them from birth. For example, the walking stick hatched from eggs lying on the ground will be brown in order to blend into the fallen leaves and branches. Later, as it climbs to the green plant, it can change the color to the appropriate shade of green. Another walking stick, which lives on a tree trunk, becomes mottled. Even if the walking stick from time to time moves or just rocks from side to side, it looks more like a twig in the wind than a living being. However, if the stick insects have wings, they can have a bright color. Under ordinary conditions, the wings are completely hidden under the elytra. The walking stick opens them when something disturbs it. Scientists call this phenomenon "a flash of color"; the walking stick uses this ability to frighten an approaching predator. List of camouflage colors of walking sticks seems to be endless...
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