That’s an impressive number, but a mere fall in the bucket compared to the variety of species waiting to it is in discovered. Recent approximates place the number of species in the natural civilization anywhere between 8.7 million and over a trillion!

But the estimate has plants, single-celled organisms, and even algae. Considering, a an ext appropriate question can be: How many pets are on Earth? And more importantly, simply what is one animal? space insects animals? are bacteria? Let’s dig in a little deeper.

You are watching: Are insects part of the animal kingdom

*
Scientists think there are between 8.7 million and also 1 trillion varieties of insects on earth.

Are Insects Animals?

The answer come the an initial question — space insects are pets — is a resounding yes. Insects room animals. Now let’s dig right into why.

Looking in ~ our handy animal Classification Guide, we view the highest level that taxonomy is ‘Domain.’

Based on your taxonomy, insects have been established to it is in animals.

Archaea, Bacteria, and Eurkarya space the three taxonomic domains. The first two include mostly single-celled organisms, however only Eukarya features organisms v cellular nuclei. Does the mean everything in Eukarya is one animal? No. To with that suggest we need to relocate down a rung come ‘Kingdoms.’

After all, trees room multiple cabinet organisms through nuclei, however a tree is obviously not an animal! That’s why at a ‘Kingdom’ level there is a group known together Animalia, or animals. Species group in pets share a variety of common traits:

They give birth sexually;Breath oxygen;Consume necessary material; andAre able come move.

With a low variety of exceptions, all animals meet these simple criteria. Therefore the next time who asks you, “are insects animals?” You deserve to answer “yes,” because they give birth sexually, breath oxygen, consume necessary material, and also are able come move.

What percentage of the World’s animals Are Insects?

Now that we’ve created that insects space animals, let’s dig into just what percentage of the pet kingdom is insects.

The short answer: A lot. Today there are around one million described types of insects. That’s around 70% of all animal species. In total, invertebrates (which includes arachnids, crustaceans, and other species) space 96% of all identified animal species.

When you to compare the number of insects (under the ‘Class’ Insecta), you check out the staggering biodiversity of insects.

*
In total, invertebrates, which has arachnids, crustaceans, and also other species, consist of 96% of every identified animal species.

Number of varieties (Chapman, 2009)

Insects: ~1,000,000Mammals: 5,487Birds: 9,990Reptiles: 8,734Fish: 31,153Amphibians: 6,515

Most importantly, the percent of insects compared to other animals should continue to prosper in the years to come.

For example, researchers believe there might be about a dozen undiscovered/undescribed mammal species across the world. Put one more way, 99.9% the mammal varieties have been discovered.

(Maybe Bigfoot is the end there… but don’t hold your breath!)

A chart listed below compares just how enormous the variety of undiscovered insects may be!

GroupDescribed SpeciesHow numerous Exist (Est)
Mammals5,487~5,500
Reptiles8,734~10,000
Fish31,153~40,000
Birds9,990>10,000
Amphibians6,515~15,000
Insects~1,000,000~5,000,000
Data: number of Living Species

Today, around 70% of the world’s pets are insects. Yet in the future, insects and also invertebrates might constitute an ext than 99% of all pet species!

What Is an Insect?

We’ve established that:

Insects are animals, and

So now let’s dive into what, exactly, constitutes an insect by looking at some significant invertebrates.

Why the Millipede is not an Insect

While us might contact anything the crawls along the ground an ‘insect,’ in fact many small invertebrates aren’t.

Insects generally have six legs, three body segments, and also two antennas. Compare this come the millipede which has actually up come 750 legs (fun fact: no millipede actually has actually a thousand legs!) and also sometimes hundreds of body segments!

So when a millipede could be small, crawl on the ground, and also have an exoskeleton, it’s actually not bug but its own ‘Class’ named Diplopoda that includes more than 12,000 explained species.

And here’s miscellaneous mind-blowing: millipedes might be tiny today, however that’s wasn’t constantly the case. Three hundred million year ago, part millipedes grew larger 보다 humans! researchers theorize that their enormous size was feasible thanks to incredible levels the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere at the time.

*
Three hundred million year ago, part millipedes flourished larger than humans.

The Asian gigantic Hornet: bug

Is the asian giant hornet an insect? The price is “yes.” when the species flies, it has three body segments, 6 legs, two antennas, and also three body segments.

In the United says alone over there are an ext than 19,600 types of flies, 11,500 butterflies and moths, and also 17,500 insects native the ‘Order’ that has bees and also wasps. That’s a many flying insects!

You’ve surely viewed news stories around “murder hornets.” These gigantic wasps have actually been spotted throughout the United says in 2020 and also raised far-ranging media attention.

What’s the big deal? because that starters, asian giant hornets room voracious honeybee predators. A tiny group can completely wipe out a swarm of 30,000-plus honeybees in simply a couple of hours!

The oriental giant hornet isn’t really a killing hornet. About 40 human being die a year type their stings in Asia, and also most these deaths deserve to be traced earlier to allergic reactions. However, their stringers are quite painful and also best avoided!

*
A little group of oriental Giant Hornets can totally wipe out a colony of 30,000-plus honeybees in simply a couple of hours.

Bugs vs. Insects

Finally, you can be asking yourself “what’s the distinction between pest and a bug?” prefer insects, bugs are definitely animals, however the concern of how bugs and also insects differ can be on your mind.

See more: Most Original Native American Governments Lend Support To The

The word “bug” is regularly informal. Many civilization will merely use words “bug” to refer to any crawly creature v legs. Under this definition, even pets that aren’t insects (like the example of millipedes above) would certainly qualify as bugs

A an ext formalized meaning of a an insect is an insect whose mouthparts piece and also suck. The bespeak of insects that fall under this definition of words “bugs” is Hemiptera. Instances of bugs under this an ext formalized meaning include everything from bed bugs, to cicadas, come aphids, i beg your pardon are little sap-sucking insects.

How countless Insects space in the civilization Today?

With insects on every non-Arctic landmass throughout the world, you could be wondering: “How numerous insects are in the world?”

It’s practically impossible to count insects, but scientists calculation their populations and also most believe that about 100 trillion ants roam the world! Put one more way, your “biomass” may be as lot as all humans merged — also with our weight differentials factored in!

The total number of every form of insect was approximated by the Smithsonian at 10 quintillion. If we compose that out, the number of insects in the civilization today is 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 insects ~ above Earth!

How room there so plenty of insects in the human being today? Well, simply a single “super ant colony” stretches 3,700 miles along the Mediterranean coast, and also ants aren’t also a fraction of complete insects.

*
Roughly 100 trillion ants are believed to roam the world.

And over there you have actually it, the low down on insects! next up: new Monkey types Found in Myanmar!