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Insects and Arachnids

Insects and arachnids are the most popular wild animal on Earth. Read our collection of articles discussing all sorts of ants, bugs, butterflies, spiders and just about every other type of insect and arachnid.

Topics to Explore

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Learn More / Page 6

Where do butterflies get their striking colors?

The brilliantly colored orange wings of a monarch butterfly are as recognizable as the plumes of a peacock. Why are butterfly colors some of the best and brightest in nature?

How Butterflies Work

If you've seen a butterfly in your lifetime, you probably noticed their colorful wings, or saw one basking in the sunlight. But I bet you didn't realize that it would soon die. Why are their life spans so short, and are they nearly extinct?

What's the difference between bees and wasps?

Wasps and bees are different, yes. But how can we distinguish? Here's a hint: The bee's the one near the flowers. The wasp's the one buzzing around your turkey sandwich.

Why are cicadas so noisy?

Cicada singing is often heard during the hot summer months. The distinctive high-pitched noise often fills the air. Have you ever wondered why the cicadas produce this noise. Find out the answer to this question in this HowStuffWorks article.

How Chiggers Work

Chiggers are tiny arachnids that are known for delivering bites that itch intensely. Find out how chiggers work and learn about the chigger reproduction cycle.

How Termites Work

Termites have existed for 50 million years and can be found throughout the world. Learn about termites and find out how termite colonies are structured.

How Ticks Work

Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts -- human or otherwise -- and are known for carrying diseases. Learn all about ticks, including how to remove them.

How Fleas Work

Fleas have three real talents – eating, breeding and waiting. If you leave your home and take your pets with you, any fleas inside will just wait for you to return so they can get back to eating blood and making babies.

How Bees Work

Bees exhibit many traits found in stories and myths -- traits that have led many cultures to view them with reverence or awe. Explore how bees make honey and examine the potential causes and effects of Colony Collapse Disorder.

How Cockroaches Work

Entomologists estimate that there are between 5 and 10 million species of insects on Earth. But if asked which insect they hate the most, many people would have no trouble choosing just one -- the cockroach.

How Spiders Work

Love 'em or hate 'em, you've got to admit that spiders are some pretty impressive animals. Movies like "Arachnophobia", "Spider-Man" and "Eight Legged Freaks" even spin their stories around spiders. Check out the real-life web-slinging, wall-crawling, venom-injecting inspiration.

Why are moths attracted to light?

I always see moths circling around and landing on my porch light. Why do they do this? Is it somehow advantageous to them?

How Mosquitoes Work

In 2005, there were 3,000 verified cases of West Nile Virus in the U.S. alone, and we can probably expect even more this year. This mosquito-borne disease keeps popping up. Find out all about mosquitoes.

How do flies breathe?

Insect respiration is very different from that of a human. Insects do not have lungs that deliver oxygen to all of the cells in their body. So how exactly do flies and other insects breathe then? Find out the answer to that question in this article.

How do fireflies light up?

When flickering fireflies light up the summer night, they’re not showing off – they’re talking to each other. How do these insects make their abdomens glow?

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