AntsAnts are social insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 out of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist. Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. These larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of "workers", "soldiers", or other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" and one or more fertile females called "queens". The colonies are sometimes described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support
Bees, Hornets & Wasps
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants. Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used as food for larvae. Bees have a long proboscis (a complex "tongue") that enables them to obtain the nectar from flowers. They have antennae almost universally made up of 13 segments in males and 12 in females, as is typical for the superfamily. Bees all have two pairs of wings, the hind pair being the smaller of the two; in a very few species, one sex or caste has relatively short wings that make flight difficult or impossible, but none are wingless.
FliesTrue flies are insects of the order Diptera (from the Greek di = two, and ptera = wings). Their most obvious distinction from other orders of insects is that a typical fly possesses a pair of flight wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax. (Some species of flies are exceptional in that they are secondarily flightless). The only other order of insects bearing two true, functional wings plus any form of halteres are the Strepsiptera, and in contrast to the flies, the Strepsiptera bear their halteres on the mesothorax and their flight wings on the metathorax.
Mice & RatsA mouse is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents, characteristically having a pointed snout, small rounded ears, and a long naked or almost hairless tail. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (Mus musculus). It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles. They are known to invade homes for food and occasionally shelter.
MosquitosThe mosquitoes are a family of small, midge-like flies: the Culicidae. Although a few species are harmless or even useful to humanity, most are a nuisance because they consume blood from living vertebrates, including humans. In feeding on blood, various species of mosquitoes transmit some of the most harmful human and livestock diseases. Some authorities argue accordingly that mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on Earth.
RoachesCockroaches belong to Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta and Order Blattaria. Some species invade human dwellings and are considered pests. These cockroaches can be carriers of various diseases because they are commonly found near waste deposits or in the kitchen, where food is present. Restaurants may also experience cockroach infestations. Cockroaches can measure over one inch in length, with tropical species tending to be larger than those found in other climates. Cockroaches have six legs, two antennae and wings. However, a number of winged cockroaches are not particularly adept at flying. Cockroaches emit unpleasant odors and may also produce sound. The Madagascar hissing cockroach is the most famous of these vocal cockroaches, although more common species may produce quieter clicking.
SpidersSpiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea colonization. As of 2008, approximately 40,000 spider species, and 109 families have been recorded by taxonomists; however, there has been confusion within the scientific community as to how all these families should be classified, as evidenced by the over 20 different classifications that have been proposed since 1900. Anatomically, spiders differ from other arthropods in that the usual body segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax and abdomen, and joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel. Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. In all except the most primitive group, the Mesothelae, spiders have the most centralized nervous systems of all arthropods, as all their ganglia are fused into one mass in the cephalothorax. Unlike most arthropods, spiders have no extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend them by hydraulic pressure.
TermitesTermites are a group of eusocial insects that, until recently, were classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera (see taxonomy below), but are now accepted as the epifamily Termitoidae, of the cockroach order Blattodea. While termites are commonly known, especially in Australia, as "white ants", they are only distantly related to the ants. Like ants, some bees, and wasps which are all placed in the separate order Hymenoptera-termites divide labour among castes, produce overlapping generations and take care of young collectively. Termites mostly feed on dead plant material, generally in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung, and about 10% of the estimated 4,000 species (about 2,600 taxonomically known) are economically significant as pests that can cause serious structural damage to buildings, crops or plantation forests. Termites are major detritivores, particularly in the subtropical and tropical regions, and their recycling of wood and other plant matter is of considerable ecological importance.