Do All Insects Have Wings?
By Chris Williams on February 13, 2012.
Q. My brother and I made a bet about something and my mom said to ask you. My brother says all insects have wings when they get to be adults. I say he’s wrong. Fleas don’t have wings, do they? This is important because the winner gets the other guy’s allowance this week.
A. You can tell your brother that you win that bet, just remember to save some of that money for college. Maybe you’ll be an entomologist some day!
Your brother is almost right, however. Most insects do have wings. Fleas, lice, silverfish, and firebrats are the only truly wingless insect groups that most of us are familiar with. Most adult insects have two pairs of wings, but they’re not always visible. Often they’re hidden, shortened, or nonfunctional. You can easily see both pairs of clear wings on wasps, bees, ants, and termites. Their wings are held on top of their backs and the back pair is usually smaller than the front pair.
A beetle doesn’t appear to have wings at all, yet the hard outer covering on the back of a beetle is actually a pair of modified wings. The second pair of clear, membranous wings are folded up underneath. When a beetle flies, the wing covers, or elytra, spread apart at the center and the flight wings beneath unfold. It all happens so fast though that you can rarely see it happen.
In moths and butterflies, the forewings and the hindwings are covered with scales that create patterns and colors. Cockroaches, grasshoppers, and crickets have flight wings hidden under a leathery pair of front wing covers that match the rest of the body. Flies are the only insect group that has only one pair of functional wings. The hind wings are reduced to small, knobbed structures called halteres that act like little gyroscopes to help the fly keep its balance.
If you’ve ever watched a dragonfly at work, turning, diving, and hovering, you can appreciate the fact that certain flying insects can outmaneuver any other flying animal with the possible exception of the hummingbird.
Do all insects have wings explain your answer? ›
Of course, not all insects have developed wings, these including such groups as spring-tails and silverfish. Some parasitic groups are believed to have lost their wings through evolution. When wings are present in insects, they commonly consist of two pairs.Do all insects with wings fly? ›
Not all insects are capable of flight. A number of apterous insects have secondarily lost their wings through evolution, while other more basal insects like silverfish never evolved wings.Do most species of insects have wings? ›
Most insects have a pair of antennae and two pairs of wings.Which insects have no wings at all? ›
Most insects have two pairs of wings, which lift them into the air so they can fly. In some types of insects, such as flies and beetles, the second pair of wings changed shape as the insect evolved and is no longer used for flying.Which insect has no wings and why? ›
Apterygota is a subclass of small, agile insects which in their present and evolutionary history, differ from other insects due to their lack of wings.What are wingless insects called? ›
apterygote, broadly, any of the primitive wingless insects, distinct from the pterygotes, or winged insects.Which insects have wings but Cannot fly? ›
However, when the insect is on a water surface, it can sail across the surface by lifting its wings into a breeze.How important are the wings of an insect? ›
Insects generally have two pairs of wings, and they are actually part of the exoskeleton. Benefits of flight include evading predators, dispersal, and finding a mate. Other functions of wings include protection, sound production, heat retention, visual communication, and orientation.Can an insect survive without wings? ›
They die, though not necessarily immediately. But if they can't walk or fly, they can't feed, so starvation is inevitable. Insects may not be quite like mammals or birds, but they are living things and do not deserve to be tormented. There is no good reason to pull off their wings or legs.
Can insects fly without wings? ›
A fly without wings is not called a walk. nycteribiidae. Also known as bat flies—named after their preferred host—these tiny parasites belong to the true fly superfamily, Hippoboscoidea. Their flat, wingless bodies do not resemble common flies, which is why they are often mistaken for spiders.What percentage of insects have wings? ›
About 95% of insect species worldwide can fly. The question of what environmental pressures determine whether or not an insect species evolves to have wings has long fascinated scientists.Which insect does not fly? ›
Flightlessness is common in moths (usually only the females), as it is in beetles, wasps, cockroaches, earwigs and stoneflies. On the subantarctic islands nearly 40% of insects have lost the ability to fly.What do all insects have in common? ›
Awesome, now you know that all insects have three body parts: a head, a thorax, an abdomen, they have six legs, they have a pair of antennae, and they have zero or two pairs of wings.Why some insects are wingless? ›
Insects that live in stable habitats and do not have to rely on flight for daily activities may particularly be selected for flightlessness. In isolated areas. Isolated habitats where flightless insects are found include: caves, inland sand dunes, high montane and coastal strand communities (Wagner and Liebherr 1992).What is a fly called if it has no wings? ›
If a fly doesn't have any wings it can't fly, it can only walk! What do you call a fly without wings? A walk!How many wings do all insects have? ›
*Insects have an exoskeleton. *Adult insects have one or two pairs of wings.What are 2 insects that Cannot fly? ›
Termites and ants are mainly wingless, so most of their behaviour involves crawling, and produce 'reproductives' that are temporarily winged during a short breeding season. Other insects, such as the flea and louse, are wingless and can only crawl or jump to move around.What are five insects that Cannot fly? ›
Answer. Answer: Ant, scorpion, centipede are the insects which can't fly.Can all ants fly? ›
While almost all ant species can develop wings and fly, only reproductive ants will actually go through the transformation process (and only during breeding season). The foraging worker ants of any species that you are likely to see around your home will never have wings.
Do ants have no wings? ›
The majority of ants are wingless. However, at certain times of the year, swarms of flying ants become a common sight. These winged ants often are called alates, swarmers or reproductives. Winged ants have elbowed antennae, thin waists constricted at the thorax and hind wings smaller than their front wings.What bug looks like a bee without wings? ›
Bee-like Insect, but no wings - Dasymutilla aureola - BugGuide.Net.What are winged insects called? ›
Hymenoptera include membranous winged insects such as wasps, bees, and fire ants.What are 2 winged insects called? ›
The Order Diptera (true flies) includes many common insects such as mosquitoes, midges, sand flies, blowflies and the House Fly. Most of the insects we see flying around do so with four wings (two pairs), but dipterans (meaning 'two wings') use only one pair.Which bird has no wings at all and Cannot fly? ›
Penguins are a well-known example of flightless birds. Ostriches are the largest extant flightless birds as well as the largest extant birds in general. An extinct moa.What is the function of wings? ›
The wings generate most of the lift to hold the plane in the air. To generate lift, the airplane must be pushed through the air. The air resists the motion in the form of aerodynamic drag. Modern airliners use winglets on the tips of the wings to reduce drag.Why are wings a good adaptation? ›
Their shape uses the wind to make flying easier. From side on, you can see that a bird's wing is flat underneath and curved on top. This means that the air passes faster above it than underneath it. The difference in air speed creates air pressure underneath the wing, which lifts it up.What are the different types of wings of an insects? ›
The wings may be membranous, parchment-like, heavily sclerotized, fringed with long hairs, or covered with scales. Most insects have two pairs of wings — one pair on the mesothorax and one pair on the metathorax (never on the prothorax).Do insect wings grow back? ›
Because they acquire their wings during their terminal moult, insects cannot repair wings and must rely exclusively on behavioural mechanisms for damage compensation. The most direct consequence of wing damage is the alteration of forces and moments due to the loss of aerodynamic surface.What happens if you cut the wings off a fly? ›
Without wings, the fly cannot fly so they could die of thirst, starvation or predation.
Do all insects have three pairs of wings? ›
Wings-Most adult insects have two pairs of wings (four). True flies (order: Diptera) only have one pair of wings (two). Spiracles-Air enters the insect through these holes in the abdomen.What insect can not walk? ›
Dragonflies possess six legs, but they are not capable of walking. They use their legs to hold prey. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but dragonflies hold their wings away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest.Can cockroaches walk backwards? ›
Can Cockroaches Crawl Backwards? Cockroaches Can Crawl Backwards: Myth Cockroaches are pretty crafty. Like ninjas, they scale walls, can disappear in the blink of an eye and are fast – very fast. But when it comes to retreating or backing out of a situation, cockroaches can only move forward.What flies are afraid of? ›
Cayenne pepper is an excellent natural fly repellent and also deters many other insects. Mix one cup of water and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a misting bottle and spray it near entryways and wherever you see flies. Other natural fly repellents include lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, camphor, and cinnamon.What are 3 things that all insects have in common? ›
Insects are arthropods: invertebrate animals that have an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed appendages.What three things do all insects have? ›
What is an insect? Insects are animals that have six legs, three body sections (a head, a thorax and an abdomen), antennae and a hard exoskeleton, like a skeleton on the outside of their body – they are invertebrates.What are two characteristics that all insects have? ›
A segmented body… much like a worm but with special groups of segments called “tagmata” Paired segmented appendages (legs) Bilateral symmetry (the right and left half look the same)Do insects have wings? ›
Insect wings are adult outgrowths of the insect exoskeleton that enable insects to fly. They are found on the second and third thoracic segments (the mesothorax and metathorax), and the two pairs are often referred to as the forewings and hindwings, respectively, though a few insects lack hindwings, even rudiments.Do all insects have wings and antennae? ›
Awesome, now you know that all insects have three body parts: a head, a thorax, an abdomen, they have six legs, they have a pair of antennae, and they have zero or two pairs of wings.Can an insect not have wings? ›
There are various disparate groups of wingless insects. Apterygota are a subclass of small, agile insects, distinguished from other insects by their lack of wings in the present and in their evolutionary history. They include Thysanura (silverfish and firebrats).
Why do insects need wings? ›
Insects generally have two pairs of wings, and they are actually part of the exoskeleton. Benefits of flight include evading predators, dispersal, and finding a mate. Other functions of wings include protection, sound production, heat retention, visual communication, and orientation.What are some insects that can't fly? ›
Flightlessness is common in moths (usually only the females), as it is in beetles, wasps, cockroaches, earwigs and stoneflies.Do insects have 2 or 4 wings? ›
Usually, insects bear three pairs of legs, one pair of antennae, and two pairs of wings. Complete answer:Insects are considered the most successful animals as half of the known animals are insects.Does every cockroach have wings? ›
Almost all species of cockroaches will develop wings as adults, but only a few are good flyers — most household types of roaches aren't capable of flight at all.What 4 things do all insects have in common? ›
Insects have jointed appendages as arthropods (arthropod means "jointed foot"), an exoskeleton (hard, external cover), segmented body, ventral nervous system, digestive system, open circulatory system, and advanced sensory receptors. The word "jointed appendages" applies to both antennae and legs.Which insect has wings but Cannot fly? ›
However, when the insect is on a water surface, it can sail across the surface by lifting its wings into a breeze.