SUMMER 2019 The Summer of Torah, Hesed, and Charity

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An insect is an animal that has three main body parts, two compound eyes, two antennae, and six jointed legs. Instead of bones, insects have hard exoskeletons, which protect their soft bodies like a coat of armor. Insects’ three body parts are: a head, a thorax(middle body segment), and an abdomen. Most insects have two pairs of wings (four total), though some have only one pair. Their legs and wings are all attached to the thorax. Insects breathe through spiracles, tiny holes along the sides of their bodies.

Insects are a very diverse group of animals. There are more than one million species of insects that have already been discovered, and probably at least that many more that have not yet been discovered and identified! Most insects hatch from eggs and go through several different stages of life, in a process known as metamorphosis.

Very ANTeresting

An insect grows by getting rid of its old exoskeleton and replacing it with a new, slightly larger one each time. This is called molting. Once the insect is an adult, it will not grow or molt anymore.

Small in Size,
Large in Numbers

There are more insects in
the world than all the other animals combined!

Insect questions that bug people the most (pun intended):

Do insects sneeze?

Do insects hiccup?

Do insects cough?

The answer to all three questions is NO. These types of reactions occur only in breathing systems that are similar to ours. Insects breathe through tiny holes in their skin, so they have no reason to sneeze, cough, or hiccup.

Do insects have blood?

Insects do have blood, but it is very different from human blood. Insect’s blood, referred to as hemolymph, contains various nutrients and hormones. Unlike human blood, it is not red in color; it is clear. Sometimes, though, insect blood does appear to have a yellow or green color to it – this comes from the pigment of the plants that the insect has eaten.

Our blood is red because it has hemoglobin, which is used to carry oxygen to where it is needed in the body. Insects do not have any red blood cells or hemoglobin. They breathe through their skin and get oxygen from a complex system of air tubes that connect to the outside air through their spiracles. So instead of carrying oxygen, their blood carries nutrients from one part of the body to another.

Insects do bleed when they get hurt, but their blood can clot, so a minor wound will usually heal.

Torah Tidbit

Learning from the Ant

The ant is praised for its industrious nature. In Mishlei(6:6-8), Shlomo Hamelech, the wisest of all men, declares: Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and become wise, for she has no commander, overseer, or ruler, yet she prepares her bread in the summer; she gathers her food in the harvest.

The lazy fellow, the sluggard, would do well to observe the busy ants: how energetically they do their work, not wasting a single moment, and without anyone having to prod them. Ants are self-reliant and finish the task they assign to themselves, without supervision.

A Real

The praying mantis is the only insect that can turn its head.