The Secrets of Insects' Legs
Why are bodies made the way they are?
The process of evolution means that animals' bodies change very slowly over time.
We're going to use an electron microscope to take a look at insects' bodies and discover their secrets.
Using the electron microscope, we can see the differences between different insects' legs, and we can understand how their shape depends on where and how the insects live.
Let's take a look at some insects' legs!Click on a picture
Butterflies use the tips of their legs to smell grass and check whether it's suitable for their larvae to eat. The hair-like structures (called "setae") allow them to smell the chemical substances inside plants.
Houseflies use mucus to stick to slippery surfaces and ceilings. The mucus is secreted from the pulvilli, appendages with lots of fine hairs gathered together.
Grasshoppers have a suction-cup-like appendage between their claws. This appendage, known as an arolium, allows them to stick to slippery leaves and helps them to kick.
Dragonflies have spines on their lower legs. These help them cling on to plants and prevent their prey from escaping.