This month’s book, James and the Giant Peach, was filled with fun bug characters. But were they all insects? Nope. Insects are a type of arthropod, and all of the bugs in the book were arthropods. So what’s the difference?
Arthropods have segmented bodies, jointed apendages (legs), and exoskeletons (a hard shell). And so do insects, since insects are arthropods. But insects also have more features in common, like their three body segments and six legs. We know the centipede had a lot more legs than that!
Once we had learned a little more about the bugs in the book, we set off on our own bug hunt. When somebody found a new kind of bug, we’d all rush over and try to identify it. Is it an arthropod? An insect? A beetle (which typically have hard forewings over their “real” wings)? How many legs and body segments? Which one of the bug characters in the book is it most like? (Centipede, Miss Spider, Old-Green-Grasshopper, Ladybug, Silkwork, Glow-worm, Earthworm.)
For more info about bugs–both insect and non-insect– check out bugfacts.net or this great list of all kinds of insect resources.