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April 12, 2018

Did you know that there’s one particular feature on an insect that entomologists look at to determine what insect it is – the mouth.

Identifying the mouth of an insect can actually tell you what group of insects it belongs to, what it eats and even how it evolved.

Entomologists say there are 5 main types of mouths including the chewing mouthpart, the pierce-sucking mouthpart, the siphoning mouthpart, the sponging mouthpart and the chewing-lapping mouthpart.

  • Ants and grasshoppers share the same primitive type of mouth, the chewing mouthpart which has large, serrate mandibles for grinding food.
  • Bedbugs and mosquitoes suck blood using their pierce-sucking mouths.
  • The siphoning mouthpart in insects like butterflies is characterised by a curly, straw like mouth.
  • The sponging mouthpart is used by flies and similar bugs to sop up fluids.
  • Bees have a chewing-lapping mouth used to build their hives and eat.

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