The Insect Family Tree: Orders of Insects Part 1

The existence of different species of insects around the world balances our ecosystem. However, some of them are dangerous and harmful to humans and their properties. Two of these pests are termites and cockroaches. These pesky insects do not only have the ability to destroy your home, but damage you and your family’s health as well. This is why plenty of people practice termite control methods, as well as procedures for cockroach prevention in the Philippines to try and eradicate them.

In spite of this, insects can also be quite useful to mankind and the environment. Take bees for example. Do you know that they play an important role in pollination, directly affecting the world’s food supply positively? So you see, it’s just a matter of understanding which of them are helpful and which are dangerous. To help you understand them better, you should learn the different orders of insects. Here are 5 of them:


Coleoptera is the largest order of insects and it is mainly composed of beetles. It is comprised of more than 400,000 species and they make up at least 40% of the discovered insects. Insects that belong in this order are usually equipped with two pairs of wings. The ones in front are called elytra and together, they create a hard shell on the torso of the insect. Meanwhile, their hind wings are somewhat membranous and they are often used flying. But when an insect is resting, these wings remain folded under the elytra.

lady bug - type of coleoptera


Hymenoptera is an order of insect that is made up of over 150,000 species. Insects in this order are known for having well-developed mandibles and two pairs of wings. Meanwhile, the size of their bodies ranges from small to large frames. Insects in this order have different feeding habits. For instance, some are herbivores which means that they consume leaves and pine needles. Then, there are some that are predatory, trapping their prey before feeding on them. Ants, bees, sawflies, and wasps all belong in this order.


Net-winged insects, or neuroptera, are prominent for the complex vein patterns in their wings and they are made up of around 6,000 species. Insects in this order possess soft bodies, four wings, large compound eyes, and strong mandibles.

They undergo a complete metamorphism – wherein they develop, grow, and change their forms – throughout their whole lifecycle. The larvae of insects in this order are mostly predators since they eat aphids and other pests. However, as they become adults, some of them start feeding on nectar only. Antlions, lacewings, and mantidflies are some of the insects that belong in this order.


According to some researchers, Orthoptera has been existing for over 300 million years. Insects in this order have elongated hindlegs, cylindrical bodies, and large compound eyes. Their mandibulate mouths are used to bite and chew their food. Compared to insects that belong in neuroptera, insects in this order do not undergo a complete metamorphosis. Crickets, grasshoppers, katydids, locusts, and weta are some of the insects that belong to orthopteran order. 

praying mantis - type of Orthoptera


Plecoptera came from ancient Greek word “plekein” which means braided wings. Commonly known as stoneflies, insects that belong in the plecoptera order possess chewing mandibles, large eyes, robust legs, and multiple-segmented antennae. There are various insects that belong in this order all over the world, except in Antarctica. Stoneflies are also known for their lack of tolerance for polluted water which is why their presence in a body of water often indicates that a particular stream is clean.

These are the five orders of insects. Learning all about them is the first step to understanding insects as a whole.