Misconceptions/Misinformation #8: All
arthropods or "creepy crawlies" are insects.
Examples of misinformation
- This prominant magazine published this summary of the popular Disney film
James and the Giant Peach "James crawls inside through a pulpy
canal, meets some eccentric insects (Old-Green Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug,
Miss Spider, Glowworm, Earthworm) and floats across the sea on an adventure...."
From: "Taking Out the Bugs," Time April 15, 1996.
- The children's book, Bug Hunt, included in its drawings and descriptions
of "bugs", (a term in itself inappropriate for all insects) the
following creatures: a Roly-poly, or "pill bug", an earthworm, a
daddy-longlegs spider, and a snail. From: Bug Hunt: A Lift-the-Flap
Book by Neecy Twinem. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. 1999. ISBN 0-448-41874-6
- On the cover of this juvenile book, entitled Insects, is a spider
and a snail. From: Nature Club: Insects by
Althea Braithwaite. New Jersey: Troll Associates. 1990. ISBN 0-8167-1962-4
- Disney included in its production of A Bugs's Life, two species
which are not insects: Tuck and Roll, the pill "bugs" and Rosie
the Spider. From: A Bug's Life: Classic Storybook Disney Enterprises,
Inc./Pixer Animation Studios. 1998. ISBN 1-57082-979-9
Centipedes, spiders, worms, and snails are not insects! Centipedes and spiders
are members of the same phylum as insects (Arthropoda); however, earthworms
(Annelida), and snails (Mullusca) are not!
To help children better visualize the distinctions between insects and other
organisms, have them draw or list some common differences between representatives
of the groups. This way, the next time they see something on the ground, flying
in the air, or crawling on a tree, they will know that it is specifically a
millipede, for example, and not just another "bug".
You can begin with:
- Spiders vs. insects
- Millipedes vs. centipedes
- Worms vs. insects
- Common characteristics of arthropods
- Common characteristics of invertebrates
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