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Orders of insects not living in Britain

Information on some orders of insect not living in Britain



- Small sized. Body soft, narrow parallel sided bodied. Wings absent in females but present in the males of some species.

- On the front leg, the basal segment of the front tarsus is swollen.

- In the male the end of the abdomen is somewhat twisted and asymmetrical.

- Biting and chewing mouthparts.

- Incomplete life cycle: egg, lava - that looks like an adult - and adult.

What they do & where they live

- They spin webs, from silk glands in the swollen part of the front legs, as protection from predators. They hide under stones and in the soil, often in communal groups. Males seem to be predatory, females more vegetarian.

Number of species

- None are native in Britain.

- Worldwide 150 species have been described.



- Body pale, elongate and covered in fine hairs, about 15-30 mm long when adult. Wings absent, eyes small or absent. Very long thread-like antennae. Long tail-end jointed processes (cerci) and the female with a long sword-like ovipositor.

What they do & where they live

- It is believed that they are scavengers on dead insects and other organic debris.

- They live in cold environments, including glaciers and ice caves.

Number of species

Worldwide about 24 species, half of them in North America.



- Famous for the preying posture of the grasping front legs. Body, legs and antennae usually long. Adults usually with wings.

- Biting and chewing mouthparts.

- An incomplete life cycle, with egg, emerges from egg as a worm-like larva but soon changes to a larva looking-like a small adult, and adult.

- Eggs often laid in batches inside a froth which hardens into a protective cover (an ootheca). Some mantis have a different method.

What they do & where they live

- Predators on other invertebrates, well camouflaged on shrubs or among other vegetation.

- Absent in Britain (not warm enough, yet!).

Number of species

- In Europe there are about 12 species.

- Worldwide there are about 1,800 species.



- As the scientific name suggests, this order of insects has a mixture of characters found in mantis and in stick-insects. Wings are lacking. The front legs are mantis-like. The head is hypognathous.

What they do & where they live

- The grasping front legs indicate predation on insects.

- Little is yet known about them.

Number of species

- This order of insects was first described in 2002.

- As yet only a few species have been found, all in southern Africa and Tanzania.



- Related to booklice (Psocoptera), within which they were placed in the past.

- Minute (up tp 3 mm), termite like, wingless or with 2 pairs of wings which are shed. Antennae with 9 filiform segments.

- Chewing mouthparts.

- Incomplete life cycle.

What they do & where they live

- They form colonies, usually in dead wood.

- They feed on mites and other small arthropods.

Number of species

- Not found in Britain.

- Worldwide 25 species are known, mainly tropical.