5 Main Classes Of Bugs In The Rocky Mountains

classes of bugs

A dragonfly is the fastest insect.

There are many different classes of bugs in the Rocky Mountains.  All of those tiny bugs may look similar, but scientists organize them into different groups or classes.

In the Rocky Mountains there are literally tons of different kinds of bugs.  All the bees, ants, cicadas, and millipedes may be tiny, but they are very different animals.  Scientists classify them based on the common characteristics that they share, such as number of legs.  The Rocky Mountains are home to innumerable  bugs and here are the five main classes for them.

General Classification System Of Life

As I’ve talked about in a previous post, scientists have developed a system to classify all living organisms.  This system starts from the broadest grouping and narrows down into more and more narrower categories.  Each narrower category is grouping more similar organisms together.

For example, the broadest categories are the Kingdoms and the narrowest are the individual species.  The general ranking is: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

All bugs are in the Kingdom Animalia and the phylum arthropoda.  Within that phylum there are several different classes.

classes of bugs

Photo via Flickr.

5 Main Classes of Bugs In The Rocky Mountains

classes of bugs

A Painted Lady Butterfly is an insect.

Insects Class – These animals have an exoskeleton, three part body, three pairs of jointed legs, and a pair of antennae.  This is the most diverse class of animals in the world.  This includes all insects and most of what we think of as bugs, such as bees, ants, butterflies, and grasshoppers.  Read this old post to see how siders are different than insects.

classes of bugs

A black widow is an arachnid.

Arachnida –  These animals have exoskeletons, eight legs, and two extra pairs of appendages for feeding and defense, but no antennae.  This is the class that includes all spiders and similar animals, such as scorpions.  You can check out this old post for some of the common arachnids of the Rocky Mountains.

classes of bugs

A centipede.  Look close and see one pair of legs per body segment.  Photo via Flickr.

Chilopoda – These animals have long, multi-segmented bodies with one pair of legs per body segment.  This includes the centipedes, which are all carnivores.

classes of bugs

A millipede. Photo via Flickr.

Diplopoda – These animals also have long, many segmented bodies, but each segment has two pairs of legs.  This includes all millipedes, which are herbivores.

classes of bugs

A pill bug or roly poly.

Malacostraca – These animals are crustaceans and include the pillbug and sowbugs.