How Scientists Can Easily Identify the Order to Which an Insect Belongs By Looking at Its Mouth

Insect Mouths

In a fascinating Ted Ed lesson written by ecologist Anika Hazra and animated by Giulia Martinelli, narrator Pen-Pen Chen explains how to easily identify insects that otherwise look the same. The secret is in their mouths.

There are nearly a million known insect species in the world, but most have one of just five common types of mouthparts. Why is this information useful to scientists? Anika Hazra explains how the features of an insect’s mouthparts can help identify which order it belongs to, while also providing clues about how it evolved and what it feeds on.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.