Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

The Wonderful World of Insects

Minibeasts. Creepy crawlies. Bugs. Invertebrates. We have so many different names for the insects, and just as well, because they can be found in almost every habitat on planet Earth.

Being able to tell them all apart is a great way to learn more about the world around us, and both scientists and amateurs have been collecting, preserving and identifying all these creeping, crawling, and flying critters for hundreds of years!

We call this field of study ‘entomology’ and the people who study it are ‘entomologists’.

If we know what type of insect we’re looking at we can learn so much more about it and about its habitat and the ecology of things like food chains and biodiversity.

While they might be very small, their little world is just as complex as ours. There are herbivores and carnivores. There are predators and there are prey. Camouflage and ambush! It’s just as wild a world down among the grass and up in the leaves of the trees.


Colour photograph showing part of a drawer of pinned moths
Moths in a Museum Collection

Many beetles, for example, are what we call primary consumers. This means they eat things like plants to get their energy, like cows.


Beetle with irridescent red, green and yellow wing cases.
An Herbivorous Beetle

Dragonflies and damselflies on the other hand are expert predators, hunting on the wing for their next meal just like a bird of prey.


Image of a dragonfly on a leaf
Common Hawker Dragonfly

By learning how to tell different insects apart, you can get out into nature and see how wild this miniature world is for yourself!



Invertebrate – animals without backbones such as insects, crustaceans and worms.

Entomology – the scientific study of insects and their ecology.

Entomologist – someone who studies insects.