Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
About arthropods and Insects in general
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)

These are invertebrates with segmented legs, and are undoubtedly the most common group of animals in the mangrove. All have a chitinous exoskeleton and their foregut and hindgut are also chitin-lined. There are more arthropod species than all other animals put together. In mangroves, three subphyla are especially common—the crustaceans, chelicerates and insects. All are relatively poorly studied, and opportunities for scientific discovery abound!

Insects (Insecta)

Insects are the most diverse group of organisms alive, consisting of more than half of all living species. Although widespread on land and in freshwater, they are less common in the sea. Being such a large and complex group, there are exceptions to many attempts at definition!

But it is true of all insects that they have a single pair of antennae and three pairs of legs. Adults have a body divided into three parts: head, thorax and abdomen.

An invertebrate with wings is definitely an insect, but not all insects have wings. Many mangrove insects, particularly the ground-dwelling ones, are wingless.

Though numerous in mangroves, insects are less obvious to the casual visitor than crabs or molluscs. Their diversity is too immense for even this entire book and little is known about many of them.

The most common groups of insects are the beetles (Order Coleoptera), moths and butterflies (Order Lepidoptera), flies (Order Diptera), bugs (Order Hemiptera), ants (Order Hymenoptera), termites (Order Isoptera), and crickets and grasshoppers (Order Orthoptera).

Springtails (Order Collembola) are common in mangroves and are placed here for convenience although not all biologists regard them as true insects.

In mangroves, beetles and moths are among the most noticeable.

The young of insects are called caterpillars, maggots, grubs, wrigglers, etc., but are all more easily called larvae! These are more frequently seen than the adults. However, it is difficult to know what a larvae becomes after metamorphosis. The only sure way is to rear them to the adult stage.

Quite often, all you ever see of an insect is the damage it leaves behind! In some cases, nevertheless, this is sufficiently characteristic—acting like a "graffiti signature"! Looking out for the damage could then lead you to the insect itself.









<<Back to insects
What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre