NC State University
General Entomology
ENT 425

External Anatomy

LEGS



Most insects have three pairs of walking legs -- one pair on each thoracic segment.   Each leg contains five structural components (segments) that articulate with one another by means of hinge joints:

  1. Coxa
  2. Trochanter
  3. Femur
  4. Tibia
  5. Tarsus

The term pretarsus refers to the terminal segment of the tarsus and any other structures attached to it, including:

ungues -- a pair of claws
arolium -- a lobe or adhesive pad between the claws
empodium -- a large bristle (or lobe) between the claws
pulvilli -- a pair of adhesive pads



Leg Adapations and Modifications:

CharacteristicAppearanceExample(s)
Cursorial -- adapted for running
Ground beetles
and
Cockroaches
Raptorial -- adapted for catching and holding prey
Praying mantids
Natatorial -- adapted for swimming
Diving bugs
and
Water beetles
Fossorial -- adapted for digging in soil
Mole crickets
Saltatorial -- adapted for jumping
Grasshoppers


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Last Updated:   5 March 2006
Copyright 2005
John R. Meyer
Department of Entomology
NC State University