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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

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What are Insects?

Insects are one of the most diverse groups of animals in the world and include beetles, butterflies and bees. They are found across a range of different habitats including rainforests, deserts, mountain tops and even the Antarctic. Insects also live in cities and other urban areas. 

All insects belong to a larger groups of animals called arthropods. This means they have a segmented body covered in an exoskeleton and pairs of jointed limbs.

There are over a million known arthropod species. Arthropods include insects, arachnids, myriapods and crustaceans.

Case study: Native bees


Australia is home to over 1500 species of native social and solitary bees as well as a number of introduced species. They have two antennae and two pairs of wings extending from the thorax. Bees have a proboscis for extracting nectar from flowers.


Native bees nest in places such as hollow trunks, tree branches, rock crevices and in underground burrows. They are also known to build small hives in wall cavities and the brick work of houses.

Some types of native social bees can be kept in built hives.

Stingless bees | YouTube | Field of Mars EEC (1:02min) | Video transcript

Role in the Ecosystem

Native bees are pollinators of native flowering plants. They are also important for the pollination of agricultural crops.

Teddy bear bee | YouTube | Field of Mars EEC (0:22min) | Video transcript

Bee anatomy


The head includes the eyes, antannae and mouth parts.

Bees have compound eyes which are sensitive to light.

Their antennae are used for smell and touch.

They have a proboscis that is used for sucking up nectar and water.


Bees have three pairs of jointed legs which all extend from the thorax.

The wings are joined to the upper part of the thorax.


The abdomen has seven segments. 

Some species will have a stinger.

Find out more

The invertebrate explorer digital book explores the incredible world of Australian invertebrates.

Students can use the book to investigate classification, features, adaptations and habitats of a variety of Australian invertebrates through narrated videos, stunning images, interactive activities and detailed text.

This book was designed by teachers to support the NSW Science and Technology K-6 syllabus and NSW English K-6 syllabus.

Content supports living world, Australian animals and class studies on invertebrates.

Download for free from Apple Books.

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