Insects and their Allies  

About This Site
This site has been developed for those who are interested in insects and their close relatives but have only basic knowledge of them. The main aim of this site is to provide an understanding of the different types of invertebrates, their Classification and anatomy, allowing a person to become familiar with those that are more common or conspicuous. The site includes an overview of the biology, ecology and life cycle of all 26 orders of true insects found in Australia as well as other groups of invertebrates likely to be encountered. Further distinction, to family level within some groups is also provided as well as photographs or drawings of representative species.

Identification and Classification
Also included on this site is a basic dichotomous Key to the major groups of terrestrial invertebrates within Australia. The images and descriptions in the key as well as those throughout the site will provide assistance in classifying most invertebrates to order level. Classifying insects and other invertebrates can be very confusing for the beginner, the main problem being the difference in appearance between adults and juveniles within many of the orders. Therefore to identify these creatures some basic knowledge of their anatomy and aspects of their life cycle is needed. Descriptions throughout the key and on the pages throughout the site supply only a general overview of the different invertebrate groups and their distinguishing feature, but should be helpful in classifying most specimens likely to be encountered. Always remember though, that in nature there are many variables and there is likely to be exceptions for all groups of invertebrates that make them harder to classify.

Information Provided
Where available the numbers of described species are provided. However, it must be realised that the invertebrate fauna in Australia is extremely diverse and some individuals may be still unknown or not described. Therefore exact numbers of species stated in the text can only be taken as an approximation. Also the biology and distribution information of many species should only be used as a guide of what is currently published.

To assist in the classification of such diverse organisms many strange words may be used that are not familiar in everyday speech. In most cases these words are an effective way to communicate in one or two words that which would take a whole sentence. Throughout the site some of these words are explained in the text as they are used, others are active links to the Glossary.