We as humans share our environment, homes and communities with many different species of living organisms, but the one group of animals that has has exploited these habitats most successfully is by far Insects. Far from humble, Insects exist in enormous abundance, in a diverse range of conditions, making them the most accomplished group of animals on our planet and by rights our direct competitors.
So WHAT MAKES INSECTS SUCH SUCCESSFUL COMPETITORS?
There are a number of factors which allow insects to successfully compete with humans.
- Impact on food Supply;
Insects impact greatly on our food supply. Traditionally we think of our homes and their impact on our day to day lives. But insects also affect every step of the food supply process, from production, to distribution & storage. Whether this be due to the destruction of plant life, by consumption or infection with disease or infiltration of packing. At every point, insects can be attributed to the demolishing or contamination of food.
Their relatively small size, is an advantage when it comes to the endless possibility of environments open to animals of this size. For example; Thousands of cockroaches can live in the cracks and crevices found in one domestic kitchen alone.
- Large populations & rapid reproduction
Insects have the ability to produce a large number of offspring, which compared to other animals, develop quickly into adult form, who in turn can spawn further offspring. This allows for exploding population in a short amount of time.
Insects have a remarkable potential to adapt to their environment and varying conditions. This is perhaps their greatest asset over us, their human competitors. Over millions of years, insects have adapted every element of their beings to guarantee their continuance of species. This includes changes to feeding habits, food and reproductive cycles
- Transmission of disease
Insects, particularly those who feed on blood, whether human or animal alike, has been widely associated with the transmission of diseases across the world. Mosquitoes, lice, fleas, bed bugs and ticks are able to transmit a number of diseases caused by infectious agents: viruses such as chikungunya virus, yellow fever, dengue fever, etc., bacteria Lyme disease, plague, etc., parasites (malaria, sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, filariasis, etc.. These diseases thrive mainly in tropical environments. Of all these diseases Malaria is the dominant problem which has resulted in over 435,000 worldwide in 2015. (90% Deaths in African Countries).
- Body Covering
Unlike humans, insects have an exoskeleton. This means their skeleton is on the outside of their body. Their bodies are made from a light flexible material that period shed and replaces as it grows. Similar to humans with our skin and bones, the insects exoskeleton is designed to protect their internal organs.
One big advantage that insects have over humans is flight. This has played an integral part in the insects success and has greatly aided in the exploitation of their human counterparts environment.
To be continued..