Did you find the parts associated with insect senses from the previous post? Here are the labelled photographs to check.


The following are public domain photographs taken by the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.  Name links will take you to the image in Flickr. Note:  For the squeamish, there are a few photographs of dead birds in their photostream (preserved specimens).


(Syrphid or flower fly, face view)

Flies have very interesting antennae. They are shorter and smaller than the antennae of many adult insects. Fly antenna also have a hair-like structure sticking out called the arista. A few kinds of flies, like mosquitoes, can “hear” when sound vibrations cause the arista to move.

The large eyes are made up of facets or ommatidia. Can you see the patterns they make in the eye?

They aren’t labelled, but did you spot the sensory hairs around the ocelli and those just above the antennae? They are longer and thicker than hairs in nearby regions. They might help the fly figure out how fast it is going.


The antenna of this bee looks very different from that of the fly.


The  Eucera dubitata bee has smaller compound eyes than the flower fly.

The mouthparts are complicated, consisting of tube-like tongue to suck nectar but also biting jaws to dig nests in the soil. The long, whitish hairs at the top of the mouthparts are sensory hairs. They might help position the tongue in flowers.

The other hairs on the bee’s body may not be not primarily sensory. They may help keep the bee warm and also to trap pollen. The bee scrapes the pollen off its hairs and bundles it into bee bread for the larvae to eat.

moth-labelled-headThe velvetbean moth has a thinner, more flexible moth for sucking nectar.

The antennae of male moths are often bushy and thicker than those of female moths.

Moths, which are active largely at night when it is cooler, have hairs on their body to help insulate them and keep them warmer.

Some moths also have tympana on the sides of their abdomen, which allows them to hear the echolocation signals of bats and avoid them.

Because there are so many different insects, there are of course many different insect senses. Please feel free to leave a question if you a curious about an insect we didn’t mention.