Certainly the most famous and successful lineage of arthropods is the Insecta. Insects dominate our world and have silently witnessed the rise of vertebrates, the fall of nonavian dinosaurs, the proliferation of mammals, and the rapid evolution and industrialization of humans. Despite dramatic changes on earth, they have not only persisted but, by ever imaginable criterion of success, excelled.

In order to understand their modern diversity and history, we still examine them firsthand with microscopes and the naked eye. To compare species separated by eons, entomologists must make detailed comparisons of common structural designs. Thus, in order to discuss insect evolution, we first need a framework for understanding their basic structure. The comparative study of anatomical structure is morphology.

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