Anatomy Head Thorax Abdomen and Genitalia

David H. Headrick

California Polytechnic State University

Gordon Gordh

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Anatomy is a subdiscipline of morphology concerned with naming and describing the structure of organisms based on gross observation, dissection, and microscopical examination. Morphology and anatomy are not synonyms. Morphology is concerned with the form and function of anatomical structure; because anatomy is an expression of organic evolution, morphology seeks to investigate possible explanations for organic diversification observed in nature. Before 1940 insect morphology focused on naming and describing anatomical structure. The need for this activity has not diminished, as much about insect anatomy remains to be revealed, described, and understood. This article focuses on the anatomical structures of the three major tagmata of the insect body: head, thorax, and abdomen, and on the external genitalia. A hypothetical ground plan for major structures is given, followed by themes in anatomical variation based on adaptation observed in the Insecta.

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