Reference work entry
Class of Arthropoda.
The Insecta are the largest group of animals with respect to the number of species (~773,000) and to individuals. The classification is based on the original occurrence ( Pterygota) or absence ( Apterygota) of wings. The further developed subclass Pterygota includes all important parasitic species; some of them, however, have apparently lost their primary wings during adaptation to parasitism (e.g., fleas). Insects may act as ectoparasites when sucking blood on the surface of their hosts (e.g., mosquitoes), or may even become endoparasites when entering the skin, and the intestinal and/or respiratory tracts in a variety of hosts (e.g., flies leading to myiasis; Dermatobia hominis). In addition to this method of parasitism the insects may be directly or indirectly involved in the life cycles of a large number of parasites. These insects are encountered:
as true intermediate or final hosts of important parasites of humans and...
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