We frequently encounter the insects of Malaysia right in the homes
and gardens, and further afield in the ponds, and in the forests, rivers
and mountains of the country.
They have lived with other creatures much longer than humans, and small as they are, they play a very important role in our ecosystem.
Insects feed on a variety of plants, other insects and small organisms.
Insects, like bees and some species of beetles, bugs, wasps and flies, help to keep nature alive by helping in the pollination of flowers, thereby multiplying and prolonging the life of the various species of plants.
Some other insects, like flies, beetles, termites and ants, help humans by breaking down and decompose organic matter and wastes, like rotten leaves, fallen trees, dead creatures and animal dungs, thus helping to clean up and maintain a hygienic environment for a healthy ecosystem.
Without the bees there naturally will be no honey, a natural and effective health medicine for man, or beeswax for candle-making.
And without the silkworm or Bombyx mori moth, we cannot get that fine, soft and sensuously smooth, natural silk.
Just two examples of insects that are commercially farmed for man's benefit.
But of course, some species of the insects of Malaysia are pests too, infecting viruses and destroying food crops like rice, fruit trees, and livestock.
They drink and suck the sap of shoots and leaves, puncturing and laying eggs in plants and fruits that later produce larvae that tunnel, eat and spoil the fruits, and thereby reducing yield and food supplies.
Mosquitoes and flies, and a few other insects spread diseases, like malaria, dengue, elephantiasis and cholera.
And the bed bugs, cockroaches and fleas inconvenience us and our pets at home.
But those are just a few species of insects that are somewhat repugnant, while many hundreds of thousands more species help mankind and make the world a wonderful place to live.
And not to worry, because through modern scientific knowledge and research, humans have found and developed medicines and vaccines to combat diseases transmitted by these insects.
Scientists have also developed methods of selective breeding of plants that are insect resistant through their own chemical processes.
Farmers now also introduce and use some predatory insect species to feed on and destroy the insect pests.
As mentioned above, they are everywhere in the country and probably just nearby.
Take a look around us -- ants, cockroaches, termites and flies can be found right inside our homes. Outside, in the gardens and ponds, we can perhaps see some flying butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, moths, bees, beetles, wasps, crickets, grasshoppers and other smaller insects.
But of course in the rain-forests, of which the country is covered with, there are thousands of species more to be found. Visit the national parks and reserves of Malaysia, just be alert and you can quickly spot them.
Insects come in different sizes, shapes, colors and designs, but basically, they have the same three body parts -- the head, thorax and abdomen. They have three pairs of legs with each pair attached to one segment of the thorax.
Insects do not have a backbone, but they have a hard outer shell called the exoskeleton, which is made of chitin, a material that is not only light but is very strong, suitable and appropriate for these tiny creatures of God.
Insects undergo metamorphosis in their life cycle, either complete or incomplete. Insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, like flies, beetles and butterflies, develop from egg to larva, and the adult emerges from a pupa.
Those insects that develop from incomplete metamorphosis go through various stages of shedding their skin known as instars. They include grasshoppers, mantises, dragonflies, cockroaches and bugs.
Have you seen a beautiful butterfly recently?
Or watched how the male and female lantern-bug walk together slowly up the tree, like a couple in love?
Or watched the dazzling displays of the fireflies along the riverbanks at night?
If you are a wildlife and nature-lover, you'll enjoy watching and observing them in their natural habitats.
So take a walk and bring out your bins (binoculars) and magnifying glass, and don't forget that digital camera to capture their unique beauty.
But please don't destroy their habitat and dwellings, and keep the environment as they are.
Enjoy the amazing and wonderful insects of Malaysia.
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And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them: and He has Power to gather them together when He wills.
There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you.
And God has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills for verily God has power over all things.