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Insects (frae Laitin insectum, a calque o Greek ἔντομον [éntomon], "cut intae sections") are a cless (Insecta) o hexapod invertebrates within the arthropod phylum that hae a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-pairt bouk (heid, thorax an abdomen), three pairs o jyntit legs, compoond een an ane pair o antennae. Thay are the maist diverse group o ainimals on the planet, includin mair nor a million descrived species an representin mair nor hauf o aw kent leevin organisms. The nummer o extant species is estimatit at atween sax an ten million, an potentially represent ower 90% o the differin ainimal life forms on Yird. Insects mey be foond in nearly aw environs, awtho anerly a smaw nummer o species dwall in the oceans, a habitat dominatit bi anither arthropod group, crustaceans.

The life cycles o insects vary but maist hatch frae eggs. Insect growthe is constrained bi the inelastic exoskeleton an development involves a series o mouts. The immatur stages can differ frae the adults in structur, haibit an habitat, an can include a passive pupal stage in thae groups that unnergae 4-stage metamorphosis (see holometabolism). Insects that unnergae 3-stage metamorphosis lack a pupal stage an adults develop throu a series o nymphal stages. The heicher level relationship o the Hexapoda is unclear. Fossilised insects o enormous size hae been foond frae the Paleozoic Era, includin giant draigonflees wi weengspans o 55 tae 70 cm (22–28 in). The maist diverse insect groups appear tae hae coevolved wi flouerin plants.