The creepy, crawly animals on our planet are called arthropods. Arthropods do not have backbones. Instead, arthropods have an outer skeleton as well as jointed legs. Arthropods are the biggest group of animals on Earth.
We group arthropods by how many legs they have. Insects, like bees and grasshoppers, have six legs. Arachnids, like spiders and mites, have eight legs. Crustaceans, like crabs and shrimp, have ten legs. Some arthropods have more than ten legs, like centipedes.
Most arthropods lay eggs. Some baby arthropods look like their parents when they hatch. Other baby arthropods do not look like their parents. They go through stages from baby to adult. For example, butterflies hatch as caterpillars with legs. As caterpillars grow, they become butterflies with wings.
Arthropods live in all types of habitats. Most insects and arachnids live on land. Most crustaceans live in water. Arthropods live in hot and cold places, too. Arthropods are everywhere!
Some arthropods can be harmful. Some eat crops, which damages the food we need. Some insects carry diseases that can make people and animals sick. But some arthropods can be helpful. Bees help pollinate the plants we need for food. Pollination also helps flowers grow. These creepy, crawly animals play an important role on our planet.