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Portal:Arthropods

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Arthropods make up the largest phylum of animals (Phylum Arthropoda) and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans and others. More than 80% of described living animal species are arthropods, with over a million modern species described and a fossil record reaching back to the late Proterozoic era. Arthropods are common throughout marine, freshwater, terrestrial, and even aerial environments, and includes various symbiotic and parasitic forms. They range in size from microscopic plankton (~¼ mm) up to forms several metres across. Arthropods are characterised by the possession of a segmented body with appendages on each segment. They have a dorsal heart and a ventral nervous system. All arthropods are covered by a hard exoskeleton made of chitin, a polysaccharide which protects against trauma and desiccation. They shed this covering periodically when moulting.

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A 1731 illustration of the life cycle of Polish cochineal, around its host plant, Scleranthus annuus.
Polish cochineal (Porphyrophora polonica), also known as Polish carmine scales, is a scale insect formerly used to produce a crimson dye of the same name, colloquially known as "Saint John's blood". The larvae of P. polonica are sessile parasites living on the roots of various herbs growing on the sandy soils of Central Europe and other parts of Eurasia. Its primary host plant is the perennial knawel (Scleranthus perennis), but it has also been known to feed on plants of 20 other genera, including mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella), bladder campion (Silene vulgaris), velvet bent (Agrostis canina), Caragana, smooth rupturewort (Herniaria glabra), strawberry (Fragaria), and cinquefoil (Potentilla).

Before the development of aniline, alizarin, and other synthetic dyes, the insect was of great economic importance, although its use was in decline after the introduction of Mexican cochineal to Europe in the 16th century. Polish cochineal was widely traded in Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In the 15th and 16th centuries, along with grain, timber, and salt, it was one of Poland's and Lithuania's chief exports, mainly to southern Germany and northern Italy as well as to France, England, the Ottoman Empire, and Armenia.

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A tiny black insect with feathery wings; the entire body is around 0.5 mm long.

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Credit: KarlR

Longhorn beetles (Saperda carcharias pictured) are a cosmopolitan family of beetles, Cerambycidae, characterised by extremely long antennae. It is a large family, with over 20,000 described species; several are serious pests, with the larvae boring into wood.

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indicates an extinct taxon.

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Here are some tasks you can do:

  • Start a new article. Arthropods cover an huge range of taxa and other topics, so there will always be plenty of missing articles. Some which have been explicitly requested are listed here.
  • Clean up existing articles. Lists of articles needing cleanup are available either grouped by the work needed or ungrouped.
  • Expand an existing article. Existing articles are often incomplete and missing information on key aspects of the topic. It is particularly important that the most widely read articles be broad in their scope. Wikipedia:WikiProject Arthropods/Popular pages (updated monthly) shows the number of views each article gets, along with assessments of its quality and importance. Articles with higher importance ratings and greater numbers of views are the priority for article improvements, but almost all our articles would benefit from expansion. Stubs can be found in Category:Arthropod stubs and its subcategories.

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Arthropoda on Wikispecies Arthropoda on Wikimedia Commons Arthropods on Wikiquote Arthropoda on Wikibooks Arthropoda on Wiktionary
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