The first insects moved by walking, the beginning of flight dates back to about 300 million years ago. The wings had an enormous evolutionary success and in a very short time the winged species surpassed the primitive ones, until they almost disappeared.

The advantages of flying are the ability to move quickly, escape predators more easily, facilitate the location of partners, come into direct contact with a greater number of plants.

The first pollinating insects were probably beetles. Flowers and pollinating insects underwent coevolution.

Insects are the only invertebrates to have wings and they are the first animals to have conquered the aerial environment during the history of life on earth.


Are hollow organs inside which flow nervous structures and hemolymph, which brings nourishment. Most adult insects have two pairs of jointed wings, formed by two overlapping chitin membranes. To strengthen the structure of the wings, there are hollow tubular thickenings inside which flows the hemolymph.

How insects fly

Not all insects fly in the same way, the different flight modes depend on the weight, the size, the muscular system used, the morphological and mechanical characteristics of the wings, the power and frequency of the wing beat.

How do insects flap their wings?

The wings are operated by two types of muscles: dorsoventral and longitudinal, able to raise and lower the wings. By contracting, the muscles allow oblique movements which incline the wing beat plane.

How many wings do insects have?

Insects have two pairs of wings that are inserted onto the second and third thoracic segments. Some species may be wingless, others have wings only in male individuals or in a certain life stage, other insects only have one pair (the other pair has transformed).

The oldest wings

The dragonfly has two pairs of membranous wings thanks to which they can move forward, remain motionless and sometimes even fly backwards.

The Balancers

The rear pair of mosquito wings are reduced, they are used for stabilization during flight

Case wings

The front wings of the grasshoppers, called tegminae, are used to protect the hind wings, which are large and delicate, they are used to prolong the duration of the jump.

Colorful wings

The wings of butterflies are covered with small scales, which are actually small, flattened, colored hairs, from which derive the colors of the wings.

Veiled wings

The four membranous wings of bees, during flight, are connected through a series of hooks, so as to move simultaneously.

Shield wings

The hind wings of ladybugs are called elytra, they are very robust and serve to protect the membranous wings and to give stability during flight.

Wings hooked

The front wings of bedbugs are called hemieitre, they are rigid in the basal part and membranous at the tip, they protect the smaller and membranous rear wings, during flight, the two pairs of wings move in a coordinated way.