Nature for children. Do you know the little creatures that live in our gardens?

In the animal world, insects represent the richest group in species and number: on the planet, eight out of ten animals are insects ! They have the special thing about having the body divided into three parts: the headon which there are two eyes and two antennae; thorax, on which are attached six legs and often wings; and abdomen.

Insects are born in an egg, from which comes a larva, which undergoes several stages of transformations called “precipitations”.

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

The ladybug

Cut : from 5 to 8 millimeters

Habitat : gardens and meadows

It is part of the beetle family. It is an almost round insect, a few millimeters long, with a red back with black spots. Its elytra (upper wings) protects another pair of thin, transparent wings.

It feeds on aphids and defends itself by producing a foul-smelling yellow liquid. Ladybug larvae melt three times before reaching adulthood.

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier


Cut : from 4 to 5 centimeters

Habitat : water points

There is a wide selection of dragonflies and just as many colors. But they all have their four large transparent wings in common.

The dragonfly is found near water points as it lays its eggs on aquatic plants. Very good hunter, it feeds on small insects. Its larvae live in water for two or three years.

Do you know ?

The large protruding eyes of dragonflies have 100,000 facets, and each of them corresponds to one eye … in other words, it has a very good vision!

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier


Cut : from 6 to 10 millimeters

Habitat : around the world

The fly is a small, dark insect with a single pair of short, transparent wings.

There are many species, but the housefly is found all over the world. Its service life does not exceed three weeks.

She has a suitcase that allows her to suck her food (which consists of flowers, fruits, but also meat and even excrement!). It lays its larvae, called “maggots”, on food.

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

The brown ant

Cut : from 3 to 4 millimeters for men, from 6 to 10 millimeters for women

Habitat : fields, gardens, houses, etc.

Unlike some other species of ants, the brown ant does not have wings.

This dark brown insect lives in colonies that are organized, as in the bee, with workers, few males and one queen.

When an ant finds food, it warns other members of its colony through chemical messages that others may smell. It feeds on honeydew, a substance secreted by aphids and other insects such as larvae.

Do you know ?

The ant, this small insect of a few millimeters, is able to carry and move 50 times its weight! For a man, it is equivalent to carrying a motorhome.

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

The honey bee

Cut : 10 millimeters for the workers, 14 millimeters for the males and 20 millimeters for the queen

Habitat : tree trunks, hives

Insect with a brown-black body with light rings and two pairs of transparent wings.

Bees organize themselves in colonies. They have a specific role within their group: The workers produce the honey they feed, make the wax and take care of the larvae. The males are few. Their role is to fertilize the queen, who is the only one who lays eggs.

Do you know ?

The wasp, unlike the bee, is not hairy. Its abdomen is light yellow with very distinct black lines. The place where the abdomen attaches to the thorax is very thin. It is also this special feature that inspired the phrase “having a wasp waist”, which means “having a very thin waist”.

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

The big green grasshopper

Cut : from 3 to 5 centimeters

Habitat : meadows, edges of forest

Equipped with powerful hind legs, the grasshopper can jump very far and very high.

It likes the heat and the sun and lives in the tall grasses of fields and meadows. It feeds on plants but also eats small insects. Males “sing” to attract females by rubbing their wings together. Grasshoppers have a bad reputation for ravaging crops.

Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

Can you put a name to these other little beasts?

Here are some other little beasts. Can you give them a name?

Reply (from left to right and from bottom to top): rose gnaw; billen; aphids; Kneelers; the ear dispute; Colorado potato beetle; gendarmes; cikaden; cricket.

Excerpt from the book My notebook of nature, published by Le Dauphiné Libéré / Rue des écoles, 96 pages, € 6.90. For sale at

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