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Natural UAE

Insects with Incomplete Metamorphosis (Exopterygota)

This subclass is represented by a dozen orders in the UAE. Many are little known and because they contain just a few small species, they rarely come to the attention of the general naturalist. Nevertheless, some are economically or medically important. Amongst the former may be mentioned the thrips (Thysanoptera) which are minor pests of flowers and horticultural crops, as well as the termites (Isoptera) which are well known for their destructive activities. A common termite in the UAE is Anacanthotermes ochraceous (Burmeister). The medically important insects in this subclass include the sucking lice (Anapleura) of which three species that attack humans are well known cosmopolites, and the biting lice (Mallophaga) which may be serious pests of livestock, but are also found on native birds and mammals. Of less importance to man are the mayflies (Ephemeroptera), a few species from the families Baetidae and Caenidae occurring in the UAE mountains and oases. The webspinners (Embioptera) include some truly native species elsewhere in Arabia, but in the UAE, they seem to be represented only by the 'weed' species Parembia persica (McLachan). This insect has been spread by commerce and is a common, if largely unseen, inhabitant of suburban gardens where it constructs silken tunnels amongst fallen leaves. The earwigs (Dermaptera) are represented in the UAE by only a few species and again they are little seen. The commonest example is the widespread Labidura riparia (Pallas), which is typical of the order and found in damp places. The Phasmida is another minor order in this subclass and, in the UAE, is represented by a few species of stick insects that are seldom seen because of their excellent twig-like camouflage. The remaining four orders all contain bigger numbers of insects, including some of large size.

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