This pretty postman butterfly was once an ugly caterpillar.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Corel Photography

Insects of the Tropical Rain Forest

On this page we will learn about insects, arachnids, centipedes and other "tiny creatures" of the rain forest. So, let's get started!

The most feared spider in the world resides in the jungle. Tarantulas are one of the creepiest animals you will ever see. Most species of tarantula have poisonous fangs for killing prey and for protection. Although some are life-threatening to humans, others are harmless.

Army ants are just one species of ant in the rain forest. They are called army ants because they march in a long, thick line through the jungle. They only stop when the young larvae reach pupil stage. Once the queen lays its eggs, the ants start marching again!

Beautiful butterflies fill the forest, but at one time these insects weren't so pretty. Butterflies start out as caterpillars, which tend to be on the ugly side. They go through metamorphosis, which is the process of changing into a butterfly. Centipedes aren't so lucky. They don't turn into butterflies, but instead roam the forest looking for food. Some centipedes use poison to kill their prey.

Last modified May 2, 2011 by Jennifer Bergman.

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Tropical Rainforests

Tropical rainforests are home to thousands of species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes. Scientists suspect that there are many species living in rainforests have not yet been found or described....more


This picture of the Earth surface was taken from high above the planet in the International Space Station. In this view from above, we can see that there are lots of different things that cover the Earth....more

Desert Birds

Like the other creatures of the desert, birds come up with interesting ways to survive in the harsh climate. The sandgrouse has special feathers that soak up water. It can then carry the water to its...more

The Desert Biome

Deserts are full of interesting questions. How can anything survive in a place with hardly any water? Why is it so dry to begin with? You can find at least one desert on every continent except Europe....more

Desert Insects and Arachnids

You can find insects almost anywhere in the world. So it should be of no surprise that there are plenty of insects in the desert. One of the most common and destructive pests is the locust. A locust is...more

Desert Mammals

There are several species of mammals in the desert. They range in size from a few inches to several feet in length. Like other desert wildlife, mammals have to find ways to stay cool and drink plenty...more

Biomes and Ecosystems

Biomes are large regions of the world with similar plants, animals, and other living things that are adapted to the climate and other conditions. Explore the links below to learn more about different biomes....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA