Insects in Temperate Deciduous Forests

By Yasmin Zinni
Beetles are common in temperate deciduous forests.
Jupiterimages/ Images

Temperate deciduous forests are found in eastern North America, large areas of Europe and some areas of China and Japan. Rain precipitation is about 30 to 60 inches per year, while average temperatures range from 68 degrees Fahrenheit in summer to freezing. The fours seasons are distinct in this biome, which is home to a variety of animal species, from mammals to invertebrates. Insect species are abundant in the deciduous temperate forests, including members of the orders Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera and others.

Hymenoptera, Orthoptera and Coleoptera

Wasps, bees and ants are part of the order Hymenoptera, with several species living in the temperate deciduous forests. Cicada killer wasps (Sphecius), carpenter bees (Xylocopa) and harvester ants (Messor) are some examples. Coleoptera include several beetle species, which live in different levels of the forest. Beetles of the families Cerambycidae (longhorn beetles), Cleridae (checkered beetles) and Coccinellidae (ladybugs) are more abundant in the canopy, while Carabidae beetles are easily found close to the ground. Although more common in grasslands, katydids (Orthoptera) are also found in the deciduous temperate forests.

Hemiptera and Phasmatodea

Hemiptera is large group of insects, often called "true bugs." Cicadas of the genera Magicicada and Tibicens, the box elder bug (Boisea trivittata), coreid bugs, aphids, shield bugs and leaf-hoppers are some examples of Hemiptera found in the temperate deciduous forest. The Northern walking stick (Diapheromera femorata) is a common member of the order Phasmatodea in North American deciduous temperate forests.

Lepidoptera, Dermaptera and Diptera

Lepidoptera include moths and butterfly species, which are major leaf-eater in the temperate deciduous forest, when in their larval stage. The Eastern tent caterpillar is the larva of the moth Malacosoma americanum, which emerges from the coccon in spring. Other Lepidopetera found in the deciduous temperate forest include the luna moth (Actias luna), catalpa sphinx (Ceratomia catalpae) and the regal moth (Citheronia regalis). Diptera include several species of flies, gnats and mosquitoes, such as Aedes. Dermaptera are earwigs that are common around homes and gardens but also found in forested areas.

Mantodea, Odontata and Ephemeroptera

Although dragonflies and damselflies are often associated with marshlands, some species of the order Odontata are also found in temperate deciduous forest, especially as adults. The ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) is an example. Mantodea are the praying mantis, which live near to the ground, in the temperate deciduous forests. Although more common near water sources, some species of Ephemeroptera or mayflies are also found in the borders of temperate forested areas.