Insects are the world's most diverse Class of life and Britain alone is reckoned to have around 23,661 species. With its small size and harsh climate, Orkney has a relatively small proportion of this total, but it still seems certain that a detailed study of all the insect groups - from the hundreds of moths, beetles and flies, to our one species of earwig - would find at least a couple of thousand species present around Scapa Flow.
Insects take advantage of every niche on land and in freshwater, but are rarely found in seawater. Please refer to the section on marine invertebrates to see the enormous range of animals without backbones that can be found around the coast and in the deeper waters. Not all invertebrates to be found on land are insects - other invertebrate groups found around Scapa Flow include spiders, woodlice and millipedes, all of which are distinguished by having more legs than the standard three pairs that are typical of insects.
The Orkney Field Club has found people to act as Recorders for a range of insect groups, but the diversity of insect life is such that knowledge of the local insect fauna is only beginning to scratch the surface. The better studied of the local insect groups include moths, butterflies, ants, bees, wasps, sawflies, beetles and grasshoppers.