Insect Leg Segments

Diagram of leg segments

Three pairs of jointed legs are virtually always present in adult insects and each leg is normally comprised of five major segments: coxa, trochanter, femur, tibia and tarsus. The tarsus may be further divided into 2-5 smaller segments called tarsomeres, the last of which may bear a pair of claws. In some insects, pads (pulvilli) located beneath the claws enable them to have greater purchase on smooth surfaces. This may be enhanced by densely packed small hairs on the pulvilli and in some species, like the house fly, these hairs exude a sticky secretion that permits them to walk vertically up a smooth surface such as a window pane and upside down on a ceiling.

The coxa is attached to the thorax and the leg segments are attached to each other by intersegmental membranes at the joints.