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Answered 2011-02-09 18:29:57

The single greatest characteristic is that all adult insects possess six pairs of legs.

There are other characteristics which most, but not all, insects share, i.e. wings, a body divided into head, thorax, and abdomen, and metamorphosis, but these characteristics may be absent in some primitive groups of insect.

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Assuming this question is how are insects different from other arthropods, insects fall into hexapods which includes insects, springtails and a few other groups of arthropods with six legs. Insects are different from other hexapods in that they possess a structure called a tentorium which is an internal support skeleton in the head made by extensions of the exoskeleton into the head.

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