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Extreme adaptations: Eating with your feet

Get up close and personal with any arthropod at its mealtime and you'll see an array of tiny appendages surrounding its mouth: slicing, dicing, and stuffing in food. These diminutive utensils are actually an extreme example of arthropod limb specialization. Over millions of years, these legs evolved into mouth appendages specialized in food handling. Today, it's hard to even recognize them as legs, but their anatomy and development reveal that they evolved from simple, jointed limbs.

3 pairs of limbs used for insect feeding: first maxillae, second maxillae and mandibles