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A phasmid, mimicking a leaf

Entomology (from Greek ἔντομον, entomon "insect"; and -λογία, -logia)[1] is the scientific study of insects, a branch of zoology. In the past the term "insect" was more vague, and historically the definition of entomology included the study of terrestrial animals in other arthropod groups or other phyla, such as arachnids, myriapods, earthworms, land snails, and slugs. This wider meaning may still be encountered in informal use.

Like several of the other fields that are categorized within zoology, entomology is a taxon-based category; any form of scientific study in which there is a focus on insect-related inquiries is, by definition, entomology. Entomology therefore overlaps with a cross-section of topics as diverse as molecular genetics, behavior, biomechanics, biochemistry, systematics, physiology, developmental biology, ecology, morphology, and paleontology.

At some 1.3 million described species, insects account for more than two-thirds of all known organisms,[2] date back some 400 million years, and have many kinds of interactions with humans and other forms of life on earth.

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Plate from Transactions of the Entomological Society, 1848

Entomology is rooted in nearly all human cultures from prehistoric times, primarily in the context of agriculture (especially biological control and beekeeping), but scientific study began only as recently as the 16th century.[3]

William Kirby is widely considered as the father of Entomology. In collaboration with William Spence, he published a definitive entomological encyclopedia, Introduction to Entomology, regarded as the subject's foundational text. He also helped to found the Royal Entomological Society in London in 1833, one of the earliest such societies in the world; earlier antecedents, such as the Aurelian society date back to the 1740s.[4]

Entomology developed rapidly in the 19th and 20th centuries, and was studied by large numbers of people, including such notable figures as Charles Darwin, Jean-Henri Fabre, Vladimir Nabokov, Karl von Frisch (winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine),[5] and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E. O. Wilson.

There has also been a history of people becoming entomologists through museum curation and research assistance,[6] such as Sophie Lutterlough at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Insect identification is an increasingly common hobby, with butterflies and dragonflies being the most popular.

 
These 100 Trigonopterus species were described simultaneously using DNA barcoding

Most insects can easily be recognized to order such as Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants) or Coleoptera (beetles). However, insects other than Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are typically identifiable to genus or species only through the use of Identification keys and Monographs. Because the class Insecta contains a very large number of species (over 330,000 species of beetles alone) and the characteristics separating them are unfamiliar, and often subtle (or invisible without a microscope), this is often very difficult even for a specialist. This has led to the development of automated species identification systems targeted on insects, for example, Daisy, ABIS, SPIDA and Draw-wing.

In pest controlEdit

In 1994 the Entomological Society of America launched a new professional certification program for the pest control industry called The Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE). To qualify as a "true entomologist" an individual would normally require an advanced degree, with most entomologists pursuing their PhD. While not true entomologists in the traditional sense, individuals who attain the ACE certification may be referred to as ACEs, Amateur entomologists, Associate entomologist

Taxonomic specializationEdit

 
Part of a large beetle collection

Many entomologists specialize in a single order or even a family of insects, and a number of these subspecialties are given their own informal names, typically (but not always) derived from the scientific name of the group:

OrganizationsEdit

MuseumsEdit

Here is a list of selected museums which contain very large insect collections.

AfricaEdit

EuropeEdit

United StatesEdit

CanadaEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4. 
  2. ^ Chapman, A. D. (2009). Numbers of living species in Australia and the World (2 ed.). Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Study. pp. 60pp. ISBN 978-0-642-56850-2. 
  3. ^ Antonio Saltini, Storia delle scienze agrarie, 4 vols, Bologna 1984-89, ISBN 88-206-2412-5, ISBN 88-206-2413-3, ISBN 88-206-2414-1, ISBN 88-206-2415-X
  4. ^ Clark, John F.M. (2009). Bugs and the Victorians. Yale University Press. pp. 26–27. ISBN 0300150911. 
  5. ^ "Karl von Frisch - Nobel Lecture: Decoding the Language of the Bee". 
  6. ^ Starrs, Siobhan (10 August 2010). "A Scientist and a Tinkerer – A Story in a Frame". National Museum of Natural History Unearthed. National Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "KwaZulu-Natal Museum". 
  8. ^ "Magyar Természettudományi Múzeum". 
  9. ^ Archived July 26, 2003, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Home". 
  11. ^ "O.U.M.N.H. Homepage". 
  12. ^ "Auburn University Museum of Natural History". 
  13. ^ "Collections". 
  14. ^ NMSU Entomology Plant Pathology; Weed science. "New Mexico State University Arthropod Museum". Retrieved 2013-07-15. 
  15. ^ "Enns Entomology Museum, MU". 
  16. ^ "Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes - Homepage". 
  17. ^ "E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum - Department of Biological Sciences, Studies in Life Sciences". 
  18. ^ "Lyman Entomological Museum". 
  19. ^ "University of Guelph Insect Collection". uoguelph.ca. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "The Victoria Bug Zoo TM". 

Further readingEdit

  • Chiang, H.C. and G. C. Jahn 1996. Entomology in the Cambodia-IRRI-Australia Project. (in Chinese) Chinese Entomol. Soc. Newsltr. (Taiwan) 3: 9-11.
  • Davidson, E. 2006. Big Fleas Have Little Fleas: How Discoveries of Invertebrate Diseases Are Advancing Modern Science University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 208 pages, ISBN 0-8165-2544-7.
  • Triplehorn, Charles A. and Norman F. Johnson (2005-05-19). Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the Study of Insects, 7th edition, Thomas Brooks/Cole. ISBN 0-03-096835-6. — a classic textbook in North America.
  • Grimaldi, D. & Engel, M.S. (2005). Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82149-5. 
  • Capinera, JL (editor). 2008. Encyclopedia of Entomology, 2nd Edition. Springer. ISBN 1-4020-6242-7.

External linksEdit

"I suppose you are an entomologist?"

"Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name. No man can be truly called an entomologist, sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Poet at the Breakfast Table