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A "phasmid, "mimicking a leaf

Entomology (from "Ancient Greek ἔντομον (entomon), meaning 'insect', and -λογία (-logia), meaning 'study of'[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.



Plate from Transactions of the Entomological Society, 1848.
These 100 "Trigonopterus species were described simultaneously using "DNA barcoding.

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.

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 control[edit]

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, or Associate Entomologists.

Taxonomic specialization[edit]

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:


Like other scientific specialties, entomologists have a number of local, national, and international organizations. There are also many organizations specializing in specific subareas.


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




United States[edit]


Depiction in media[edit]

Entomology has been depicted in various films such as:

See also[edit]


  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 copy". Archived from the original on July 26, 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  10. ^ "Home". 
  11. ^ "O.U.M.N.H. Homepage". 
  12. ^ "Auburn University Museum of Natural History". 
  13. ^ "Collections". Archived from the original on 2010-08-24. 
  14. ^ NMSU Entomology Plant Pathology; Weed science. "New Mexico State University Arthropod Museum". Archived from the original on 2013-05-01. 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". 
  21. ^ "INSECT scenes: Silence of the Lambs (entomology!!)". "YouTube. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

"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

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