Entomology (from Greek _gr. ἔντομος, "entomos", "that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented", hence "insect"; and _gr. -λογία, "-logia"cite book | author = Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott | year = 1980 | title = A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition) | publisher = Oxford University Press | location = United Kingdom | id = ISBN 0-19-910207-4] ) is the scientific study of insects. At some 1.3 million described species, insects account for more than 2/3rds of all known organisms,cite book |author=Chapman, A. D. |year=2006 |title=Numbers of living species in Australia and the World |pages=60pp |Publisher=Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Study |id=ISBN 978-0-642-56850-2 |url=http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/publications/other/species-numbers/index.html] dating back some 400 million years, and have many kinds of interactions with humans and other forms of life on earth, so it is an important specialty within biology. Though technically incorrect, the definition is sometimes widened to include the study of terrestrial animals in other arthropod groups or other phyla, such as arachnids, myriapods, earthworms, and slugs.

Like several of the other fields that are categorized within zoology, entomology is a taxon-based category; any form of scientific study in which the organisms studied happen to be insects is, by definition, entomology. Entomology therefore includes a cross-section of topics as diverse as molecular genetics, behavior, biomechanics, biochemistry, systematics, physiology, developmental biology, ecology, morphology, paleontology, anthropology, robotics, agriculture, nutrition, and more.

History of entomology

Entomology is rooted in nearly all human cultures from prehistoric times, primarily in the context of agriculture (esp. biological control and beekeeping), but scientific study began only as recently as the 16th century [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 88-206-2414-X] .

The list of entomologists through recorded history is enormous, and includes such notable figures as Charles Darwin, Vladimir Nabokov, Karl von Frisch (winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine), and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E. O. Wilson.

Entomology has even entered popular modern culture. Gil Grissom on the TV show is an entomologist, who is played by actor William Petersen. Similarly, Dr. Jack Hodgins of "Bones" helps his team by analyzing insects and "particulates" near to or attached to decomposed victims, often identifying the precise location a murder originally occurred; he allegedly has three Ph.D.'s, at least one of which is in entomology.

Identification of insects

Insects other than Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are typically identifiable 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 characters separating them are unfamiliar, and often subtle (or invisible without a microscope), this is often very difficult even for a specialist.

Insect identification is an increasingly common hobby, with butterflies and dragonflies being the most popular.

Taxonomic specialization

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:
*Apiology (or melittology) - bees
*Coleopterology - beetles
*Dipterology - flies
*Hemipterology - true bugs
*Lepidopterology - moths and butterflies
*Myrmecology - ants
*Orthopterology - grasshoppers, crickets, etc.
*Trichopterology - caddis flies


Like other scientific specialties, entomologists have a number of local, national, and international organizations. There are also many organizations specializing in specific subareas.
*Amateur Entomologists' Society
*Deutsches Entomologisches Institut
*Entomological Society of America
*Entomological Society of Canada
*Royal Belgian Entomological Society
*Royal Entomological Society of London
*Société Entomologique de France
*Netherlands Entomological Society
*Entomological Society of Japan


Many museums contain very large and important insect collections. Here is a list of some of the most important.


*Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa [http://www.nmsa.org.za]


*Natural History Museum, Vienna Naturhistorisches Museum
*Natural History Museum, Paris Muséum national d'histoire naturelle
*Natural History Museum, Berlin Humboldt Museum
*Natural History Museum, London Natural History Museum
*Royal Museum for Central Africa, Brussels Royal Museum for Central Africa
*Natural History Museum, Leiden Natural History Museum, Leiden
*Natural History Museum, Sweden Swedish Museum of Natural History
*Natural History Museum, St. Petersburg Zoological Collection of the Russian Academy of Science
*Natural History Museum, Geneva [http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/mhng/page-e/arto.htm]
*The Bavarian State Collection of Zoology Zoologische Staatssammlung München

United States

*National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
*American Museum of Natural History, New York
*California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
*Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
*Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles
*Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
*University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Lawrence, KS
*University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln, NE
*Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven
*Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, MA
* McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, University of Florida


*Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
*Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa
*Montreal Insectarium, Montreal
*University of Guelph Insect Collection, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario
*Lyman Entomological Museum, McGill University, Montreal
*Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, Ottawa
*E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum, Edmonton

ee also

*List of entomologists
*List of entomological journals
*Insects on stamps

For further reading

*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.
*cite book|author=Grimaldi, D. & Engel, M.S. |title=Evolution of the Insects|year=2005|publisher=Cambridge University Press|id=ISBN 0-521-82149-5
*Capinera, JL (editor). 2008. Encyclopedia of Entomology, 2nd Edition. Springer. ISBN 1-402-06242-7.

External links

*cite web| url=http://www.vega.org.uk/video/programme/87| author=Professor Andrew Speilman| title=Malaria video| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://www.vega.org.uk/video/programme/52| author=Rob Hutchinson | title=Mosquitoes video| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://www.uvm.edu/~entlab| title=Entomology Laboratory| author=University of Vermont| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://www.ent.iastate.edu/list/| title=Annotated Entomology directory| author=Iowa State University| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://www.ub.es/dpep/meganeura/meganeura.htm| title=Fossil Insects| author=Meganeura, University of Barcelona| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://www.goliathus.cz/| title=Goliathus (Entomology hobbyist site)| author=| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://parasite.natur.cuni.cz/jirovec/index.php?category=11| title=Medical Entomology images| author=| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://www-museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/index.htm| title=Division of Entomology| author=University of Nebraska State Museum| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://gvcocks.homeip.net/orders.html| title=Insects of Townsville, Australia| author=Graeme Cocks| accessdate=2006-12-09
*cite web| url=http://www.actroninc.com/flyref.htm| title=Compendium of References on Flies and Disease| author=Actronic| accessdate=2006-12-09
* [http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/site_main.htm?docid=10141&page=1 USDA Collecting methods.Detailed instructions]
* [http://arthropa.free.fr/ Arthropa] Site from France.Extensive photo album sorted by topic.
* [http://entweb.clemson.edu/museum/cabinet.htm Virtual Insect Museum]
* [http://pests.ifas.ufl.edu/bestbugs/ Best of the Bugs] Great entomology Web sites selected by entomologists

Academic institutions
* [http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/ Department of Entomology and Nematology] at the University of Florida


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  • Entomology — En to*mol o*gy, n.; pl. {Entomologies}. [Gr. e ntomon insect (so called because nearly cut in two, fr. e ntomos cut in; en in + te mnein to cut) + logy: cf. F. entomologie. See {In}, and {Tome}, and cf. {Insect}.] 1. That part of zo[ o]logy which …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • entomology — 1766, from Fr. entomologie (1764), coined from Gk. entomon insect + logia study of (see LOGY (Cf. logy)). Entomon is neut. of entomos having a notch or cut (at the waist), from en in (see EN (Cf. en ) (2)) + …   Etymology dictionary

  • entomology — ► NOUN ▪ the branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects. DERIVATIVES entomological adjective entomologist noun. ORIGIN from Greek entomon insect , from entomos cut up, segmented …   English terms dictionary

  • entomology — [en΄tə mäl′ə jē] n. [Fr entomologie: see ENTOMO & LOGY] the branch of zoology that deals with insects entomological [en΄təmə läj′i kəl] adj. entomologic entomologically adv. entomologist n …   English World dictionary

  • entomology — entomological /en teuh meuh loj i keuhl/, entomologic, adj. entomologically, adv. entomologist, n. /en teuh mol euh jee/, n. the branch of zoology dealing with insects. [1760 70; ENTOMO + LOGY] * * * Branch of zoology dealing with the scientific… …   Universalium

  • entomology — noun The scientific study of insects Entomology is an important field of study within biology. Syn: insectology See Also: entomologist, insectologist, insectologer …   Wiktionary

  • entomology — [[t]e̱ntəmɒ̱ləʤi[/t]] N UNCOUNT Entomology is the study of insects. Derived words: entomologist [[t]e̱ntəmɒ̱ləʤɪst[/t]] plural N COUNT ...a research entomologist …   English dictionary

  • entomology — entomologija statusas T sritis ekologija ir aplinkotyra apibrėžtis Mokslas, tiriantis vabzdžius, jų įvairovę, morfologiją, biologiją, ekologiją, sistematiką, zoogeografiją. Tiria augalų kenkėjus ir plėšrūnus, reguliuojančius tų kenkėjų… …   Ekologijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • entomology / etymology —    Entomology refers to the study of insects: Donald couldn t be afraid of bugs if he wanted to get a degree in entomology.    Etymology is the study of the history of words and where they come from: The etymology of mortify goes back to Latin… …   Confused words

  • entomology / etymology —    Entomology refers to the study of insects: Donald couldn t be afraid of bugs if he wanted to get a degree in entomology.    Etymology is the study of the history of words and where they come from: The etymology of mortify goes back to Latin… …   Confused words

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