Entomology

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Entomology (from Greek ντομος, entomos, "that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented", hence "insect"; and -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of insects, a branch of arthropodology. At some 1.3 million described species, insects account for more than two-thirds of all known organisms, date back some 400 million years, and have many kinds of interactions with humans and other forms of life on earth. It is a specialty within the field of 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 t 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, forensic science and more.

 

History of entomology

 

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.

 

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 in popular culture

 

Gil Grissom on the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV show is an entomologist, who is played by actor William Petersen. Similarly, entomologist Jack Hodgins of Bones, portrayed by TJ Thyne, helps his team by analyzing insects (such as Hydrotaea) and "particulates" near to or attached to decomposed victims, often identifying the precise location a murder originally occurred; he is also an expert in botany and mineralogy.

 

In Arthur Conan Doyle's story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, the villain is a naturalist who collects butterflies, making him an "evil" entomologist.

 

There are numerous science fiction books which have plots based on humans becoming smaller and having to deal with insects at their level. Some examples are The Insect Warriors by Rex Dean Levie, Atta by Francis Rufus Bellamy, Bug Park by James P. Hogan, The Micronauts series by Gordon Williams, and The Forgotten Planet by Murray Leinster. The Forgotten Planets plot is twisted in that the insects are the size of men (or larger) on a planet "seeded" to prepare it for human habitation. Robert Asprin wrote The Bug Wars, a novel about war between reptiles and insects on an interplanetary scale.

 

Identification of insects

 

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 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

 

Organizations

 

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

·         Entomological Society of Japan

·         International Union for the Study of Social Insects

·         Netherlands Entomological Society

·         Royal Belgian Entomological Society

·         Royal Entomological Society of London

·         Société Entomologique de France

 

Museums

 

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

 

Africa

·         Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

 

Europe

·         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

·         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

·         University of Missouri Enns Entomology Museum, Columbia, MO

 

Canada

·         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

 

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Entomology

 

 

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