Insects are everywhere, and there are many that haven’t even been identified! The study of insects is called entomology and a scientist who studies insects is called an entomologist. Entomology is a branch of zoology, which is the study of animals.
- The term entomology comes from the Greek word entomo, which refers to insects and literally means “cut-up” because many insects have segmented bodies.
- Insects on the earth outweigh humans by about 300 times! Of course, an individual human weighs a lot more than an insect, but there are many, many more insects.
- There is a branch of entomology called forensic entomology. Flies have an amazing ability to sniff out death very quickly. The scientists who study these flies can help solve crimes.
- Scientists believe that there are 10 quintillion insects on the earth. That’s a 10 with 18 zeros after it. For every human, there are around 200 million insects. That’s a lot to study!
- Entomologists have discovered and described over one million species of insects on the earth. It is known that there are billions of species that have not yet been described, so we need a lot of entomologists to discover, name, and catalog these species.
- Insects are a very important part of the earth’s ecosystem. Unfortunately, the number of species of insects is declining and many are endangered. There are entomologists who study this decline and figure out what human activities are causing it so that we can make changes and protect the environment.
- Insects need to protect themselves from disease and have developed defenses as they have evolved over millions of years. Entomologists study these chemicals and work with pharmaceutical scientists to develop medicines for humans.
- Insects can be very harmful to crops and forests. Entomologists study destructive insects to learn how to protect these valuable resources.
Species: A group of organisms that are biologically similar and can create offspring.
Endangered: Refers to a plant or animal that is close to becoming extinct. This is usually caused by the destruction of its habitat or overhunting.
Questions and Answers
Question: How long have people been studying insects?
Answer: Since insects are everywhere, humans have always been interested in them. Curious people have always studied insects, but entomology as a specific field of academic study began in the early nineteenth century.
Watch a video to learn more about entomology.