AskDefine | Define entomology

Dictionary Definition

entomology n : the branch of zoology that studies insects [syn: bugology]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Greek entomos "incised"; Compare insect.


  1. The scientific study of insects
    Entomology is a important field of study within biology.

Related terms


Extensive Definition

Entomology, from the Greek: entomo-/εντομο- "that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented", hence "insect"; and logos/λόγος, "knowledge", is the scientific study of insects. At some 1.3 million described species, insects account for more than 2/3rds of all known organisms,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 . 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 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 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 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:


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



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.
  • Evolution of the Insects

External links


entomology in Bengali: কীটবিজ্ঞান
entomology in Breton: Amprevanoniezh
entomology in Bulgarian: Ентомология
entomology in Catalan: Entomologia
entomology in Chuvash: Энтомологи
entomology in Czech: Entomologie
entomology in Corsican: Entomologia
entomology in Danish: Entomologi
entomology in German: Insektenkunde
entomology in Dhivehi: އެންޓޮމޮލޮޖީ
entomology in Estonian: Entomoloogia
entomology in Spanish: Entomología
entomology in Esperanto: Entomologio
entomology in Persian: حشره‌شناسی
entomology in French: Entomologie
entomology in Friulian: Entomologjie
entomology in Korean: 곤충학
entomology in Hindi: कीटविज्ञान
entomology in Indonesian: Entomologi
entomology in Ossetian: Энтомологи
entomology in Icelandic: Skordýrafræði
entomology in Italian: Entomologia
entomology in Hebrew: אנטומולוגיה
entomology in Kannada: ಕೀಟಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ
entomology in Georgian: ენტომოლოგია
entomology in Latin: Entomologia
entomology in Latvian: Entomoloģija
entomology in Lithuanian: Entomologija
entomology in Limburgan: Insekkónde
entomology in Hungarian: Entomológia
entomology in Maltese: Entomoloġija
entomology in Malay (macrolanguage): Entomologi
entomology in Dutch: Entomologie
entomology in Japanese: 昆虫学
entomology in Norwegian: Entomologi
entomology in Norwegian Nynorsk: Entomologi
entomology in Occitan (post 1500): Entomologia
entomology in Polish: Entomologia
entomology in Portuguese: Entomologia
entomology in Romanian: Entomologie
entomology in Russian: Энтомология
entomology in Scots: Entomology
entomology in Simple English: Entomology
entomology in Slovenian: Entomologija
entomology in Finnish: Entomologia
entomology in Swedish: Entomologi
entomology in Tagalog: Entomolohiya
entomology in Tetum: Entomolojia
entomology in Thai: กีฏวิทยา
entomology in Vietnamese: Côn trùng học
entomology in Tajik: Энтомология
entomology in Turkish: Entomoloji
entomology in Ukrainian: Ентомологія
entomology in Urdu: حشریات
entomology in Chinese: 昆虫学
entomology in Slovak: Entomológia

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