AskDefine | Define entomologist

Dictionary Definition

entomologist n : a zoologist who studies insects [syn: bugologist, bug-hunter]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A scientist who studies insects
    The noted entomologist Charles W. Woodworth suggested the use of Drosophila Melanogaster for genetic studies.

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


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