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Mint moth Credit Fabian Harrison
Mint moth Credit Fabian Harrison

Entomology is the study of insects.

More than one million different species of insect have been described to date. They are the most abundant group of animals in the world and live in almost every habitat. Insects have lived on earth for more than 350 million years. Entomology is crucial to our understanding of human disease, agriculture, evolution, ecology and biodiversity.

Entomologists are people who study insects, as a career, as amateurs or both.

The Royal Entomological Society supports entomology through its international scientific journals and other publications, scientific meetings and by providing a forum for disseminating research findings. The society also funds, organises and supports events and activities for anyone that wants to learn more about insects and entomology through its outreach and education programmes.

Planthopper nymph with the 'fibre optic' tail Credit Weixiang Lee
Planthopper nymph with the ‘fibre optic’ tail Credit Weixiang Lee

1. Over half of the two million living species described in the world are insects. If you’re interested in global or local biodiversity then insects need to be studied.

2. Insects have been around for over 350 million years and have evolved solutions to many physical and chemical problems. Engineers are increasingly looking to insects for solutions in material science and chemistry. The more understanding we have of insects, the more we can put that understanding to use.

3. You can travel the world working on insects. Insects are found on all seven continents, even Antarctica.

4. Insects are hugely economically important in agriculture. They can be beneficial as pollinators and decomposers, or they can be detrimental as pests and vectors of plant diseases.

5. Insects are vectors of many serious human, animal and plant diseases across the world. Understanding the biology of insects is key to understanding the diseases that they carry and spread.

6. Insects are excellent models for physiological and population processes. For example, the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has been used as a model species in genetic studies for over 100 years. Its short generation time, small size and the ease with which it can be reared in the laboratory makes it an ideal organism for such studies.

7. More species of insect have had their genome sequenced than any other group of multicellular organisms. Insects are an excellent model for studying the molecular basis of life.

8. Insect are everywhere. No matter where you live in the world or what language you speak, you will come into contact with insects.

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