Brief History of Entomology

One of the very boring topic here in the study of insect is the history of entomology itself. On the other hand, students must know the history of their field of specialization for them to fully understand how ideas of the past flourished into an established field of science.

History of Entomology (Pre-Historic Times to 1900 AD)

  • Prehistoric men and women had lice and fleas which were doubtless causes of insect-borne diseases
  • Cave drawings in Spain depicts as man taking honey from a tree
  • 4700 B.C. – China practiced silkworm rearing ; insecticidal properties of mercury and arsenic was identified
  • Locust swarms plagued Ancient China and Egypt; maggots and flies too. (Exodus 8:16-24)
  • Egypt 4,000 years ago considered scarab beetles as sacred
  • American Indians and Mayans of Central America used wasp’s nests against their enemies
  • 384-322 B.C. – Aristotle included insects in deductive reasoning ; start of scientific study of insects
  • 23-79 A.D. – Pliny ,the Elder studied insect metamorphosis
  • 1561-1626 – Francis Bacon – use maggots in studying deductive reasoning
  • 1626-1897 – Redi disproved the then current notion that maggots were spgenerated ontaneously from spoiled meat; he placed meat in covered and uncovered containers-maggots appeared in the uncovered containers
  • 1599 – invention of the microscope paved the study of insects
  • Marcelo Malpighi ( 1624-1697) and Jan Swammerdam (1637-1711) pioneered the study of entomology
  • 1707-1778 – Carolus Linnaeus or Karl Von Linne did taxonomic classification of insects  as included in the Systema Naturae; this was dubbed as the Age of Taxonomy
  • 1799-1897 – Boisduval, a medical doctor and country gentleman- worked on butterflies and moths
  • 1761-1826 – Hubner designed print cloth having outstanding illustrations of beetles
  • 1826-1903 – Osten-Sacken, a Russian diplomat who worked on flies
  • 1785-1808 – Dane Johan Christian Fabricius produced the monumental “Systema Entomologiae”; last entomologist to govern the insect fauna of the entire world; first entomologist
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and A.R. Wallace (1823-1913) reviewed the diversity of animal species published in 1858
  • 1808-1893 – O. Westwood , a professor in Entomology at the Oxford University who taught entomology

After this period, there has been a great improvement of the field of entomology for almost all countries that practice this field all over the world. Thanks to these scientists who devoted their lives in paving the way for the modern entomologists at present. Visit this page for your further reading on the history of entomology.

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