Become an entomologist

Photograph of the poisonous grasshopper, _Dictyophorus spumans_

Photograph of the poisonous grasshopper, Dictyophorus spumans.

An entomologist is someone who takes an interest in insects, and studies them. They may be any age, and do not need to be professionals. Indeed, it is a notable feature of this subject that some of the greatest entomologists have been amateurs.

Like any form of natural history, being an entomologist means taking an interest in the World around you. You don't need any expensive equipment to start finding out more about insects - you just need to get outside and explore. Television documentaries showing lions hunting gazelles are impressive but, in your back garden or local park, you might find lacewing larvae devouring aphids and attaching the bodies of its victims to its back or solitary bees digging an underground nest and collecting pollen for its young. All you have to do is look!

Why are entomologists important?

It has been estimated that there are seven mammologists for every known species of mammal. However, there is only one entomologist for every 425 described species of insect. Entomologists have so far described one million species of insect but conservative estimates suggest that there could be another four to six million species waiting to be described.

With this much work still to do the importance of the amateur entomologist cannot be underestimated!

Getting started as an entomologist: