entomology, study of insects, an arthropod class that comprises about 900,000 known species, representing about three fourths of all the classified animal species. Insects are studied because of their importance as pollinators for fruit crops; as carriers of bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases; as parasites of humans or livestock; as destroyers of economically important plants; or as predators of other destructive insects. The role of insects in ecosystems and their control by insecticides or by biological methods are studied in ecology. Some insects such as the fruit fly, Drosophila, are used in the laboratory to study genetics; others are used to study behavior and physiology. The ability to increase productivity of insect populations that supply commercially important products such as dyes, silk, and honey and the deliberate introduction of insect diseases into populations of insect pests involves knowledge of microbiology and biochemistry as well as entomology.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Entomology: Selected full-text books and articles

What Bugged the Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease, and Death in the Cretaceous By George Poinar Jr; Roberta Poinar Princeton University Press, 2008
Fireflies, Honey, and Silk By Gilbert Waldbauer University of California Press, 2009
Insect Lipids: Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology By David W. Stanley-Samuelson; Dennis R. Nelson University of Nebraska Press, 1993
Thomas Say: New World Naturalist By Patricia Tyson Stroud University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of entomology in multiple chapters
Drugs from Bugs: The Promise of Pharmaceutical Entomology By Trowell, Stephen The Futurist, Vol. 37, No. 1, January-February 2003
The Practice of Crime Scene Investigation By John Horswell Taylor & Francis, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 18 "The Application of Entomology to Criminal Investigations"
History of Entomology in World War II By Emory C. Cushing Smithsonian Institution, 1957
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