Timeline of entomology – prior to 1800

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1800-1700 BC, Minoan jewellery, Malia, Crete: two golden bees over a honey comb Archaeological Museum of Heraklion - Bee pendant (cropped).jpg
1800–1700 BC, Minoan jewellery, Malia, Crete: two golden bees over a honey comb

Entomology, the scientific study of insects and closely related terrestrial arthropods, has been impelled by the necessity of societies to protect themselves from insect-borne diseases, crop losses to pest insects, and insect-related discomfort, as well as by people's natural curiosity. Though many significant developments in the field happened only recently, in the 19th–20th centuries, the history of entomology stretches back to prehistory.



Cave cricket engraved on a fragment of bison bone c. 13,000 BC found at the junction of Trois-Freres with the Grotte d'Enlene. Enlene, Grasshopper.jpg
Cave cricket engraved on a fragment of bison bone c.13,000 BC found at the junction of Trois-Frères with the Grotte d'Enlène.

Egypt, Greek and Roman empires

A scarab beetle, depicted on the walls of Tomb KV6 in the Valley of the Kings. Egypt.KV6.04.jpg
A scarab beetle, depicted on the walls of Tomb KV6 in the Valley of the Kings.
A carved steatite scarab amulet, c. 550 BC. Scarab550bc.jpg
A carved steatite scarab amulet, c.550 BC.

10th–15th centuries

15th century

Carlo Crivelli Madonna Carlo Crivelli 068.jpg
Carlo Crivelli Madonna

16th century

Portrait de Conrad Gessner Gessner Conrad 1516-1565.jpg
Portrait de Conrad Gessner

Although the earliest pictorial record of a natural history cabinet is the engraving in Ferrante Imperato's Dell'Historia Naturale (Naples 1599), such collections became more than rudimentary early in this century.

17th century

Ulisse Aldrovandi Aldrovandi 1522-1605.png
Ulisse Aldrovandi
Painting by Jan van Kessel, senior Jan van Kessel 001.jpg
Painting by Jan van Kessel, senior
Robert Hooke's microscope Microscope de HOOKE.png
Robert Hooke's microscope
Flea drawn by Buonanni (1691). Buonanni Puce 1681.png
Flea drawn by Buonanni (1691).

18th century

Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur. Reaumur 1683-1757.jpg
René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur.

The development of entomology in the 18th century

In the 18th century three kinds of entomological text appeared. Firstly there were illustrative works – showy insects often beautifully coloured whose purpose was sensual. An example is afforded by Maria Sybilla Merian's Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamenis (1705).

Secondly were descriptive and systematic (classificatory) works usually confined to what are now known as the Insecta. Of the second kind Carl von Linne's 10th edition of Systema Nature published in 1758 at Stockholm stands proud. In this work the binomial system was finally settled on. Thirdly were works on developmental biology (life cycles), internal anatomy, physiology and so on. These often covered other invertebrate groups. An example is René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur's Memoires pour Servir a L’Historie des Insectes.









Maria Sybilla Merian Merian 500DM.jpg
Maria Sybilla Merian









Antoine Francois, comte de Fourcroy Antoine Francois, comte de Fourcroy.jpg
Antoine François, comte de Fourcroy










Johann Christian Schreber Schreber Johann Christian Daniel von 1739-1810.jpg
Johann Christian Schreber






Plate 1 Schaeffer, Jacob Christian (1766) Elementa entomologica. Schaeffer intro.jpg
Plate 1 Schaeffer, Jacob Christian (1766) Elementa entomologica.




Bonnet CharlesBonnet.jpg









Eugen Johann Christoph Esper. EJC Esper 1742-1810.jpg
Eugen Johann Christoph Esper.














Plate from Johann Ludwig Christ Naturgeschichte, Klassifikation und Nomenklatur der Insekten vom Bienen Christ.jpeg
Plate from Johann Ludwig Christ Naturgeschichte, Klassifikation und Nomenklatur der Insekten vom Bienen




Karl Ernst von Baer. Voyages de la Commission scientifique du Nord, en Scandinavie, en Laponie, au Spitzberg et aux Feroe - no-nb digibok 2009040211001-118.jpg
Karl Ernst von Baer.




See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johan Christian Fabricius</span> Danish zoologist (1745–1808)

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles De Geer</span> Swedish industrialist and entomologist

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Timeline of entomology – 1850–1900</span>


<i>Pangonius</i> Genus of flies

Pangonius is a genus within the horse-fly family (Tabanidae), often misspelled as Pangonia; Latreille originally published the name as Pangonius in 1802, emending it in 1804 to Pangonia, but the emendation is not valid under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Some species that were earlier placed in this genus are now in the genus Philoliche.

<i>Chalcosyrphus</i> Genus of flies

Chalcosyrphus is a genus of hoverflies in the subfamily Eristalinae. Many species exhibit some degree of mimicry of various sawflies and other hymenopterans and are often brightly coloured or metallic in hue. The adults are similar in structure and behavior to the related genus Xylota but differ in larval morphology. They can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and North America and seem to prefer damper, boggy habitats. The larvae are saproxylic feeders in rotten wood in these habitats.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lepidopterology</span> Branch of entymology that studies moths and butterflies

Lepidopterology is a branch of entomology concerning the scientific study of moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies. Someone who studies in this field is a lepidopterist or, archaically, an aurelian.

<i>Centuria Insectorum</i> Book by Carl Linnaeus

Centuria Insectorum is a 1763 taxonomic work by Carl Linnaeus, and defended as a thesis by Boas Johansson; which of the two men should for taxonomic purposes be credited with its authorship has been the subject of some controversy. It includes descriptions of 102 new insect and crustacean species that had been sent to Linnaeus from British America, Suriname, Java and other locations. Most of the new names included in Centuria Insectorum are still in use, although a few have been sunk into synonymy, and one was the result of a hoax: a common brimstone butterfly with spots painted on was described as the new "species" Papilio ecclipsis.

<i>Odontomyia</i> Genus of flies

Odontomyia is a genus of soldier flies in the family Stratiomyidae.

<i>Stratiomys</i> Genus of flies

Stratiomys is a genus of flies in the family Stratiomyidae.

<i>Oxycera</i> Genus of flies

Oxycera is a genus of flies in the family Stratiomyidae.

<i>Neoptychodes trilineatus</i> Species of beetle

Neoptychodes trilineatus is a species of flat-faced longhorn beetles in the subfamily Lamiinae.

<i>Atherix</i> Genus of flies

Atherix is a genus of 'ibis flies' belonging to the family Athericidae, a small family very similar to the Rhagionidae. Species within this genus are present in most of Europe and also in the Nearctic realm.

<i>Chrysogaster cemiteriorum</i> Species of fly

Chrysogaster cemiteriorum is a European species of hoverfly which can be found feeding on umbelliferous flowers wetlands and damp meadows.


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  2. http://gallica.bnf.fr/?&lang=EN online
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  4. Mark Stocker; Julia Kasper; Philip John Sirvid (2020). "Wenceslaus Hollar's Muscarum Scarabeorum, Vermiumque Varie Figure anatomised and identified". Tuhinga: Records of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Te Papa. 31: 19–41. ISSN   1173-4337. Wikidata   Q106839638.