Entomology is the study of insects. Insects are arthropods because they have no backbone but have jointed legs. They are separated from other arthropods because they have six legs and three main body parts. Scientists believe there may be up to 10 million species of insects worldwide, most of which have not yet been discovered! Insects are a very diverse group of organisms. The main groups, also known as Orders, of insects include Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants); Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths); Coleoptera (beetles); Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets and katydids); Diptera (true flies such as mosquitoes, fruit flies and houseflies); Hemiptera (true bugs such as stink bugs, cicadas and aphids).
Entomology Fun FactThe North Carolina state insect is the honeybee and the state butterfly is the Eastern tiger swallowtail.
More Entomology Tips
Click on the resources below to learn more about insects:
To earn your Entomology Field Badge you must submit 6 shares to your online account, complete our Entomology Challenge, and attend Monarch Butterfly Day on September 8th.
Our challenge this year consists of observing moths at night! See the steps below to complete your challenge:
- Observe moth activity at an outside light, such as a porch light, during night time hours
- Upload one moth observation with your best species identification onto your ecoEXPLORE account with “Entomology Challenge” in the comment field
- Want some extra help getting started? Attend an Entomology Challenge Workshop held at 9:00 p.m. by one of our educators (dates and locations to be determined.) See our Events page for details.
Entomology Science Mentor
Chris Goforth is the Head of Citizen Science at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and works to get people throughout North Carolina involved in authentic scientific research. She currently heads several citizen science projects, including the Dragonfly Swarm Project and Dragonfly Detectives, both of which focus on observing and reporting dragonfly behaviors. Chris holds a master’s degree in entomology from the University of Arizona and has published her work with dragonfly flight behaviors and giant water bug parental care. She also has extensive experience using aquatic insects to study water quality and co-authored several reports for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality about the impacts of impaired habitats on aquatic insect populations throughout Arizona.