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Name this insect

Name this insect


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This is the monsoon season and some black insects are flying in my house. They have a very bad smell. Does anyone know what is the name of that insect, including English and Hindi name?


Your photo is not exactly the best one for species identification. However, since you said that it has a "very bad smell", it seems to me that it is a bug (Hemiptera) from the Family Pentatomidae, which includes the stink bugs.

Quoting the Wikipedia page linked above:

The stink bug derives its name from an unpleasant scent from a glandular substance released from pores in the thorax when disturbed. The chemicals involved include aldehydes, making the smell similar to that of coriander. In some species, the liquid contains cyanide compounds and a rancid almond scent, used to protect themselves and discourage predators.

I have never been to India, but in South America I've encountered some stink bugs which produced a very disgusting smell, some of them unbearable (for a couple of seconds only).

Here is a close view of a stink bug (this one is not from Asia and, therefore, probably not your species):

Finally, to narrow it down to the species, you have to check the Pentatomidae species in India.


That's the earth boring dung beetle. It has a very bad smell and it belongs to the family Geotrupidae. You can learn more about it here https://www.britannica.com/animal/dung-beetle


Name this insect - Biology

With so many different insects, and with them occurring in so many different places, it is no wonder that assigning common names is difficult and sometimes confusing. For example, the common name "stink bug" may be given to one insect in one part of the country and to a completely different insect in another part of the country. To reduce this confusion, a list of accepted common names has been developed by the Entomological Association of America. This list (Common names of Insects and Related Organisms 1997) includes many, but not all, common names.

An average person seldom uses scientific names, but refers to insects by common names such as "beetle," "blister beetle," or even "black blister beetle." In this example, the common name "beetle" may refer to any of thousands of insects belonging to the order Coleoptera. "Blister beetle," on the other hand, is a common name for all members of the family Meloidae, a subset of the order Coleoptera. "Black blister beetle" is the common name for Epicauta pennsylvanica, a particular species of insect. So, even though common names are very important and widely used, not all of them refer to individual insects. That is why standardized scientific names are necessary, especially to professional entomologists and insect collectors.

All insects belong to the class INSECTA. Within this class many ORDERS of insects exist. This booklet describes how to classify the insects into one of 24 Orders. Within each order, many FAMILIES may exist. Within families, many GENERA occur and, likewise, within Genera, many SPECIES exist. A general understanding of the scientific nomenclature and rank order of associated names is important for collectors. For example, in the blister beetle illustration below, a collector should know that the basic nomenclature is as follows:

All specimens in an insect collection should be identified at some level. Amateur collectors gain a good knowledge of insects by first classifying them according to their order name. An order is a name applied to a large group of insects having similar characteristics. For example, all butterflies and moths belong to the order Lepidoptera all beetles, regardless of size, shape, or color, belong to the order Coleoptera all flies belong to the order Diptera, and so forth.

In this book we will discuss the 24 orders listed here. Make a checklist of the insect orders you collect and display it's a valuable organizing tool.

For professional entomologists and those who have sufficient interest, orders of insects can be further broken down. Orders are broken down into families, the families into genera, and the genera into species. Professional entomologists generally study insects at the genus and species level. The first word of an insect's scientific name is the genus to which it belongs, and the second word is the species name.

The Pictorial Key to the Order of Adult Insects included in this book should help you classify specimens to the order level. Similar keys exist for families, genera, and species separation, but are beyond the scope of this book. This book, as well as most field guides, also provides common names of the more frequently collected insects.

An insect collection check list is provided here for field collecting the insects required in this text.

Purdue Extension Entomology, 901 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4554


Show/hide words to know

Bioindicator: a species that can be used to tell of an ecosystem is healthy. If the bioindicator species is doing well, then the ecosystem is likely doing well. more

Dengue fever: a dangerous viral disease that causes fever and joint pain. It is found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions and can be spread by mosquitoes.

Herbivore: an animal that eats only plants.

Malaria: a disease caused by single-celled organisms that can be carried by mosquitoes. Symptoms - cycles of chills, fever, and sweating. more

Pollinate: moving pollen from the male to the female component of a flower as part of the fertilization process in plants. Birds and insects often move pollen from flower to flower when gathering nectar and they are therefore called pollinators. more

Pupa: resting stage during which tissues are reorganized from larval form to adult form. The pupa is the third body form in the life cycle of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis (like caterpillars).

West Nile virus: a dangerous viral disease that started in Africa and causes brain inflammation and flu-like symptoms. It can be spread by mosquitoes.


Insect

Insects also are the most highly developed class of invertebrate animals, with the exception of some mollusks. Insects such as the bees, ants, and termites have elaborate social structures in which the various forms of activity necessary for the feeding, shelter, and reproduction of the colony are divided among individuals especially adapted for the various activities. Also, most insects achieve maturity by metamorphosis rather than by direct growth. In most species, the individual passes through at least two distinct and dissimilar stages before reaching its adult form.

In their living and feeding habits, the insects exhibit extreme variations. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the life cycle of various species. Thus the so-called 17-year locust matures over a period of 13 to 17 years. The ordinary house fly can reach maturity in about ten days, and certain parasitic wasps reach their mature form seven days after the eggs have been laid. In general the insects are very precisely adapted to the environments in which they live, and many species depend on a single variety of plant, usually feeding on one specific portion of the plant such as the leaves, stem, flowers, or roots. The relationship between insect and plant is frequently a necessary one for the growth and reproduction of the plant, as with plants that depend on insects for pollination. A number of insect species do not feed on living plants but act as scavengers. Some of these species live on decaying vegetable matter and others on dung or the carcasses of animals. The activities of the scavenger insects hasten the decomposition of all kinds of dead organic material.

Certain insects also exhibit predation or parasitism, either feeding on other insects or existing on or within the bodies of insect or other animal hosts. Parasitic insects are sometimes parasitic upon parasitic insects, a phenomenon known as hyperparasitism. In a few instances an insect may be parasitic upon a secondary parasite. A few species of insects, although not strictly parasitic, live at the expense of other insects, with whom they associate closely. An example of this form of relationship is that of the wax moth, which lives in the hives of bees and feeds on the comb that the bees produce. Sometimes the relation between two species is symbiotic. Thus ant colonies provide food for certain beetles that live with them, and in return the ants consume fluids that have been secreted by the beetles.

Social Insects
One of the most interesting forms of insect behavior is exhibited by the social insects, which, unlike the majority of insect species, live in organized groups. The social insects include about 800 species of wasps, 500 species of bees, and the ants and termites. Characteristically an insect society is formed of a parent or parents and a large number of offspring. The individual members of the society are divided into groups, each having a specialized function and often exhibiting markedly different bodily structures. For discussion of the organization of typical insect societies, see articles on the insects mentioned above.

All insects have three pairs of legs, each pair growing from a different part of the thorax, called, from front to back, the prothorax, the mesothorax, and the metathorax. Many larvae have, in addition, several pairs of leglike appendages called struts, or prolegs. The forms of the legs vary, depending on their uses, but all insect legs are made up of five parts. In winged insects, the wings, usually four in number, grow from the thorax between the mesothorax and the metathorax. The upper and lower membranes of the wings cover a network of sclerotized tubes, called veins, that stiffen the wing. The pattern of veins of the wings is characteristic of most insect species and is extensively used by entomologists as a basis for classification.

Insect abdomens usually have 10 or 11 clearly defined segments. In all cases the anal opening is located on the last segment in some species, such as the mayflies, a pair of feelers, called cerci, is also present on this segment. The abdomen is devoid of legs. In female insects, it contains the egg-laying organ, or ovipositor, which may be modified into a sting, saw, or drill for depositing the eggs in the bodies of plants or animals. Insect sexual organs arise from the eighth and ninth segments of the abdomen.

Insects have an external rather than an internal skeleton this exoskeleton is a rough integument formed by the hardening of the outer layer of the body through impregnation with pigments and polymerization of proteins, a process known as sclerotization. The exoskeleton at the joints does not become sclerotized and therefore remains flexible.

Flight
Most insects possess wings during at least part of their life cycles. Insect wings are large folds in the exoskeleton composed of two sheets of cuticle permeated with stiff supportive veins. The wings are powered by two sets of muscles that independently drive the upstroke and downstroke of the wing movement. The frequency of wingbeats ranges from 4 beats per second in butterflies to nearly 1000 beats per second in some gnats.

Insect wings not only move up and down but they also move forward and backward in an ellipse or figure eight pattern that provides both lift and thrust. Given their shape, speed, and stroke pattern, it has never been clearly understood how insect wings can generate enough lift to sustain flight. Recently scientists discovered that insects generate a vortex, or spiral air motion, along the leading edge of their wings. This vortex flows out toward the wing tip in widening spirals. The whirling cylinder of air above the insect provides the extra lift that makes flight possible.

Respiration
Certain species of insects breathe through the body wall, by diffusion, but in general the respiratory system of members of this class consists of a network of tubes, or tracheae, that carry air throughout the body to smaller tubelets or tracheoles with which all the organs of the body are supplied. In the tracheoles the oxygen from the air diffuses into the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide from the blood diffuses into the air. The exterior openings of the tracheae are called spiracles. The spiracles are situated on the sides of the insect and are usually 20 in number (10 pairs), 4 on the thorax and 16 on the abdomen. Some water-breathing insects have gill-like structures.

Circulation
The circulatory system of insects is simple. The entire body cavity is filled with blood that is kept in circulation by means of a simple heart. This heart is a tube, open at both ends, that runs the entire length of the body under the exoskeleton along the back of the insect. The walls of the heart can contract to force the blood forward through the heart and out into the body cavity.


Green Lacewing

These intriguing insects are important predators of aphids. The adults are not always predacious, and can often be found on flowers feeding on pollen and nectar. The adults often turn up to porch lights at night year-round in the southeast, although in the winter their color appears somewhat faded. The larvae are always predacious and are sometimes referred to as aphid lions.


Artifact

With the information on each insect, you are going to create a publication to share information about your species. Publishing information will be either submitted on the web, emailed to your instructor or turned in as a hardcopy. Check with your instructor for specific details. The following options are available:

Poster - Create a digital poster online at http://poster.4teachers.org This poster will contain all the information you gathered in an organized way and include at least one photo of each of the insects. Cite your sources and include links to information on insects.

Webpage - Use google sites or other platform to creat a webpage that showcases your insects. Organize insect information, include photo(s) of insects and cite sources.

Museumbox - this platform is similar to a webpage, but allows you to create dynamic flash pages with images and information. Organize insect information, include photo(s) of insects and cite sources.

Presentation - Use prezi or powerpoint to create slides of your insects with information. Organize, include photo(s) of insects and cite sources.

**Other options may be available, check with your instructor.


BugInfo Numbers of Insects (Species and Individuals)

It has long been recognized and documented that insects are the most diverse group of organisms, meaning that the numbers of species of insects are more than any other group. In the world, some 900 thousand different kinds of living insects are known. This representation approximates 80 percent of the world's species. The true figure of living species of insects can only be estimated from present and past studies. Most authorities agree that there are more insect species that have not been described (named by science) than there are insect species that have been previously named. Conservative estimates suggest that this figure is 2 million, but estimates extend to 30 million. In the last decade, much attention has been given to the entomofauna that exists in the canopies of tropical forests of the world. From studies conducted by Terry Erwin of the Smithsonian Institution's Department of Entomology in Latin American forest canopies, the number of living species of insects has been estimated to be 30 million. Insects also probably have the largest biomass of the terrestrial animals. At any time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive.

In the United States, the number of described species is approximately 91,000. The undescribed species of insects in the United States, however, is estimated at some 73,000. The largest numbers of described species in the U.S. fall into four insect Orders: Coleoptera (beetles) at 23,700, Diptera (flies) at 19,600, Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps) at 17,500, and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) at 11,500.

Several enlightening studies have been conducted involving the numbers of individual insects in a given area. In North Carolina, soil samples to a depth of 5 inches yielded a calculation that there were approximately 124 million animals per acre, of which 90 million were mites, 28 million were springtails, and 4.5 million were other insects. A similar study in Pennsylvania yielded figures of 425 million animals per acre, with 209 million mites, 119 million springtails, and 11 million other arthropods. Even specific insect species have been found to be quite numerous, with calculations of from 3 to 25 million per acre for wireworms (larvae of click beetles).

Certain social insects have large numbers in their nests. An ant nest in Jamaica was calculated to include 630,000 individuals. A South American termite nest was found to have 3 million individuals. Locust swarms are said to hold up to one billion individuals.

These great numbers of insect species and individuals were created by a number of factors including their long geological history, the capability of flight, their small size that allows survival in many various habitats, their ability to store sperm for delayed fertilization, and their general adaptive abilities to the environment. Insects have remarkable fertility and reproductive abilities, which have usually led to the vast numbers of individuals in nature. East African termite queens have been recorded to lay an egg every two seconds, amounting to 43,000 eggs each day. To appreciate the population potentials of insects the example of the housefly is sometimes used, stating that the descendants of one pair of this insect, provided that they all survived during a five month season, would total 190 quintillion individuals.

Recent figures indicate that there are more than 200 million insects for each human on the planet! A recent article in The New York Times claimed that the world holds 300 pounds of insects for every pound of humans.

Selected References:

Erwin, T. L. 1983. Tropical forest canopies: the last biotic frontier. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America, Volume 29: 14-19.

Janzen, D. 1976. Why are there so many species of insects? Proceedings of XV International Congress of Entomology, 1976: 8494.

May, R. M. 1988. How many species are there on earth? Science, Volume 241: 441-1449.

Pearse, A. S. 1946. Observations on the Microfauna of the Duke Forest. Ecological monographs, Volume 16: 127-150.

Sabrosky, C. W. 1952. How many insects are there? in Insects: The Yearbook of Agriculture. U.S. Dept. of Agr., Washington, D. C.

Prepared by the Department of Systematic Biology, Entomology Section,
National Museum of Natural History, in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services,
Smithsonian Institution


Roly-poly bugs have many unique adaptations. They have an exoskeleton with plates. They may not be able to bite or sting, but many are able to roll up into a ball for protection and also use odor as a defense. Roly-polies have even shown social behaviors such as fighting over food and communicating by tapping with their antennae. They absorb water with food, through mouth parts or by capillary action through their uropods. These cold-blooded critters react strongly to humidity levels, light and temperature changes. They like dark, moist areas, and if left out in the sun, they perish.

Roly-poly bugs are decomposers. They digest waste like scat as well as decaying matter from dead plants and animals, and then return the essential nutrients back into the soil. Because roly-polies are sensitive to changes in the environment, they also serve as biological indicators for the health of ecosystems. Additionally, roly-poly bugs are a food source for other animals.


Build an Insect Model

Bring all of those really bad horror movies to life by creating a giant insect! But your insect will serve the powers of good&mdashgood science, that is.

Insects come in many different shapes and sizes. A grasshopper is an insect, and so are bees, flies and ants. Animals such as snails and centipedes, however, fall into the larger category of invertebrates&mdashanimals without backbones&mdashbut they are not insects. Insects have very specific body parts. In this activity, you&rsquoll learn about these body parts by creating your own giant insect.

An insect&rsquos body has three parts: a head, thorax, and abdomen. The insect&rsquos head is similar to ours in some ways. For instance, it contains what we&rsquod call the insect&rsquos brain, even though other parts of the insect are also responsible for storing information and controlling the insect&rsquos movement. The eyes are also located on the head, although insect eyes are often quite different from human eyes. Insects often have compound eyes made up of many different parts that allow the insect to see in many different directions. An insect&rsquos head has stalk-like structures called antennae that are used for feeling and smelling. Different insects have different ways of eating, but an insect&rsquos mouthparts (mandibles) are also on its head.

The thorax is the name for the middle part of the insect&rsquos body where the legs and wings are attached. Insects all have six legs. Think of the thorax as a muscular box that provides the structures needed to move the insect&rsquos legs and wings.

The insect&rsquos six legs are attached to the thorax in three pairs. Like humans, insects have different parts of their legs. The coxa is the part that&rsquos attached the thorax, followed by another small part, the trochanter. The coxa is similar to the human hip and is a moving joint part. The insect&rsquos femur comes after the trochanter. This is a large, muscular part of the insect&rsquos leg, and it&rsquos responsible for movements like hopping. The insect&rsquos tibia and then the tarsus are thinner parts of the legs that may have &ldquobrushes&rdquo to help the insect clean off or may have little hooks on the end to help the insect move or hold on to things.

The insect&rsquos abdomen is the third and last part of the insect&rsquos body. Like our abdomen, this part of the insect is where many of its organs are located. The insect&rsquos stomach and reproductive organs are located in its abdomen. Insects don&rsquot have lungs, but they do have holes called spiracles that they use to breathe. These spiracles are located under the insect&rsquos thorax and abdomen.

Problem

Build a model of an insect.

Materials

  • 3 Oval balloons (or 2 oval balloons and 1 oblong balloon)
  • Clear plastic sheet
  • Old newspaper
  • 2 Cups of flour
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • 1 Tablespoon of salt
  • Bowl
  • 8 Pipe cleaners
  • Acrylic craft paints
  • Permanent markers
  • Masking tape
  • Crazy glue

Procedure

  1. Do a quick internet search to find a big picture of the kind of insect you want to make.
  2. Inflate one of the balloons to make the insect&rsquos head. Inflate a second one to make a thorax. Usually this is a little larger than the head. Finally, inflate a third balloon to create an abdomen, which should be bigger than the thorax.
  3. Now you&rsquore ready to attach these body parts. Connect the head to the thorax with a piece of masking tape. Do the same when you connect the thorax and the abdomen.
  4. Mix two cups of flour and one tablespoon of salt with two cups of water in a bowl until the mixture is free of lumps and feels like a thin paste.
  5. Tear your newspaper into thin strips that are around half an inch wide.
  6. Draw the newspaper strips through the bowl of flour paste until they are lightly covered, and then wrap a strip around the balloons. Continue until all of the balloons are covered in paper mache.
  7. Let the insect dry for one or two nights until it feels crunchy instead of damp. Add a second coat of paper mache at this time if you&rsquod like it to be a little sturdier.
  8. When you&rsquove added the last batch of paper to the insect and it feels completely dry, dip one end of each pipe cleaner into crazy glue. Place two pipe cleaners on the head. These are the antennae. Place six of them in three pairs attached to the thorax to make the legs.
  9. Finally, if your insect has wings, draw the wings on the piece of plastic and cut them out. Decorate them with that particular insect&rsquos wing patterns, and then use crazy glue to attach them to the thorax as well.​

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Classification - Insects Orders Illustrated (3-6th)

1) Beetle Order &ndash Coleoptera
Examples of Families:

The order Coleoptera includes the beetles. This is the largest order that contains the most species.
Wings: They have two pairs of wings. The outside pair (forewings) are hard and protective. They are called elytra. They split and spread when the insect needs to fly so the soft wings underneath (hind wings) can be used.
Mouth Parts: Most have chewing mouthparts. Some have piercing mouthparts.
Metamorphosis: They undergo complete (complex) metamorphosis.
Significance to Humans: They can be beneficial (i.e. ladybugs), but some families attack food crops and are considered pests.

2) Mantid & Cockroach Order &ndash Dictyoptera
Examples of Families:

They have long, thin antennae with many segments.
Wings: They usually have two pairs of wings. The forewings are often adapted as tougher coverings and held flat over the back. Some lack wings.
Mouth Parts: They have biting mouthparts.
Metamorphosis: They undergo incomplete (simple) metamorphosis with the nymphs looking like small versions of the adults (with underdeveloped wings).
Significance to Humans: Though some are considered pests (cockroaches), many are beneficial (praying mantis) preying on other pest insects.

3) True Fly Order &ndash Diptera
Examples of Families:

These are known as the true flies.
Wings: They have one pair of wings - the hind wings are adapted structures called halterers which may help with flying.
Mouth Parts: They have piercing and sucking mouthparts. Some are parasites.
Metamorphosis: They undergo complete (complex) metamorphosis.
Significance to Humans: They are considered serious pests. They destroy crops and spread many diseases, including malaria.


4) Mayfly Order &ndash Ephemeroptera

Adults only survive for a couple of days to mate and lay eggs. They hatch from underwater larva and fly above the water, mate, lay eggs and die. They have long thread-like legs and two long tail strands.
Wings: They have two pairs of triangle-shaped wings - the hind wings are much smaller.
Mouth Parts: Adults do not eat, so have no mouthparts.
Metamorphosis: They undergo incomplete (simple) metamorphosis.
Significance to Humans: They are harmless to humans and fishing flies made to look like them have helped many fishermen catch fish!

5) Butterfly & Moth Order &ndash Lepidoptera
Examples of Families

Butterflies and moths are showy and well-known insects. Butterflies are more commonly active in the daytime as opposed to the more nocturnal moths. Moths have more feathered antennae and hairier bodies than butterflies. Both have larvae that can be destructive to trees and food crops.
Wings: As adults they have two pairs of large wings covered with protective scales.
Mouth Parts: Adults have sucking mouthparts. Larvae (young stages) have chewing mouthparts.
Metamorphosis: They undergo complete (complex) metamorphosis.
Significance to Humans: Their young form (larval caterpillars) are considered serious pests and are responsible for crop destruction. Adults, on the other hand, can be beneficial pollinators.

6) Ant, Bee & Wasp Order &ndash Hymenoptera
Examples of Families

Many have an odd narrow &ldquowaist&rdquo between the thorax and the abdomen. Many form colonies with different and distinct roles.
Wings: Some have wings (two pairs) and some are wingless.
Mouth Parts: Many have chewing mouthparts (ants), though some have sucking mouthparts (honeybees).
Metamorphosis: They undergo complete (complex) metamorphosis.
Significance to Humans: Though some have painful and venomous stings (wasps), many are very important and beneficial pollinators (bumblebees).


7) Dragonfly Order &ndash Odonata
Examples of Families


Their young (larvae) are called naiads and live in the water (aquatic), so adults are found around wet areas where they will mate and lay eggs. They are predators with large eyes for spotting prey and strong flight for catching prey. Dragonflies hold their wings flat and out from their bodies, while damselflies hold their wings together and pulled into the body.
Wings: They have two pairs of long wings.
Mouth Parts: They have chewing mouthparts. Naiads have piercing mouthparts for catching underwater prey.
Metamorphosis: They undergo incomplete (simple) metamorphosis.
Significance to Humans: They feed on insects (especially mosquitoes), so are considered beneficial.

8) Grasshoppers & Relatives Order &ndash Orthoptera
Examples of Families

Their back legs are usually large and built for jumping.
Wings: They have two pairs of long wings, though some have no wings.
Mouth Parts: They have chewing mouthparts.
Metamorphosis: They undergo incomplete (simple) metamorphosis with the nymphs looking like small versions of the adults (with underdeveloped wings).
Significance to Humans: They can be very destructive to crops.

9) Stick and Leaf Insect Order &ndash Phasmida
Examples of Families

They have very long, stick-like bodies with long legs and antennae. They are so well camouflaged that they move slowly on their food plants and are rarely seen by predators.
Wings: Most adults in North America are wingless (tropical forms may have wings).
Mouth Parts: They have chewing mouthparts.
Metamorphosis: They undergo incomplete (simple) metamorphosis with the young looking like small versions of the adults.
Significance to Humans: They can be very destructive to some tree species.


Sub-genera

Within a same genus, it is sometimes possible to differentiate (morphologically, and sometimes geographically or biologically) between one or several groups of species. The status of sub-genus is attributed to each of those groups when scientifically relevant.
The species that belong to sub-genera have therefore a certain number of proper or similar features in common. For example, within the large Otiorhynchus (Coleoptera Curculionidae) genus, which comprises more than 1,000 species and sub-species in Europe, 78 sub-genera have been defined.
By convention, the sub-genus name is placed in-between the genus and species names, between brackets, which results in the following writing: Otiorhynchus (Dorymerus) sulcatus (Fabricius, 1775) or Otiorhynchus (Cryphiphorus) ligustici (Linnaeus, 1758). The species O. meridionalis was not classified into any particular sub-genus, so by definition, it belongs to the Otiorhynchus sub-genus (sensu stricto) and is named as follows: Otiorhynchus (Otiorhynchus) meridionalis Gyllenhal, 1834.

Sub-species :

A group of individuals belonging to a given species can find itself isolated geographically, biologically or ecologically. After a certain time, that group has acquired proper features (from a genetic, morphological, biological, chromatic… point of view) that differentiate it from the nominal species it belongs to. Then all the individuals in that group are considered as belonging to a sub-species that differs from the nominal species. There is no reproductive barrier between a sub-species and the nominal species within a same taxon as a result, they can cross-breed. For example, the Western corn rootworm Diabrotica virgifera LeConte, 1858, has a sub-species called Diabrotica virgifera zeae Krysan & Smith, 1980. The nominal species Diabrotica virgifera virgifera and the sub-spieces Diabrotica virgifera zeae are not listed in the same annexes on quarantine lists, and only Diabrotica virgifera virgifera was anthropogenically introduced in Europe, whereas the sub-species zeae was not. This shows how important accuracy is regarding that matter. When a taxon contains one or several sub-species and one does not refer to a sub-species in particular, the reference sub-species (or “type sub-species”) is designated using the last term of the species name twice, which yields the following writing : Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, 1858.
Considering insect numbers (presently more than one million known valid species) and their morphological diversity, one can easily expect insect classification to be complex, and it is complex indeed! We do not aim to get into the labyrinth of entomological systematic, knowing that it is constantly being revised at all levels according to the new insights provided by molecular biology, amongst others. Certain classification categories have been given conventional name endings (Table 2). Thus all super-families end in –oidea (e.g. Bostrichoidea is the super-family Anobiidae belong to).amily names end in –idae (e.g. Anobiidae, Dermestidae, Cerambycidae, Curculionidae, …). There also exists conventional endings for other taxonomical levels (sub-family, tribe), but they are rarely used in practise, so they are not used in this site. Table 2 :

Conventional nominal endings (eg. the housefly)
Order : Diptera
Super-family : Muscoidea
Family : Muscidae
Sub-family : Muscinae
Tribe : Muscini
Genus : Musca Linnaeus, 1758
Species : domestica (Linnaeus, 1758)

Let us speak and write the right language : the advantages of a universal classification
Several hundred more pages are added to the “Good Book” of insect knowledge each day, and more than 3,200,000 works have been published about these arthropods since the beginning of the 18th century. In order to name species, it is therefore suitable to have a universal language as accurate as possible and also taking into account advances in systematic. The few lines below provide the reader with information about the basics of zoological nomenclature.

Species name writing :

Insect names have to follow the strict requirements of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Lets us recall that the basic classification unit is the species.The International Code, or Linnaean system, was established by the famous Swedish entomologist Carl Linnaeus, who established that animal or plant species were to have two Latin- or Greek-derived names : a genus name, followed by a species name.The two names are completed by the name (or names) of the person who described the species (author, discoverer or inventor). Thus, the housefly is named scientifically by the following full name : Musca (genus group) domestica (species group) Linnaeus, 1758 (author, descriptor, discoverer, inventor, followed by the date of the original description).To name the housefly scientifically, one therefore writes Musca domestica Linnaeus, 1758.
The name of each taxon is permanently tagged to a “nomenclature type” (holotype, paratype,…), which is the equivalent of a reference or of a standard metre in a way, and is made of one or several specimens deposited in a public (museum) or private collection. By convention, genus, species and sub-species names are written in italics, and authors’ names in Roman font. Only the names Linnaeus (or Linné in French) and Fabricius can be abbreviated using the letters L. and F., respectively, but it is preferable to write the names in full as we do in this text. When one refers to an undetermined (unidentified) species whose genus is known, sp. (singular) or spp. (plural) abbreviations are commonly used right after the genus name. In the same way, “sub-species” is abbreviated ssp. in the singular and sspp. in the plural. Unlike genus and species names, these abbreviations have to be written in Roman font.

The use of brackets in modified combinations. NB : unchanged combinations do not contain brackets

If the name of a species group is combined to the name of a genus group other than the original generic name, the name of the author of the species group has to be written between brackets. Let us consider the example of the American cockroach Periplaneta americana : the species was described in 1758 by Linnaeus under the name of Blatta americana. Later, the species was rightly classified in the Periplaneta genus. The name of the person who first described the species is written between brackets, and the proper writing of that cockroach’s name reads Blatta americana (Linnaeus, 1758). Genus and species names can change over time, once or several times, especially at the genus level.
Such was the case for tens of thousands of insect species, like the drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum) for example. The species was originally described by Linnaeus under the name of Dermestes paniceum in 1758. At that time, many Coleoptera Dermestidae, and even those now belonging to other families, were described within the Dermestes genus. The research studies in systematics carried out later showed that the Dermestes genus grouped together species that deserved to be transferred into other pre-existing or new families or genera. That is how Dermestes paniceum Linnaeus, 1758 first became Anobium (Artobium) paniceum (Linnaeus, 1758), then Sitodrepa panicea (Linnaeus, 1758) and finally Stegobium paniceum (Linnaeus, 1758) (current genus name and valid current name of the species).
As mentioned above and in order to avoid possible confusion, in all published documents it is recommended or compulsory, depending on the case, that the two genus/species names be followed by the name of the person who first described the species (also called the author, the discoverer, or the inventor) besides, depending on the contents of the document in which the name is written, it is followed (or not) by the year when the species was first described. Let us recall that as a rule scientific genus and species names are written in italics. The first letter of the genus name is always in block-case, whereas the first letter of the species name is always in lower case.Moreover, scientific names, ranging from the sub-species level to the order level and beyond, are never written with accents or dieresis or other spelling attributes.

Synonyms :

In zoology, the word synonym is used when more than one scientific name applies to the same taxon (species) .

Explication : All the names in that taxon, valid name included, are synonyms. The reason is as follows :

The case used to be quite frequent, and for dissemination and publication accessibility reasons, it concerns hundreds of thousands of species thus, some species have more than 140 synonyms. We can better understand why nearly 3 million insect species have been described, while hardly one million of them are actually valid species, also called “good species”.
The scientific community, i.e. specialists in this case, is in charge of classifying species as synonyms when justified. In that case, priority rule is used. As a rule, only the first available name, i.e. the oldest name (the senior synonym), is acknowledged as the official scientific name (val. name), while the other, i.e. the more recent synonym (the junior synonym) is considered as an invalid name, and the species that bears that name is invalid or non-valid. For example, Anobium punctatum (De Geer 1774) = the senior synonym, so the name is valid Anobium striatum Olivier 1790 = a junior synonym, so the name is invalid : Nom invalide The Code of Zoological Nomenclature mentions many other cases and various conservation measures that apply to nomenclature synonyms, but we do not find it necessary to give a reminder of them here.
Following the same principle and for the same reasons as for species, those synonyms can affect families and most often genera. For example, the genus name Ptinus is a junior synonym of the name Anobium. Thus, the common furniture beetle (Coleoptera, Anobiidae) used to be known as Ptinus punctatum, but it is now named Anobium punctatum. Although a lot of species have taxonomic synonyms, some do not have any. Moreover, some species synonyms have been used in applied entomology writings, whereas others have never been.
For each valid species, we only indicated the synonyms used at least once in agricultural or applied entomology publications. During bibliographical searches, we recommend searching the references of each species using not only the valid name but also the junior (genus or species) synonyms. For example, in the case of a bibliographical search about the common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum), in order to carry out an exhaustive search, the suitable procedure will consist in looking for references using the following name combinations : Anobium striatum, Birrhus domesticus, Ptinus punctatum, Anobium ruficolle, Anobium ruficorne.
NB : families can sometimes shift in taxonomical position. For example, Ptinidae are now part of the Anobiidae family, as a sub-family.

Vernacular or common names :

The vernacular name is the common name generally used to designate an animal or a plant. While there exists only one valid scientific name for each taxon (“genus species”), a same taxon can have several vernacular names (also termed common name, vulgar name or usage name). The vernacular name is sometimes the word-for-word translation of the scientific name (1*), but most often it is quite different (2*).
Vernacular names usually apply to the most common and most easily recognisable species (daytime butterflies, large coleoptera…) and to many species of agronomic or economic interest. However, it should be known that in France, most insects do not have a vernacular name, and vernacular names are often quite vague and do not allow their users to tell accurately between species. Sometimes a same vernacular name designates all the species in a family or in a genus (3*).
Common names are more or less precise depending on countries. In Canada, for example, vernacular names are widely used by agronomist and foresters, and are generally precise enough. In many places (particularly in tropical regions) vernacular names are the only names that local populations can use to designate plants but also the most common insects
The vernacular names mentioned here are taken from agronomical and applied literature. The names preceded by an asterisk are those we found most commonly used. Of course, the scientific name has to be chosen as the key-word for all precise bibliographical research.
(1*) Lyctus brunneus and Lyctus linearis designate the powder post beetle and the European Lyctus beetle (Coleoptera Lyctidae), Blatta orientalis designates the oriental cockroach (Dictyoptera Blattidae), Necrobia rufipes designates the copra beetle (Coleoptera Cleridae).
(2*) The lesser grain borer (Coleoptera Bostrychidae) is named Rhyzopertha dominica (Fabricius, 1792).Le Bostryche ou capucin des grains (Coleoptera Bostrychidae) se nomme Rhyzopertha dominica (Fabricius, 1792).The furniture beetle or woodworm (Coleoptera Anobiidae) is named Oligomerus ptilinoides (Wollaston, 1854)
(3*) The name "woodworm" designates all the species of the Anobiidae family and the common name Dermeste designates a lot of Coleoptera of the Dermestitidae family, notably those belonging to the genera Dermestes, Attagenus and Anthrenus.


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