Entomology in Pakistan

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Entomology in Pakistan

Post by nasirhussain » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:11 pm

Entomology is the scientific study of insects, a branch of arthropod. At some 1.3 million described species, insects account for more than two-thirds of all known organisms, date back some 400 million years, and have many kinds of interactions with humans and other forms of life on earth. It is a specialty within the field of biology. Though technically incorrect, the definition is sometimes widened to include the study of terrestrial animals in other arthropod groups or other phyla, such as arachnids, myriapods, earthworms, land snails, and slugs.OVERVIEWNatural history collection is considered one of the important tools for the study of biodiversity of a country. Properly identified and classified specimens with complete data such as locality, date of collection and other related remarks, act as a time machine and provide information on the status, abundance and a distribution of a particular species or a group in the past. This information is vital to plan proper conservation measures for the survival of a species or a group in the present and future.HISTORYAn insect museum was established at Karachi after partition, with the basic insect collection received from Imperial Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, as Pakistan’s share (Known as Pusa collection). In 1952 the department of Plant Protection (Karachi) came into existence, which was given the responsibility to maintain valuable collection of insects, consisting of local fauna and specimens received from India. According to GOP (1970) status of collection since 1952 is shown as under:•Number of preserved insect specimens 1, 22,085•Number of authentically identified specimens 25,211•Number of authentically identified species 8,000•Number of type specimens 121•Number of new species to insect world 4•Number of insects new to Pakistan 115In 1972 this national collection of insect was handed over to Agriculture Research Council (now called PARC). In 1988, all that PARC insect collection housed at Karachi was transferred to CABI Regional Biosciences Centre, Rawalpindi. Finally in July, 2005 a collection of 112244 preserved insects was shifted from CABI Biosciences, Rawalpindi to National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad so as to make it part of the National Insect Museum, Islamabad.NUMBERS OF SPECIES IN PAKISTANMan originated about a million years ago and insects at least 500 million years ago. Insects constitute the largest class of the living organisms and about 72 per cent of all living animals are insects with approximately 1-1.5 million known species. Insects are omnipresent and each crop we cultivate is being attacked by at least a dozen of insect species. Apart from the pest insects, there are several productive and useful insects. Insects are considered as one of the major constraint in increasing agricultural productivity of any country. It is thus important to understand biology, classification and management of insects.Identification of insectsMost insects can easily be recognized to order, such as Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants) or Coleoptera (beetles). However, insects other than Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are typically identifiable to genus or species only through the use of Identification keys and Monographs. Because the class Insecta contains a very large number of species (over 330,000 species of beetles alone) and the characteristics separating them are unfamiliar, and often subtle (or invisible without a microscope), this is often very difficult even for a specialist. Insect identification is an increasingly common hobby, with butterflies and dragonflies being the most popular.Taxonomic specializationMany entomologists specialize in a single order or even a family of insects, and a number of these subspecialties are given their own informal names, typically (but not always) derived from the scientific name of the group:1.Apiology (or melittology) – bees2.Coleopterology – beetles3.Dipterology – flie s4.Hemipterology – true bugs5.Lepidopterology – moths and butterflies6.Myrmecology – ants7.Orthopterology – grasshoppers, crickets, etc.8.Trichopterology – caddis fliesPests in relation to crops and productsPest damage, economic thresholds and control in relation to:•field crops (cereals, grain legumes, root crops, fibre plants, oilseed plants…)•fodder crops & pastures•horticultural crops (vegetables, fruit, nuts, ornamental plants, stimulant plants, herb & spice plants, dye plants, hops, pesticidal plants, rubber plants, edible fungi, essential oil plants….)•forest trees•stored products•Natural enemies of weeds and wild plants•Arthropods feeding on weeds and wild plants•Formicidae•Studies on ants•Acridoidea•Studies on grasshoppers and locust•Isoptera•Studies on termitesUseful arthropods•Studies on useful arthropods such as pollinators, silkworms, lac insects and edible insectsTYPES OF ENTOMOLOGY•Forensic Entomology•Forensic entomology uses the study of an insect’s life, its behavior and life cycle to aid in both criminal and civil investigations. Criminal cases typically involve the deceased and what are known as necrophagous or carrion-feeding insects•Medical Entomology•Medical entomology deals with disease-spreading insects like mosquitoes, mites, ticks and fleas. Originating in 1878 with the discovery that mosquitoes had the capability to transmit parasites, this discipline deals with other infectious diseases like malaria, typhus, and plague. Military medical entomology, separate from civilian medical entomology, helps armies determine and eradicate insect threats to troops.•Agricultural Entomologists•Agricultural entomologists can work in either the public or private sector. As government employees, they focus on food crop pests, like beetles, moths or aphids, working to improve productivity and reduce the amount of revenue loss from insect damage. For a private company, an entomologist might help reduce pest damage to anything from shade trees and ornamental plants, to homes and shopping centers.NATIONAL INSECT MUSEUMNational Insect museum has made significant achievements in the identification and curation of insect fauna of Pakistan. The museum is still busy in this continues effort with a lot of desired goals for the futures. The NIM has holdings of insects from the Sub-continent, Far East, Middle East and Europe including many historically important records. It houses an estimated 1,20,000 insect specimens, including 113 holotypes and paratypes, excluding bulk material that has yet to be identified.
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