Help identifying an insect by its remains

Help identifying an insect by its remains

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Yesterday i hiked in Bolsena lake, Italy. I felt this insect moving into my ear. So i smashed my ear and this is the result. Please tell me that there are no risks related to Lyme desease or similar. Sorry for the bad quality of the photo.

It is probably a beetle. The shape of legs and the two big eyes are an insect thing. Lyme desease is transmitted by ticks, so i would not worry.

The What & Why of Entomology

Entomology is the study of insects and their relationship to humans, the environment, and other organisms. Entomologists make great contributions to such diverse fields as agriculture, chemistry, biology, human/animal health, molecular science, criminology, and forensics. The study of insects serves as the basis for developments in biological and chemical pest control, food and fiber production and storage, pharmaceuticals epidemiology, biological diversity, and a variety of other fields of science.

Professional entomologists contribute to the betterment of humankind by detecting the role of insects in the spread of disease and discovering ways of protecting food and fiber crops, and livestock from being damaged. They study the way beneficial insects contribute to the well being of humans, animals, and plants. Amateur entomologists are interested in insects because of the beauty and diversity of these creatures.

Entomology is an ancient science, dating back to the establishment of biology as a formal field of study by Aristotle (384-322 BC). There are even earlier references to the use of insects in daily life: such as the growing of silkworms that began 4700 BC in China, which was an important part of peasant life in China, as early as 4000 BC. More than a hundred years ago, entomologists formed a society, the Entomological Society of America (ESA), to promote the science and study of entomology in the United States.

Help identifying an insect by its remains - Biology

Importance of Insects

Insects are everywhere. They are, by far, the most common animals on our planet. More than 1.5 million species of insects have been named. This is three times the number of all other animals combined. Even so, some say that the insects that have been given names are only a small fraction of the insects in nature. Many are yet to be discovered.

We can find insects in almost every conceivable habitat. Their size, shape, color, biology, and life history are so diverse that it makes the study of insects absolutely fascinating.

Without insects, our lives would be vastly different. Insects pollinate many of our fruits, flowers, and vegetables. We would not have much of the produce that we enjoy and rely on without the pollinating services of insects, not to mention honey, beeswax, silk, and other useful products that insects provide.

Insects feed on a seemingly endless array of foods. Many insects are omnivorous, meaning that they can eat a variety of foods including plants, fungi, dead animals, decaying organic matter, and nearly anything they encounter in their environment. Still others are specialists in their diet, which means they may rely only on one particular plant or even one specific part of one particular plant to survive.

Many insects are predatory or parasitic, either on plants or on other insects or animals, including people. Such insects are important in nature to help keep pest populations (insects or weeds) at a tolerable level. We call this the balance of nature. Predatory and parasitic insects are very valuable when they attack other animals or plants that we consider to be pests.

Insects are very important as primary or secondary decomposers. Without insects to help break down and dispose of wastes, dead animals and plants would accumulate in our environment and it would be messy indeed.

Insects are underappreciated for their role in the food web. They are the sole food source for many amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Insects themselves are harvested and eaten by people in some cultures. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and are prized as delicacies in many third-world countries. In fact, it is difficult to find an insect that is not eaten in one form or another by people. Among the most popular are cicadas, locusts, mantises, grubs, caterpillars, crickets, ants, and wasps.

And insects make our world much more interesting. Naturalists derive a great deal of satisfaction in watching ants work, bees pollinate, or dragonflies patrol. Can you imagine how dull life would become without having butterflies or lightning beetles to add interest to a landscape? People benefit in so many ways by sharing their world with insects.

In spite of all their positive attributes, some insects can cause problems. Unfortunately, most people are more aware of the few insects that cause problems than they are of the many beneficial insects. Uninformed people think that all insects are bad and all are in need of control. We must always keep in mind that the good done by the many beneficial insects far outweighs any bad caused by a few pest species. In spite of this, texts such as this are written about the relatively few insect pests that cause us harm.

The History of Forensic Entomology

The first instance of insects’ use in Forensic Entomology was in ancient China when a local farmer was found hacked to death.

At a time when forensic science was still in its formative years, all that investigators had was an understanding of the basic principles of the science. This led to the investigators actually inflicting wounds from multiple weapons on an animal carcass.

On comparing the wound with the one on the victim it was conclusive that it was caused by a sickle. Since a sickle was most likely to be used by a peasant, the local magistrate asked all suspected local peasants to gather with their sickles.

The peasant who had assembled at the town square were asked to lay their sickles on the ground. While most stood unaware, the magistrate for sure knew what was in store for the spectators and the guilty!

How Was the Murderer Identified Using Primitive Forensic Entomology?

As the sickles lay on the ground, bright metallic green flies began gathering over the village square.

Eventually, they started swarming over one hand sickle in particular. This was sufficient for the peasant owning that sickle and the entire village to perceive who the guilty really was.

The metallic colored flies were blow flies that are naturally attracted to the soft tissues, blood, and bones of dead bodies. This was the very first case in the history of forensic science when forensic entomology was used to convict the guilty and serve justice.

Subsequently, forensic entomology and the way insects are used for investigations have evolved significantly lending deeper insights to forensic scientists.

Article: The Body Farm

  • Contributed by Shannan Muskopf
  • High School Biology Instructor at Granite City School District
  • Sourced from Biology Corner

The Remains of Doctor Bass

Written by Alan Bellows on 06 November 2008

Under normal circumstances, one would expect a wandering throng of students to demonstrate animated displeasure upon encountering a human corpse in the woods particularly a corpse as fragrant and festering as that which was found on an August afternoon in Knoxville, Tennessee. From a short distance the male figure almost appeared to be napping among the hummingbirds and squirrels, draped as he was over the pebbled ground. But something about his peculiar pose evoked a sense of grim finality&ndash the body language of the deceased.

The students knelt alongside the slumped form, seemingly untroubled by the acrid, syrupy tang of human decay which hung in the air. They remarked on the amount of decomposition that had become evident since their last visit, such as the sloughed skin and distended midsection. Their lack of alarm wasn&rsquot altogether surprising, for they were part of the organization responsible for dumping these corpses. They were forensic anthropology students from the University of Tennessee.

Affectionately referred to as the Body Farm, the facility was founded in 1981 by Dr. Bill Bass, a professor of anthropology at the university. Before the Body Farm was established, information on human decay was astonishingly inadequate, leaving criminal investigators poorly equipped for determining abandoned bodies&rsquo time of death. On one occasion, Dr. Bass was asked to estimate the post-mortem interval of some human remains, and conventional methods indicated approximately one year given the moist flesh still clinging to the man&rsquos bones. When other evidence later revealed that the body had been occupying its coffin since the Civil War, a flummoxed Dr. Bass took it upon himself to finally fill the forensic gap.

The professor convinced the university to set aside over an acre of woodland for his pioneering decay research. A chain-link fence with razor wire and a privacy fence were erected around the plot. To discourage those whose curiosity is aroused by pungent breezes and formidable fences, a series of signs were installed to warn away would-be interlopers, broadcasting their unsettling all-caps pronouncements across the countryside: RESEARCH FACILITY. BIOHAZARD. NO TRESPASSING.

As the lifeless subjects are interred into the grisly forest hideaway, each is assigned an anonymous identification number. At any given time, several dozen perished persons are scattered around the hillside within automobiles, cement vaults, suitcases, plastic bags, shallow graves, pools of water, or deposited directly upon the earth. Grad students and professors return periodically to check on the subjects&rsquo progress.

One of the facility&rsquos first non-living participants was Pig Doe, a hog who was anesthetized and shot on the facility grounds. Within eighty-seven seconds a vigilant blow fly made berth upon the unfortunate animal and installed a cluster of eggs. The predictable timing of infestation waves represents the main thrust of the research at the Body Farm: forensic entomology, the examination of insects for law-enforcement purposes.

Technically decomposition begins about four minutes after death, when cells are deprived of their usual supply of nourishment. Absent these food molecules, digestive enzymes begin gnawing upon the cells themselves, a process called autolysis. Within a few hours the chemicals that allow muscle fibers to slide freely are metabolized, causing a temporary profound stiffness known as rigor mortis. The body pales in color as its blood pools at the lowermost portions.

With the human immune system permanently off-line, the digestive bacteria in the gut gain the upper hand, causing an upset in the uneasy intestinal alliance. These bacteria begin nibbling on the body itself. As the host&rsquos cells steadily self-destruct from autolysis, their membranes rupture, spilling the nutrient-rich cell filling into the tissues. The bacteria thrive in this river of food, and they soon establish decomposition franchises at every extremity.

Meanwhile, back on the surface, scores of flies are drawn to the fresh-corpse scent from up to a mile away. They lay their eggs at every exposed opening, and soon the newborn maggots are making a meal of the cadaver&rsquos subcutaneous fat. Forensic entomologists can measure the size of these developing fly larvae to determine &ldquotime since colonization.&rdquo Over several days the spongy brain will liquefy and leak from the ears and mouth, while blisters form on the skin which eventually evolve into large, peeling sheets. Often the skin from the hand will slough off in one piece, an effect known as gloving. Body Farm researchers have discovered that such skin can be soaked in warm water to restore its flexibility, and placed over a researcher&rsquos hand for the purposes of fingerprint identification.

By day four or so, the rigidity of rigor mortis has subsided, and the rapidly reproducing anaerobic bacteria have expelled enough gas that the skin takes on a green tinge. The sickly sweet smell of decay begins to saturate the air as bacterial byproducts such as putrescene and cadaverine cause swelling of the abdomen. Steadfast insects have thoroughly colonized the cadaver, with writhing mounds of maggots obscuring every orifice and a fog of flies swarming above. Maggot-hunting beetles and wasps may join the fray creating another measurable milestone for the entomologists.

As the tenth day of decay approaches, the bacteria-induced bloating becomes pronounced. Sometimes this pressure is relieved via post-mortem flatulence, but occasionally the abdomen will rupture with a wet pop. Ants, moths, and mites begin to capitalize on the corpse cornucopia along with the other insects, while the single-celled citizens dutifully dissolve the internal organs. Soon the soil beneath the corpse is sodden with liquids, while the skin&ndash unappetizing to most insects&ndash becomes mummified and draws in close to the bones. Natural soap buildup might also be present due to the interaction of bodily fats and acids, a process known as saponification.

When the decomposing donors have completed their stint at the Farm, their bones are steam-cleaned and added to the University of Tennessee skeletal archives.

Owing to the information harvested from the Body Farm, any forensic entomologist worth their salt can now determine time of death when presented with a reasonably fresh corpse. Using the results of numerous experiments, investigators have the data to properly adjust post-mortem interval estimates, taking into account environmental conditions. One example of such variation was Dr. Bass&rsquo underestimated civil War remains, which were found to be contaminated with lead from the cast-iron casket. This effectively embalmed the body, making the meat unpalatable to tiny foragers.

Dr. Bass has since retired from teaching, but he has continued as head of the Forensic Anthropology Center. While the prospect of having one&rsquos naked, lifeless husk flung into the woods lacks general appeal, there is nevertheless an ever-growing waiting list of enthusiastic, not-yet-deceased Body Farm volunteers. Dr. Bass himself has stated that his hatred of flies compels him to decline the opportunity to rot for the benefit of science.

Match the word with its definition/synonym (words are underlined in article)

How are Insects Used in Forensic Entomology?

So here’s breaking the mystery. How can something as despicable as insects lend such crucial information to forensic investigators? The following section shall reveal how are insects used in forensic entomology.


Flies are among the first insects that are attracted to a corpse. Their offspring, maggots, feed on moist cadavers. Following are the flies that are relevant to forensic entomology.

  • Blow Flies: Blow flies are the ones that have mentioned in the first record of the application of forensic entomology in Song Ci’s book. These metallic looking flies have the ability to smell decaying flesh from up to 16 km away. That’s called as having some real olfactory senses!!
  • Flesh Flies: Flesh flies mostly breed on decaying corpses, garbage, dung or any other decaying material. A few species, however, lay their eggs in the exposed wounds of mammals. Being viviparous in nature, flesh flies often give birth on decaying human and animal corpses.
  • House Flies: They are the most common type of flies and are the carriers of serious diseases as we are all aware!
  • Cheese Flies: These flies are mostly found in animal products and fungi. Their larvae most infest smoked fish, cured meat, cheese and decaying animals. The presence of cheese fly larvae is crucial for estimating the time of death for humans.


Beetles generally infest a corpse in the later stages of decomposition compared to flies. Beetles are replaced by moth flies in drier conditions.

  • Dermestid Beetles: Also called as skin or hide beetles, they infest a decomposing cadaver only once the soft tissues have been devoured by other organisms. They thrive on the skin and hair and are one of the most common insects collected by forensic entomologists from human corpses.
  • Bone Beetles: These are also collected from corpses in the later stages of decomposition. Beetles belonging to this family (Cleridae) feed on decaying flesh, leaving the skeletal remains immaculately clean!
  • Carrion Beetles: The larva of carrion beetles are known to thrive on vertebrate carcasses while the adults devour maggots. These chaps are quite a patron of social service as they have a tendency to dig and inter small carcasses underground.
  • Hide Beetles: These feed on decaying carcasses and dry animal products such as bacon, dog treats, dried fish, cheese, and They usually form clusters around resources where feeding and mating are likely to happen.
  • Rove Beetles: Rove beetles are different from carrion beetles in a way that they feed on cadavers or carcasses and not on decaying flesh (carrion). They thrive on maggots and other insect larvae present on carrions.
  • Scarab Beetles: Scarab beetles belong to the Scarabaeidae family that also includes dung beetles which are generally found on or under carrion and corpses. They feed on fungi, dung or decaying flesh and act as a cleanup crew for the animal kingdom.
  • Sap Beetles: These beetles are mostly found near fermenting or decaying plant fluids such as rotting melons or tree sap. Some sap beetles though infest carcasses also and are very crucial in forensic entomology.
  • Clown Beetles: Also known as Hister beetles, these beetles are smart players. They usually hide under the carcass during the day to emerge at night and feed on maggots or dermestid beetle larvae thriving on it.
  • Dung Beetles: These beetles thrive and feed on carrion. Their larvae feed on decaying fungi, manure and vertebrate carcasses at any stage of the decomposition.
  • Mites: Macrocheles mites feed on carcasses in the early stages of the decomposition whereas Tyroglyphidae and Oribatidae mites thrive on dry skin later in the decomposition process.
  • Moths: The larvae of moths that are active primarily during twilight and daytime feed on the hair of mammalian corpses and are amongst the last animals joining in the decomposition of a corpse.

How Crime Scene Insects Reveal the Time of Death of a Corpse

When a suspicious death occurs, a forensic entomologist may be called to assist in processing the crime scene. Insects found on or near the body may reveal important clues about the crime, including the victim's time of death.

Insects colonize cadavers in a predictable sequence, also known as insect succession. The first to arrive are the necrophagous species, drawn by the strong scent of decomposition. Blow flies can invade a corpse within minutes of death, and flesh flies follow close behind. Soon after coming, the dermestid beetles, the same beetles used by taxidermists to clean skulls of their flesh. More flies gather, including house flies. Predatory and parasitic insects arrive to feed on the maggots and beetle larvae. Eventually, as the corpse dries, hide beetles and clothes moths find the remains.

Forensic entomologists collect samples of crime scene insects, making sure to take representatives of every species at their latest stage of development. Because arthropod development is linked directly to temperature, she also gathers daily temperature data from the nearest available weather station. In the lab, the scientist identifies each insect to species and determines their exact developmental stage. Since the identification of maggots can be difficult, the entomologist usually raises some of the maggots to adulthood to confirm their species.

Blow flies and flesh flies are the most useful crime scene insects for determining the postmortem interval or time of death. Through laboratory studies, scientists have established the developmental rates of necrophagous species, based on constant temperatures in a laboratory environment. These databases relate a species' life stage to its age when developing at a constant temperature, and provide the entomologist with a measurement called accumulated degree days, or ADD. ADD represents physiological time.

Using the known ADD, she can then calculate the likely age of a specimen from the corpse, adjusting for the temperatures and other environmental conditions at the crime scene. Working backward through physiological time, the forensic entomologist can provide investigators with a specific time period when the body was first colonized by necrophagous insects. Since these insects almost always find the corpse within minutes or hours of the person's death, this calculation reveals the postmortem interval with good accuracy.

Insect Conservation Biology

Up until the mid-1980's, New York's state insect, the native ladybird beetle, Coccinella novemnotata (C-9) was the most common lady beetle (coccinellid) in the northeastern U.S. This relatively large (5-7 mm) species ranged across the U.S. and through Southern Canada and was an important biological control agent in gardens and crops in the northeast. Collections of C-9 declined through the mid to late 1980's. The latest reported collection in the northeastern U.S. was 1992, although C-9 may have persisted beyond this date in low densities. C-9 could eat many different species of aphid and could live in many different crops including alfalfa, clover, corn, cotton, potatoes, soybeans and arboreal habitats (Harmon et al 2007).

The historically broad geographic range of C-9 stands in stark contrast to its current range. An extensive USDA APHIS coccinellid survey in 1993 found no C-9 in eleven Northeastern states. This cooperative study focused on 100 counties and was based on comprehensive fieldwork and data from personal collections. Based on the latest records in the literature, C-9 was last collected in Maryland in 1986, Pennsylvania in 1987, Delaware in 1988 and Maine in 1992. A coccinellid study several years in duration in Kentucky found no C-9 in corn, tobacco, tomatoes and soybeans. Declines in C-9 populations in Alabama and Mississippi have been recorded since the early 1990's, so there is little reason to believe that C-9 will not continue to disappear from its current range.

There are many questions to be answered on the disappearance of this native ladybird beetle, including the possibility that introduced ladybirds have excluded it from habitats that it once favored. The timing of the extirpation of this native species overlaps with the arrival and establishment of its congener, Coccinella septempunctata or C-7. Making a definitive statement about the effects of C-7 on C-9 is difficult as no data were taken as C-7 expanded its range and C-9&rsquos contracted. Since then, three other introduced species have established, Harmonia axyridis, Propylaea quatuordecimpunctata and Hippodamia variegata. These species are particularly voracious, but it is difficult to quantify this factor in an ecologically realistic setting. Coccinellids are frequently parasitized by Dinocampus coccinellae, a braconid wasp. Although this wasp is native to the Northeast, it is possible that introduced species carried in more wasps upon introduction, potentially altering parasitoid-host dynamics for native species. Cropping patterns and loss of agricultural land may have played a prominent role as well.

Fortunately, although C-9 has declined precipitiously some recent discoveries indicate that it continues to persist. Jilene (age 11) and Jonathan (age 10) Penhale found a nine spotted ladybug near their home in Virginia in October 2006 (read more about this discovery). This is the first C-9 seen in the eastern U.S. in 14 years. Their finding confirmed that the species is not extinct and gave specialists a place to start some intensive hunting. Recent sitings were also recorded from Alberta, Canada (Ladybugs of Alberta, John Acorn, 2006) and Nebraska in 2007 (Scott Black, Xerces Society, 2007). A new citizen science project has been launched at Cornell (the Lost Ladybug Project) to educate the public on the importance of biodiversity and conservation and to recruit them to join in the effort to document the current status of C-9 and other rare ladybug species.

Resources: See Harmon et al. 2007 (J. Insect Cons. Bio. 11:85-94) and essay in Wings

Insect-Pest Management and Control (1969)

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CHAPTER 1 Introduction The objectives of insect-pest management and control are to create and main- tain situations in which insects are prevented from causing significant problems. These objectives may be achieved by preventing the establishment or spread of insect pests, by controlling established pest infestations, or by keeping infesta- tions at levels at which little or no damage or annoyance occurs. These should be accomplished at the lowest possible cost and without hazards to man or the desirable components of his environment. PURPOSE AND SCOPE The purpose of this book is to present the principles involved in various methods of insect-pest management and control in fields, forests, and urban and suburban communities. It was planned to interpolate recent attitudes and philosophies with the established principles and techniques that have served as the founda- tion for past pest-control programs. This approach includes an introduction to the ecological background underlying pest management, a discussion of the entire spectrum of control methodology, and the blending of these methods into dynamic systems of pest management. Principles, background knowledge, and guidelines are discussed to show the types of control that may be suitable for representative insect-pest problems. These are clarified with examples of pest control methods. The information is intended for use in selecting the most promising approaches in the development of effective pest management and control measures. The training needs and general organizational structure necessary to foster further progress in the refinement and application of this 1

2 INSECT-PEST MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL new philosophy of pest control are discussed. Attention is addressed to the economic rationale concerned with controlling pest infestations. While insect- pest control is the main topic, applications and practices of the control of other pest organisms customarily dealt with by entomologists are also discussed. Having presented discussions on well-established concepts and current hypothesis, the report points out areas where additional or new research is needed to modify, extend, develop, or perfect the present application of the principles involved. FACTORS IN INSECT-PEST PROBLEMS There are thousands of species of insect pests spread over most of the areas of the earth where poikilothermic animals can live. Each species of pest is limited to those accessible areas that provide it with food and other biological and physical essentials. It is estimated that in the United States 150 to 200 species or complexes of related species frequently cause serious damage. From time to time, 400 to 500 additional species are pests and may cause serious damage. Approximately another 6,000 species of insects are pests at times but seldom cause severe damage. Other countries throughout the world are infested with many insect pests. Migrations of insects may occur as a result of overcrowding, inadequate food, or weather unfavorable to further local increase, or when the insects reach a migratory state in their life cycle. Distances covered range from a few feet to many miles. Insects may attack several crops or only one. Expansion in world transportation has increased the likelihood of insect pests moving from one area to another. Much shorter transit times often favor the survival of pests. The problems in preventing the spread of insect pests are becoming more complex as a result of rapid changes in transportation. Some species of insects are pests throughout the year, others only at certain seasons. Insect pests may be active certain years and not others. Harvesting a crop may change the distribution of insect pests by forcing them to move to other crops that they would not normally infest. The factors affecting distribu- tion and activity are variable, so that the distribution of insect pests is con- stantly changing. In spite of this, the same insect pests often damage the same crop or crops in the same areas year after year. Variations in insect distribu- tion and activity are important factors for consideration in the development of economical and effective insect-pest management and control programs. The rate of reproduction of insects varies, but in general a great reproductive potential is characteristic of most species. The length of a generation differs. Death of adults before completion of egg-laying, and mortality of eggs, larvae,

INTRODUCTION 3 and pupae because of desiccation, starvation, parasites, predators, diseases, and other adverse factors, greatly reduces the number of insects produced under most environmental conditions. However, the high potential for reproduction of insect pests remains, and a population explosion of many species can be expected from a low-density level whenever suitable environmental conditions occur or control slackens. Insect pests have great adaptability and have adjusted to many ecological conditions and situations throughout the world. Not only have they become adapted to most opportunities for existence in the past, but they are continu- ing to adjust to changing man-made or natural ecological situations. An im- portant adaptation by insect and mite pests is the ability to develop resistance to pesticides. This is discussed in Chapter 16. Changes in cultural, agricultural, and economic patterns throughout the world have had a profound effect on insect-pest management and control. The realization that certain insects are carriers of organisms producing diseases in man has created insistent demands by the informed public that control methods be developed and used effectively to prevent the spread of such pests. The public also insists that control measures not have deleterious effects on man or the environment. There is a demand for control of mosqui- toes, flies, and other annoying insects in urban, suburban, and recreational areas. In dwellings, restaurants, hotels, motels, and certain other buildings, the presence of even an occasional insect may be considered undesirable. The change to continuous croppring systems over wide adjacent areas has created serious insect-pest management and control problems. The demand for agricultural products unblemished by insects has intensified the problems. Producers are subject to legal limitations on the amount of pesticide residue that is permissible on or in their products. Thus, they must balance legal requirements with consumers' demands. Agricultural and forest operations are highly competitive, and the margin of profit on many products is small even when maximum production is obtained. The small margin has greatly stimulated the demand for economic insect-pest controls. This subject is dis- cussed in Chapter 18. Certain pesticide residues may remain in the environment for years. More information is needed about food-chain concentration and practical ways of eliminating detrimental effects of pesticide residues that may remain in the environment after the pesticides have served their purpose. The pervasive nature of a few pesticide residues in the environment and in plants, animals, and man is justifiable cause for concern. This matter received the attention of the President's Science Advisory Committee in the United States, and its findings appear in the Report of the Environmental Pollution Panel issued in November 1965. The report discusses the value of pest control as well as the hazards of pesticide use.

INSECT-PEST MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL DAMAGE FROM INSECT PESTS Insects are pests when they reduce the quantity or quality of food, feed, forage, or fiber during production damage commodities during harvesting, processing, marketing, storing, or use transmit disease organisms to man or valuable plants or animals injure or annoy useful animals or man damage ornamental plants, lawns, or flowers or damage homes and other personal property. During the production of most food, feed, and natural fibers essential to man, insects are continuously destroying a part of them. All types of crops, and other plants such as flowers, ornamentals, and lawn grasses, are damaged by insect pests attacking the roots, stems, leaves, and fruiting parts. Plant tissues are destroyed, and toxemias may occur. Both wild and domestic animals are annoyed and injured by insects and related pests. Insects also spread organisms that produce many serious plant and animal diseases. Insects cause widespread damage to agricultural and forest products during storage and distribution. Large amounts of stored grains are damaged both by actual consumption of the grain and by contamination with whole insects, insect fragments, and feces. The contamination of food by insects is a constant source of loss and concern. Insect fragments in packaged food are often inter- preted as indicating that the food has been processed under unsanitary condi- tions. Insects may occur in conspicuous numbers in food in sealed packages even though the food appeared free from infestation when packed. Termites can cause serious damage to wood used in buildings and to wood products. They are a constant threat in warm climates. Species of termites once confined to restricted areas of the world are now spreading into new territories. Such species increase the hazard of termite damage. Malaria is spread among humans by Anopheles mosquitoes carrying the causal organism other human diseases result from insect-borne pathogens. Insects cause direct injury to man by their bites and stings and by contact. Salivary secretions injected during the feeding process may cause lingering irri- tation at the site of the bite. Some individuals show marked local reactions to certain insect bites. Also, an insect bite offers an opportunity for pathogenic organisms to penetrate the skin and cause serious infection. Some hymenop- terous insects, such as wasps and bees, inflict stings that cause pain and swelling. Allergic persons may die from a sting. Certain lepidopterous larvae have urticarial hairs that cause dermatitis when they contact the skin, and some of the blister beetles cause a blistering of the skin. The popularity of recreational areas is greatly diminished by the presence of chiggers, flies, mosquitoes, wasps, and other annoying pests. A human- disease epidemic spread by insect-borne pathogens, or the presence of

INTRODUCTION 5 numerous biting flies, in a resort area may cause widespread cancellation of reservations, resulting in heavy financial losses. Insect pests in the yard around a dwelling are very objectionable, and people go to considerable expense in an effort to control them. Although most insects do not harm man directly, some people have an illogical fear of them. This state of fear may be reduced when an individual learns more about insects, their habits, activities, and behavior. The presence of a few harmless insects may lead to excessive or unnecessary use of insecticides. In making estimates of losses from insect pests, it is very difficult to obtain information on any but major pests that repeatedly cause damage. The average annual loss from such insect pests and the cost of control in the United States during the period 1951-1960 is estimated at about $6.8 billion. Of this total, a loss of $6.1 billion was from crop, rangeland, turf, ornamental-plant, forest, forest-product, stored-product, livestock, and poultry insects, and from insect pests of honey bees. These figures do not include crop losses resulting from sporadic insect pests intermittently causing damage in an occasional year, which may be severe in a field, an area, or a region. A few estimates of average percentage losses from insects during production in 1951-1960 are: alfalfa for hay, 15% corn, 12% apples, 13% cotton, 19% oranges, 6% rice, 4% and soybeans, 3%. Estimates of loss during storage are 5.5% for corn and 3% for wheat. Average losses for a crop or commodity tend to hide the very high losses that may be suffered by individual producers or handlers. The average annual estimated cost of insect-pest control in the United States in 1951-1960 was $731 million. Economics of losses are dis- cussed in Chapter 18. When most of the people in the United States lived on farms, insect damage was taken for granted as part of the normal hazard of crop and animal pro- duction. However, with modern operations, the difference between a 5 and 10% loss can easily represent the difference between a profitable and an unprofitable farming operation. When faced with the prospect of a loss from insect damage, the modern producer needs to know whether the potential loss will be larger than the cost of control and approximately the difference. Better methods for determinating insect losses and more accurate estimations of probable insect damage in specific situations are needed. METHODS AND ECONOMICS Insect pests can be controlled by a variety of methods. The first principle in insect control is the correct identification of the pest. Identification of insects is discussed in Chapter 2. Correct identification provides a key to published

6 INSECT-PEST MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL information on the life history, behavior, ecology, and other factors important in the development of control measures for a pest. Once an insect pest has been correctly identified and the available information assembled, the appli- cability of various methods of pest management can be considered. In evalu- ating different methods of control for a particular pest, the harmless level of infestation, or the economic threshold, should be considered. The ecological factors affecting insect populations are of major importance in insect-pest control. All available knowledge about the biotic and abiotic characteristics of the environment affecting the pest should be used in weaving a pattern of insect control for a specific pest in a specific place. Figure 1 shows some of the components of the environment, the physiological status, and the process of development that affect growth, reproduction, and behavior of an insect. The manipulation of ecological or physiological factors by man may produce effective ways of controlling pests. (See Chapter 17 for a discussion FIGURE 1 Factors affecting insect activities. (From Agricultural Science Review 3:1, 1965.)

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Papua-Insects .nl

The Papua Insects Foundation

We need your help to preserve the Lepidoptera collection of Papua!

Fund raising for the Digitalization Project of the Lepidoptera Collection KSP in Papua, Indonesia

Koleksi Serangga Papua (KSP) is a large butterfly and moth collection build up by the late Br. Henk van Mastrigt. The collection is under supervision of the Kelompok Entomologi Papua (KEP) and property of the Universitas Cenderawasih (UNCEN) in Waena, Papua. With more than 75,000 specimens, all from Papua and West Papua, the collection is the only testimony of the Lepidoptera fauna in Papua, now endangered by deforestation and cultivation. Our goal is to open this collection for scientists and students to study and to ensure its preservation.

The KSP comprises many type specimens and other unique specimens, some even from species still undescribed by science. The collection is the most crucial tool scientists have to chart biodiversity, monitor populations and help designing protection policies. Despite its scientific importance, it remains very difficult to reach for many scientists and students worldwide. To make it accessible, The Papua Insects Foundation (PIF) aims to start a digitization project based on UNCEN. Digitized information and photographs will be put on line with open access (some exceptions for undescribed species in progress of publication).

The Dutch Uyttenboogaart-Eliasen Foundation will finance the much needed material to photograph and register the specimens, but we still need money to finance the workforce and to guarantee continuity of the project. Please help us with making this project a success and donate whatever you can contribute.
We already received &euro 3000 to start the project but to continue the project we need more.

You will be informed of our progress at all times and your contribution will be mentioned in publications related to this project.

You can send your contribution to ING Bank with IBAN number NL10INGB0673660087, BIC code INGBNL2A, Papua Insects Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with notification of “KSP Photo Project”.

You can also pay by PayPal using code: [email protected]

For more information, please contact chairman Rob de Vos.

On behalf of the members of KEP and biology students of UNCEN and PIF,
Thank you very much for your help!

The latest volume of SUGAPA digital

SUGAPA digital 13(2) is online:

SUGAPA digital 13(2) (2021) contains the following publications:

- Noortje Looijenga - The discovery of a sibling species next to Cyme reticulata Felder, 1861 in New Guinea and a review of some allied taxa (Lepidoptera: Erebidae, Arctiinae, Lithosiini)

- Gábor Ronkay, László Ronkay, Gyula M. László & Rob de Vos - A new Thyatira Ochsenheimer, 1816 (s.l.) species from New Guinea (Lepidoptera: Drepanidae, Thyatirinae)

- Frans Groenen - New species of Reptilisocia and Trophocosta with some additional data of other genera (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae, Tortricini) in Papua

- Frans Groenen & Jozef Razowski - Nipwalmasa boletusana gen. nov. and spec. nov. from Papua, Indonesia (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae, Tortricini)

Join the "Friends of The Papua Insects foundation"

The board of the PIF is very pleased to announce the birth of the group “Friends of the Papua Insects Foundation”. This is a special group for those willing to support the work of the Papua Insects Foundation and in particular, the journal Suara Serangga Papua (SUGAPA), “the Voice of Papua Insects”.
SUGAPA is a journal devoted to the insect fauna of Indonesian New Guinea (provinces Papua and Papua Barat). The journal includes news, observations, description of new species, taxonomic revisions and results from fieldwork. From 2006 and until 2016, SUGAPA appeared twice annually, in print, under the direction of Kelompok Entomologi Papua (KEP). Brother Henk van Mastrigt was the chief editor of SUGAPA. The journal was financed by a few supporting foundations, companies and subscribers. After Henk’s passing in August 2015, the publication of SUGAPA ended because it was impossible to find a successor for him in a short time.

PIF recognizes the importance of this journal, both for the local biology students and for the broader entomological community. For this reason, we created in 2016 a new SUGAPA series, now online. Together with KEP, we formed a new editorial board. The first online volume was published in July 2016. The new SUGAPA digital is free and allows open online access to its articles. New issues are freely accessible from the website, while digital versions of the articles published in print before 2016 are now made available too.

The new SUGAPA digital, with all its advantages, needs financial support. Not only for the costs of the website domain, but also to guarantee its scientific status. Online taxonomic publications need to be registered in ZooBank, the Official Registry of Zoological Nomenclature. ZooBank registers new nomenclatural acts, published works, and authors to ensure the validity and stability of zoological names. This action is free of costs, however, each register of digital publications (DOI) requires payment. As PIF is a non-profit organisation, external financial support is very necessary and warmly welcome. For this reason, the board of the Papua Insects Foundation has created the “Friends of the Papua Insects Foundation”. You are cordially invited to join us!

You can become a “Friend of the Papua Insects Foundation” by donating annually the amount of (at least) &euro20.
Your donation is greatly appreciated and will be used to ensure the continuation of SUGAPA digital, the platform for future entomological research for PIF and for local biology students.

As a Friend of PIF, you will enjoy privileges:
- your “friendship” will be mentioned on the website (unless you indicate you don’t want to)
- being first informed about the release of a new issue of SUGAPA digital
- first-hand information regarding the ongoing fieldwork
- you will be first to receive the new newsletters on the activities of PIF and KEP
- you will get discount on publications made by KEP and PIF (i.e. the Kupu-Kupu series)
- you are entitled to have a VIP visit to an annual meeting on Papua insects which will be held in Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands (more details about this will follow)
- there will be a possibility to have your name monumentalized by the description of a new Papuan insect species. For details about this you can contact us

Register your “Friend of Papua Insects Foundation” by email to our secretary and transfer your donation under the specification “Friend of PIF” to:
Papua Insects Foundation
IBAN NL 10 INGB 0673660087
The Netherlands

You can also pay by PayPal using code: [email protected]

For Dutch “Friends of Papua Insects Foundation” it may be interesting to know that the Papua Insects Foundation is an ANBI institution (tax nr. 8158.33.039), which means that your donation may be included in tax deductions every year at a rate of 1.25 times your donation (so &euro 20 is deductible for &euro 25)!

The Papua Insects Foundation is sponsored and supported by:

The ideals of the Papua Insects Foundation are supported by Conservation International

The entomological magazine SUGAPA is sponsored by The Van Tienhoven Foundation

Have a look at this interesting website with lots of magnificent pictures. The Association des Lépidoptéristes de France (ALF) recently payed a visit to the Arfak Mountains, the Baliem Valley and Biak. Members of the ALF made a lot of nice pictures of insects of which we have permission to show them also in our website.

The World Wildlife Fund and the Dutch "Nationale Postcode Loterij" sponsored the new field guide to the butterflies of the Birdshead Peninsula

Vermandel entomology supplies ( sponsored the fieldwork of the Papua Insects Foundation

John H. Otten, coordinator POCT (part of the Dutch Society for Bio-Medical Laboratorium personel NVML Utrecht) donated eight stereo binoculars to us for the Papua biology students

The magazine SUGAPA 2013-2014 and the third fieldguide on butterflies (of the islands in the Cenderawasih Bay) are sponsored by Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI)


For all your tour arrangements in and around Manokwari, the Arfak Mountains and Papua Barat
An English, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia spoken experienced guide

Contact Yoris R. Wanggai
Email: [email protected]
mobile phone: 081248092764 (in Indonesia)

Introduction about this website

The need for information about fauna and flora has increased since people are aware that nature is changing very rapidly in the last decades. Polution, global warming and destruction of natural environment are the topics of the world these days.

  • One of the most urgent job's is to generate checklists of the families and present known species. This can be done by recording relevant literature and collections. The information derived from literature must be trustworthy and will be checked, if possible, by still existing material and photographs. Collection information should be correctly identified or will be reidentified by the specialists.
  • The intention is to give a picture of all species, adults and if possible also immature stages.
  • A distribution map of the species is given for Papua Indonesia, together with information of its external distribution.
  • If known, biological and ecological information is given for the species, together with pictures of the biotopes.
  • New discovered species will be described in scientific magazines and only be added to the checklists when published.
  • Additional research and inventories are needed to complete the distribution maps and the knowledge of the biology and ecology of the Papuan insects and the existance of biodiversity hotspots. Fund raising will be an essential activity to make it possible for local students and entomologists to investigate explored and unexplored areas of the immense forests and mountain ranges of Papua Indonesia. These funds are also necessary to finance publications and other expenses.

New Guinea is the second largest island in the world (Greenland is the largest). It is also one of the richest islands for what biodiversity is concerned. Its tropical climate and fortunately still largely (70%) with forest covered surface gives animals and plants the opportunity to flourish in an almost unlimited way. Its biogeographic history is very complex and resulted in strange habitats from an even stranger origin. Its floral and faunal character is much different of that of adjacent areas in the region. For instance, in the west the Moluccas may have an overlap of species with New Guinea, but for the greater part it differs significantly and forms the border between the Sundanian and Wallacian regions on one side and the Australian faunal regions on the other side. In the south and southeast the faunal characters are similar in Queensland (Australia), the Solomon Islands and Fiji, but New Guinea inhabits loads of endemic fauna elements. There have been many natural historic expeditions in New Guinea but most of them were in the eastern part, at present Papua New Guinea. The majority of faunistic information from New Guinea consequently deals with this area. Because of the fact that the western part, Papua (Indonesia), is underexplored and because the geological history of this area for a greater part differs from the eastern area, which also resulted in different flora and thus fauna, it is about time that this interesting part of New Guinea is mapped. Of course, there is already information about the western part of New Guinea available, but it is scattered in literature and hidden in (museum) collections. It is one of our jobs to collect these data and to make this information available to the public.


In the 19th and early 20th century the island of New Guinea was colonized by three nations: the Dutch in the west (Dutch New Guinea), the Germans in the northeast (Kaiser Wilhelms Land) and the British in the southeast (British New Guinea). At 1848 the border of Dutch New Guinea is layed down at 141º Eastern Length by the government of the Dutch Indies. It was officially determined in 1895 and is until present day the unchanged border of Papua with Papua New Guinea. In 1963 the area was handed over to UNTEA and finally to the Republic of Indonesia and was called Irian Barat (West Irian), from 1973 Irian Jaya (= "Ikut Republik Indonesia, Anti Nederland", which means "Follow the Republik Indonesia, reject The Netherlands", "Jaya" means "glorious") and from October 2001 Papua (or Papua Indonesia, to avoid confusion). In 2003 there was an attemption to divide Papua in three subprovinces (Papua Barat, Papua Tengah and Papua Timur) but because of many protests it was decided to divide Papua in 2007 in only two main provinces: Papua Barat (West Papua) and Papua. In this website we only use the name Papua or Papua Indonesia, meaning both provinces together. The border of both provinces is West of Nabire and East of Wandammen Peninsula.

Because in the 19th and early 20th century most naturalists were either German or British it is obvious that the colonies in the east of New Guinea were visited more frequently by scientists than the Dutch western part of the island. Furthermore Dutch scientists hardly showed any interest in this part of their colony. After Dutch New Guinea was handed over to UNTEA and Indonesia in 1963, hardly any expedition or collection trip was held in this part until the Eighties of the last century. Nevertheless, their have been some important expeditions in the western part. An overview of these expeditions is given on the history page of this website.

Published information about insects of New Guinea is mostly restricted to the eastern side of this large island, Papua New Guinea (PNG). A magnifiscent piece of work is done by Michael Parsons in "The Butterflies of Papua New Guinea" (1999) about the butterflies of New Guinea, with PNG in particular. For moths such a comprehensive work does not exist, let alone about other insect orders, although there are many publications scattered in various scientific magazines. One of the aims of The Papua Insect Foundation is to gather all this information and to make it available, for instance on this website.

N o comprehensive overview on the insect fauna of Papua exist yet. But recently, Henk van Mastrigt (2005) published a guide of the butterflies of the northeastern part of Papua Indonesia: Kupu-kupu ("butterflies") and another in 2010 on the butterflies of Papua Barat, the Birdshead Peninsula. It may be the start of a series on this more or less "forgotten" part of New Guinea.

Additional information

If you are interested in more detailed information than presented here, please do not hesitate to contact us.
If you have additional information about some taxa, please let us know or join us and contribute to this website. A list of participating specialists is given in contributors.

You will find a list of the collections and museums from which information and photographs are obtained and used for this website with their permission.

Last update on 2nd June 2021

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