Insects and their Allies  
Studying Invertebrates

Why study insects and their allies?
Invertebrates are just about the most abundant creatures on the earth, accounting for about 95% of all animal species. They have been around for millions of years and occupy just about every kind of habitat you can think of. As such, no matter what you do or where you go, you are bound to encounter these animals.

Many invertebrates can be be beneficial to man such a honeybees which provide honey and pollinate crops, or silkworms that provide silk. In some cultures invertebrates themselves are utilised as food for people and form a regular part of their diet. Other species are considered pests of man and are responsible for such things as spreading diseases and eating our crops, clothes, furnishings and structures. Other can be just plain annoying when they bite or sting.

However, on the whole most invertebrates hold no significance to man at all, except as interesting creatures to observe and share our world with. It is often for this reason that many people begin a career of studying invertebrates. Some may wish to help protect our crops and other goods from invertebrate pests, while there are those who feel that invertebrates can further improve our lives in ways we have yet to imagine. Others also study invertebrates to help preserve their diversity as many species are disappearing because of the effects of man.

Due to the sheer number of species, a lot invertebrates can be easy to find and as such make good study subjects. Little is known of other species and therefore new facts about many can be learned through studying them, as well as the possibility of discovering a previously unknown species.

People who study insects are known as entomologists. The study of insects is known as entomology. Not all people who study invertebrate make a career out of it. Some are just amateur entomologists that start studying invertebrates as a hobby.

Collecting and Preserving Invertebrates.
It is important to remember however, whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, invertebrates need to be well preserved if they are to be able studied correctly. Techniques and equipment for collecting and preserving invertebrates can range from very simple to reasonably complex due to the diversity of species. However, even for the hobbyist the inexpensive bare essentials will guarantee results that give immense pleasure and satisfaction. See Collecting and Preserving invertebrates for more information.