History of Entomology in India | Chapter 1(Unit I) - Fundamentals of Entomology-I

Unit- I | History of Entomology in India. Classification of phylum Arthropoda up to classes. Relationship of class Insecta with other classes of Arthropoda. 

Part 1 - History of Entomology in India 

The word Entomology is derived from Greek two words- Entomon and Logos. Entomon = Insect & Logos = Study/knowledge.

Entomology: Entomology is the branch of zoology which deals with INSECT, their activities, and management.

Insect: this word is derived from insecare which means “to cut into”.


An insect is a tracheate Arthropod which integument is composed of the chitinous cuticle, the body is segmented and typically divided into 3 parts (head, thorax & abdomen). Head bears antennae, compound eye & mouthparts, thorax bears 3 pairs of legs & 2 pairs of wings and the abdomen bears genital organs.

History of Entomology in India (1758 to 1993 )

• 1758 - 10th edition of Systema Naturae Linnaeus with only 12 Indian insects which was the earliest record. 

• 1779 - Dr J.G. Koenig - Medical Officer initiated the work on Indian insects on scientific lines. He also published a special account of the termites of Thanjavur District.

• 1782 - Dr Kerr Published on account of lac insect. 

• 1785 - Asiatic Society of Bengal started in Calcutta and many papers were published in the Society's publications. 

• 1790 - Roxburgh (Botanist) published a detailed account of lac insect. 

• 1791 - Dr J. Anderson issued a monograph on Cochineal scale insects 1800 - Buchanan (Traveller) wrote on the cultivation of lac in India and on sericulture in some parts of South India. Denovan published Natural History of Insects which was the first contribution on the insects of Asia and was revised in 1842 by West Wood.

• 1875 - Foundation of the Indian Museum at Calcutta 1883 - Bombay Natural History Society was started. After the foundation of these two organisations, scientific studies received greater attention in India. Numerous contributions of Indian insects were published in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History. 
• 1892 - Hampson issued four volumes on months of India.
• 1893 - Rothney published on Indian Ants (earliest record of biological pest control in India) i.e. White ants attach on stationery items was kept free by red ants. The government of India commenced the publication of the Fauna of British India series 1897 - Bingham's issued volumes on "Hymenoptera' (Ants, bees and wasps). Since then volumes on other groups of insects like Coleoptera (beetles), Hemiptera (bugs), Odonata (dragonfly and damselfly), etc., were published. 
• 1889 - Indian Museum, Calcutta published the Indian Museum Notes in five volumes which contributed much to economic entomology and applied entomology in India. The 19th Century marks the major progress and expansions in the field of applied entomology.

• 1901 - (Lionel de Nicevelle) posting of the first entomologist to the Government of India. 
• 1905 - Establishment of Imperial Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa (Bihar). Subsequently, this Institute was shifted to New Delhi as Indian Agricultural Research Institute. 
• 1906 - “Indian Insect Pests” & “Indian Insect Life” Books by Professor Maxwell. Lefroy, Head, Division of Entomology, IARI, New Delhi. Subsequently, State Governments also took up entomological work. Madras, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh appointed their first Government Entomologists in 1912, 1919 and 1922 respectively. 
• 1914 - T.B. Fletcher, the first Government Entomologist of Madras State, published his book "Some South Indian Insects". 
• 1916 - The Natural History Section of the Indian Museum was formed as the Zoological Survey of India. 
• 1921 - Indian Central Cotton Committee to investigate pests of cotton. 
• 1925 - Indian Lac Research Institute now its name is IINRG (Indian Institute of Natural resin and Gum). Hem Singh Pruthi was succeeded Fletcher as Imperial Entomologist in 1934. 
The Entomological Society of India was constituted in 1938. The first President of the Entomological Society of India was Afzal Hussain. 
• 1940 - Dr T.V. Ramakrishna Ayyar published the book "Handbook of Economic Entomology" which met the long-felt need of the students of Agriculture and agricultural scientists as well. 
• 1968 - Dr M.S. Mani's "General Entomology" 
 •1969 - Dr H.s. Pruth's "Textbook of Agricultural Entomology". Dr Pradhan's "Insect Pests of Crops".
Dr S. Pradhan is considered the Father of modern applied entomology in India. 

• 1946 - The government of India started the "Directorate of plant protection". 
• 1960 - "The Desert Locust in India" monograph by Y.R. Rao. 
• 1969 - "The monograph on Indian Thysanoptera" by Dr T.N. Ananthakrishnan 
DIPA (Destructive Insect Pest Act ) passed in 1914.

Insecticide Act, 1968 
On the recommendation of the Indian Famine Enquiry Commission, Central Plant Protection Organization was established in 1946. It is now known as the Directorate of Plant Protection and Quarantine and storage. Dr Hem Singh Pruthi was the First Plant Protection Advisor of Govt. of India National Institutes of Entomology in India.

National Institutes of Entomology in India
• The Indian Lac Research Institute was established in 1925. Now its name is IINRG. National Plant Protection Training Institute was established in 1966 in Hyderabad. National Centre for Integrated Pest Management (NCIPM) was established in 1988. Project Directorate of Biological Control (PDBC) was established in 1993 in Bangalore. Its name was changed NBAII (National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insect). Now Its name again changes NBAIR (National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources).

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