History of Entomology – AgriBooks

History of Entomology

Important Historical aspects:

  • The first detailed classification of insects – Umaswati (0-100 AD).
  • Classification of bees by the Indian physician Charaka (1200-1000BC)
  • Classification of ants, flies and mosquitoes – surgeon Sushruta (100-200 AD)
  • 1758-: The beginning of the modern era of Indian Entomology
  • Publication of the tenth edition of Carl Linnaeus’s “Systema Naturae”. (First edition1735): This contained the earliest record of 28 species of Indian insects.

J.C. Fabricius

  • The first entomologist who made any extensive study of Indian Insects.
  • Classified the insects in to 13 orders based on type of mouth parts.


  • J.G. Koenig, a medical Officer from Denmark, a student of Carl Linnaeus and friend of Fabricius-published
  • A special account of the termites of Thanjavur District.
  • Fabricius made Koenig’s name remembered by naming red cotton bug of this country as Dysdercus koenigi.
  • 1782 – Dr. Kerr published on account of lac insect
  • 1785 – Asiatic Society of Bengal started in Calcutta.
  • 1791 – Dr. J. Anderson issued a monograph on Cochineal scale insects.
  • 1800 – Edward Denovan published an illustrated book entitled “An epitome of the natural history of insects of India and the Islands in the Indian seas” the first pictorial documentation 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
  • 1883 – Commencement of “Fauna of British India” series under the editorship of W.T. Blandford
  • 1892 – Entomological part of the “Fauna of British India” (now Fauna of India) series started with Sir George Hampson contributed first of the four volumes on the moths of India.
  • 1893 -Rothney published on Indian Ants (earliest record of biological pest control in India) i.e. White ants attack on stationary items was kept free by red ants.
  • 1901- Lionel de Nicevelle was posted as the first entomologist to the Government of India
  • 1903 -Professor Maxwell Lefroy succeeded Nicevelle as Government Entomologist.
  • 1905 – Establishment of Imperial Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa, Bihar and Professor Lefroy became the first Imperial Entomologist
    – ‘Indian Insect Pests’ by Professor Lefroy.
    – “Indian Insect Life”- Professor Lefroy.
  • 1912 – Plant Quarantine Act was enforced.
  • 1914 -Destructive Insects and Pests Act was enforced.
  • 1914 – T.B. Fletcher, the first Government Entomologist of Madras State, published his book “Some South Indian Insects”.
  • 1914- :E.P. Stebbing, Indian Forest Insects of Economic Importance: Coleoptera’ was published by the first Imperial Forest Entomologist
  • 1916- :Imperial Forest Research Institute was established at Dehra Dun, and E.P. Stebbing was appointed as Forest Zoologist.
  • 1916- :The Natural History Section of the Indian Museum was formed as the Zoological Survey of India.
  • 1921- :Indian Central Cotton Committee to investigate on pests of cotton.
  • 1925- :Indian Lac Research Institute started.
  • 1934 – Hem Singh Pruthi ‘ founded Entomological Society of India’ in 1938.
  • Afzal Hussain was the first President of the Entomological society of India and the Vice-Presidents were Hem Singh Pruthi and Ramakrishna Ayyar. The official publication of the Society is the ‘Indian Journal of Entomology’.
  • 1939 – Locust Warning Organization was established, Jodhpur
  • Dr. T.V. Ramakrishna Ayyar published the book “Handbook of Economic Entomology for South India
  • H.S. Pruthi :Text book of Agricultural Entomology
  • Dr. M.S. Mani’s “General Entomology”
  • Dr. Pradhan’s “Insect Pests of Crops
  • 1946-: ‘Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage’ of GOI started. (Faridabad)
  • 1960-: “The Desert Locust in India” monograph by Y.R. Rao.
  • 1968-: The Govt. of India enacted ‘Central Insecticide Act’ which came into force from 1st January, 1971.
  • 1969- : “The monograph on Indian Thysanoptera” was published by Dr. T.N. Ananthakrishnan.
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