Entomology

With more than one million described insect species, entomological biodiversity research encompasses the vast majority of all living animals on earth. Research at the SMNS Division of Entomology focuses on the most species-rich groups of insects: Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies and midges), Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), and aquatic insects (mayflies, stoneflies, dragonflies and damselflies).

A traditional domain of entomology is taxonomy, which is the description of new and classification of known species. Projects within the Division centre around the entomological research collection and result in taxonomic revisions, monographs on selected groups or regions, species catalogues, faunistic checklists and field guides.

Phylogenetics, which is the reconstruction of evolutionary descent, is a further domain in the Division of Entomology. Following the traditions of Willi Hennig, who initiated this research domain at the museum in the 1960s, current phylogenetic studies are based on comparative morphology as well as modern molecular methods. Recent efforts include participation in the German Barcode of Life project (GBOL)

Within the department, further emphasis lies on the study of parasitic fly and wasp groups, which are important for biological pest control.

The insect fauna of Baden-Württemberg, in particular of beetles, butterflies and native bees, is largely studied by members of the associated Stuttgart Entomological Society (a registered society since 1869). The German Coleopterological and the Stuttgart Hymenopterological Meeting are organized on a regular basis.