Why we have to collect and preserve insect specimens?
There are several benefits from collections and preservation of insects such as:
- Systematic and taxonomic research: Close observation of preserved specimens can result in an understanding of form and function, relationships between organisms or groups of organisms, methods of identifying organisms and life cycles. New data on organisms will help in achieving the natural classification. In this process of taxonomic studies names and identities of insects change over time and storing voucher specimens will help in rechecking scientific studies. Recognized insect collections will also facilitate as a repositories for storing voucher specimens of scientific studies.
- Biodiversity research: Properly preserved and stored insect specimens can provide historic data of biological diversity and can be used to document changes in distribution and abundance of species over time. Museum specimens can be preserved and studied for hundreds of years.
- Biodiversity education: Insect collections are critical for educating the public about biodiversity and the ecological importance of insects and their relatives.
- Biodiversity conservation: Effective conservation and management of biodiversity depends in large part on our understanding of taxonomy. Well preserved and documented insect collections will help in prioritizing biodiversity conservation and management efforts.
- Invasive species diagnosis and management: Entomological collections help scientists to rapidly identify invasive pests that affect agriculture, forestry, and human and animal health. Invasive insect and mite pests can have tremendous economic and social impacts. Availability of indigenous natural enemies for invasive pests can be identified from the insect museum collections.
- Climate change research: Specimens in museums, along with the data provided on the specimen labels constitute an historic record of biological diversity. Comparing the present and museum data helps us to understand changes in species diversity. The study of insects in collections also provides knowledge that can lead to a better understanding and higher tolerance in our environment.
- Human resource development: Museum collections are important resources for training and educating young taxonomists/ entomologists/ students. They also facilitate in developing specialized expertise in specific insect groups, for example moth and butterfly experts are recognized as Lepidopterist.