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    Author(s): May R. Berenbaum; Thomas Eisner
    Date: 2008
    Source: Science, Vol. 322: 52-53
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (176 KB)


    Although scientific progress leads to constant reevaluation and revision of concepts and ideas, one observation that has remained robust in the face of accumulating evidence across the centuries is that there are a lot of insects in the world. In 1758, in his profoundly influential book Systema Naturae, Carolus Linnaeus (1) described all animal species known at the time; of the 4203 species of animals he named, 2102—more than half—were insects. Linnaeus also provided a flexible binomial framework for naming and classifying organisms; species descriptions of all kinds have accumulated apace, but since Linnaeus began this effort they have accumulated fastest for insects. Between 1758 and 1800, close to 60,000 insect species were described; from 1800 to 1850, about 360,000 additional species were identified. Today, about 950,000 species of insects have been described.

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    Berenbaum, May R.; Eisner, Thomas. 2008. Bugs'' bugs. Science, Vol. 322: 52-53

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