Chapter 14. The Science of Insect Taxonomy: Prospects and Needs

  1. Robert G. Foottit2 and
  2. Peter H. Adler3
  1. Quentin D. Wheeler

Published Online: 30 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444308211.ch14

Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society

Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society

How to Cite

Wheeler, Q. D. (2009) The Science of Insect Taxonomy: Prospects and Needs, in Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society (eds R. G. Foottit and P. H. Adler), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444308211.ch14

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Environmental Health National Program (Biodiversity), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, K. W. Neatby Bldg., 960 Carling Ave., Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6, Canada

  2. 3

    Department of Entomology, Soils & Plant Sciences, Clemson University, Box 340315, 114 Long Hall, Clemson, South Carolina 29634-0315, USA

Author Information

  1. International Institute for Species Exploration, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 876505, Tempe, AZ 85287-6505, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 6 MAR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405151429

Online ISBN: 9781444308211



  • insect biodiversity - tools and approaches;
  • science of insect taxonomy - prospects and needs;
  • What and why of taxonomy;
  • improving biology's ‘general reference system’;
  • fulfilling our intellectual manifest destiny;
  • model organisms – Drosophila melanogaster in genetics and evolutionary development or Manduca sexta in insect endocrinology;
  • creating vocabulary and syntax of language of biodiversity;
  • insect taxonomy missions;
  • transforming insect taxonomy;
  • taxonomic revisions and monographs - gold standard for taxonomic research


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The What and Why of Taxonomy

  • Insect Taxonomy Missions

  • Insect Taxonomy's Grand-Challenge Questions

  • Insect Taxonomy: Needs and Priorities

  • Integrative Insect Taxonomy

  • Accelerating Descriptive Taxonomy

  • Beware Sirens of Expediency

  • Conclusions

  • References