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Department of Entomology

Syrphid fly feeding on flower.
Korean butterfly.
Wasp on leaf.
Emergence of winged male and female ants.

The Department of Entomology at Rutgers University was established in 1888 as part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Over the years, department faculty have studied a wide variety of economically important insects including mosquitoes, gypsy moth, Colorado potato beetle, and cockroaches.

Today, our faculty conducts research involving the systematics of dragonflies and other insects, insect plant interactions, biology and spread of invasive insects, public health issues and biological monitoring of earth's environment, and pests of blueberries, cranberries, ornamentals, tree fruit, turf, and vegetables. The Department's Insect Museum contains over 1/4 million specimens collected from the 1800's to present time which serve to record environmental changes over time. Our Center for Vector Biology is a nationally and internationally known program for mosquito, tick, and blackfly research.

The department offers courses leading to doctoral, master's and, bachelor of science degrees in entomology, as well as an undergraduate minor in entomology. The Entomology Department strives to fulfill a diverse and inclusive environment (PDF) for all members, including students, staff and faculty. You can find out how our graduates at all levels contribute back to our community. (See Scott Crans 2016, George Hamilton 1985, David Moskowitz 2016, Sonny Ramaswamy 1980, Jessica Ware 2008, Xin Zhou 2007). You can further help by donating a gift that keeps on giving, to the Entomology Scholarship Funds.

The Department of Entomology at Rutgers University is hosting a virtual prospective student event (PDF) on November 17, 2023. This event will be an opportunity for students applying for the 2024 academic year to meet the faculty, current students, and other prospective students. Students should apply to attend this event by November 13.

In memoriam Karl Maramorosch (1915-2016). He was a very special member of the department.


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Interesting Insects

In this photo we have a wheel bug, (Arilus cristatus) Order Hemiptera, Family Reduviidae, feeding on a spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, Order Hemiptera, Family Fulgoridae.

A major characteristic of the Hemiptera is the presence of sucking mouth parts.  Some feed on plants such as the spotted lanternfly, some are insectivorious such as the wheel bug. The wheel bug is literally sucking the juices out of the spotted lanternfly.

The wheel bug is indigenous to North America, while the spotted lanternfly is an invasive species, indigenous to China and was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014.  It is interesting to note that the spotted lanternfly often feeds on the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), another invasive species found in the US. However, the spotted lanternfly will feed on other plants such as fruit trees and grapes and lead to considerable damage that may impact food prices and contribute to food insecurity.

Past Insects