Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados,
Anitha Byabato Philbert
Department of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation, University of Dar es Salaam,
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Insects are the most diverse group of organisms, meaning that the numbers of species of insects are more than any other group. They approximate 80 percent of the world's species. The number of insect species is believed to be between six and ten million and there are about 1.2 million species to be recorded by science. The number of species that scientists think are left to be discovered is around 8.7 million. These great numbers of insect species and individuals were created by a number of factors including their long geological history, the capability of flight, their small size that allows survival in many various habitats, their ability to store sperm for delayed fertilization, and their general adaptive abilities to the environment. Insects have remarkable fertility and reproductive abilities, which have usually led to the vast numbers of individuals in nature. For example, the East African termite queens have been recorded to lay an egg every two seconds, amounting to 43,000 eggs each day. The big number of descendants of one pair of this insect would occupy different niches with different environments with different challenges subject to adaptation or evolution. The existing knowledge gap on insects means an endless task of entomologists to sort and classify these unique animals for updating their taxonomic status. A special issue of the American Journal of Entomology will therefore help to publish articles with a special focus on advances in emerging information on taxonomy and evolution of insects for their updated classification.