Entomology in Zimbabwe
Entomology – The Study of insects from the from Greek entomos meaning “that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented”, hence “insect”.
The Entomology department was established in 1911 and is one of the oldest scientific research departments in the Natural History Museum of Bulawayo and holds the largest collection of insects. The size of the collection is estimated at about 5 million insect specimens and is one of the largest collections of insects in Africa. A tiny percentage of the insect specimens are on public displays in the galleries and the rest are housed in the George Arnold Entomological laboratory.
A lot of great names in entomology have contributed to the collection. We owe the remnants of the Hymenoptera collection to Dr. George Arnold’s work (See Past Curators), a magnificent Lepidoptera and Odonata collection due to Dr. Elliot Pinhey’s lifetime effort in collecting and research. Dr. David Hancock contributed immensely to the current collection with his work on fruit flies, Tephritidae and B.L. Mitchell did extensive work on the order Isoptera and his wet collection is housed in the department.
The collection houses over 3,200 types, including 420 Holotypes, reflecting the outstanding research undertaken in this department.
Current and Future Research Areas
Today the department has two Entomologists (Ms. Dorothy Madamba HOD, and Ms Kudzai Mafuwe) and three curatorial assistants who have undertaken a monitoring program in the Matobo Hills.