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About insects

Insects are the most diverse group of animals on earth.
About 1 million insect species have been described but it is estimated that there are between 5 and 10 million species still waiting to be discovered. Insects are also the most abundant type of animal on earth - there may be as many as 1.4 billion insects for every person alive today.

Irish insects

More than half of all Irish animals are insects.
About 11,500 different insect species have been discovered in Ireland, and it is estimated that the true number of Irish insect species is between 12,000 and 16,000. Species new to Ireland are discovered every year. Some are new arrivals and others may have been overlooked before.  

The Collection

The entomology collection contains over one million insect specimens gathered over the past 230 years. 
It includes examples of insects from all over the world, and is key to understanding the evolutionary relationships among species, where certain species live, and the ways in which species distributions have changed over time. Species new to science have been discovered from the NMI entomology collection. Species new to Ireland are often rediscovered among the collection as well.

We also hold an extensive entomological reference library with thousands of specialist book titles and scientific journals. 

The entomology collections and research services are available to any interested person (students, researchers, artists etc.) by prior appointment with the relevant staff member.

Online Resources

Publications on Irish insects

A comprehensive bibliography of Irish insects was published by the Irish Biogeographical Society in 2023 and can be accessed online by clickling here

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