10 Reasons Why Entomology Is Pokémon IRL

If you’re a fan of Pokémon, then chances are you’re obsessed with collecting every pocket monster you can. But did you know that Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri got his inspiration from insects? Here are 10 more reasons why entomology, the study of insects, is like playing Pokémon in real life:

1. 10.Pokémon and insects both go through metamorphosis

Nintendo/Pokemon, Wikipedia & butterflyencounters.com.au / Via www.pokémon.com/us/pokédex

Insects transform from immature stages into adults through a series of distinct stages known as metamorphosis. These stages usually include egg, larva, pupa and adult.

2. 9. Entomologists travel across the land, searching far and wide for new species

Nintendo/Pokemon & wwf.panda.org / Via nintendo.wikia.com

Insects occur on every continent of the world, with many locations sheltering unique species that don’t occur anywhere else. There are 17 megadiverse hotspots in the world that have 70% of the world’s biodiversity, however, they take up only 10% of the earth’s total surface. Entomologists travel to these locations to collect specimens to study, many of which are new to science.

3. 8. Both use specific collecting methods to catch the right species

CSIRO, Karen Meusemann & Nintendo/Pokemon / Via pokemon-made-me-do-it.blogspot.com.au

Different traps and lures are used depending on the species type, i.e. flying (hand net or flight intercept trap), ground (pitfall or emergence trap), chemical (pheromone trap) or water (aquatic nets) types.

Youtube / Via youtube.com

4. 7. Team Rocket weren’t the first to strap nets to aircrafts

Some savvy entomologists during 1940-1960 attached insect nets to aircraft to collect flying insects and spiders! They found that different species were collected at different altitudes.

Nintendo/Pokemon & US Department of Agriculture / Via arniekinnns.tumblr.com

6. 6. Different species come out at night

Nintendo/Pokemon / Via tumblr.com

Many species of insects and Pokémon are nocturnal. This timing can make it easier to find a tasty snack while avoiding predators. Other insects are attracted to light. Entomologists use UV light traps to catch these species when they land on the lit-up sheet.

9. 5. Pokédex for insects exist

Even scientists use catalogues or checklists to record the species they’ve collected and described. Online databases, such as the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), host specimen data like a Pokédex, including species distribution, collection dates, altitudes and even environment type.

Atlas of Living Australia / Via ala.org.au

11. 4. You can send specimens to professors or museums for curation

Nintendo/Pokemon & Twitter: @BrytheFlyGuy / Via i.ytimg.com

Specimens are typically sent to a museum insect collection where they are preserved, labelled, identified and stored. This process is known as curation and is essential for documenting and preserving the world’s biodiversity.

12. 3. Human development can lead to habitat loss and potential extinction

PokeImagen & Nintendo/Pokemon / Via Twitter: @PokeImagen

Urbanisation, climate change and introduction of invasive species are all leading contributors to habitat destruction and species loss. By protecting our environment we can help to conserve our biodiversity so it can be enjoyed by future generations.

13. 2. There are many new and exciting species waiting to be discovered

If you thought 700 species of Pokémon was a handful, there are over 1 million species of insect known in the world! We predict that there are another 30 million insect species waiting to be described!

14. 1. We need your help to catch (and describe) ‘em all!

@bry_the_fly_guy / Via Instagram: @bry_the_fly_guy

Scientists estimate that we’ve described less than 25% of life on earth, with many species becoming extinct before we can officially name them. Imagine if we came together to name all the species of insect on earth! Who knows what interesting things we could discover!

15. It’s your turn to be the very best entomologist that no one ever was!

If you’re interested in entomology, ask your science teacher if you can start an insect collection, enrol in an entomology class at university, or volunteer at your local museum!

Dr Bryan Lessard, aka Bry the Fly Guy, is a postdoctoral fellow at the CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection in Canberra, Australia. His main research interest is flies (Diptera) and science outreach.

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