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Welcome to the Department of Entomology

For more than 125 years, our faculty members, staff and students have been working to advance the field of insect biology and apply that knowledge to solve problems and improve lives.

As one of the top-ranked entomology programs in the country, our work spans the globe and impacts human lives on many levels, influencing a broad range of disciplines including human and veterinary medicine, farming, biodiversity and genomics.

Entomology News

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Nephrocytes Remove Microbiota-Derived Peptidoglycan from Systemic Circulation to Maintain Immune Homeostasis

Oct 4, 2019

Preventing aberrant immune responses against the microbiota is essential for the health of the host. Microbiota-shed pathogen-associated molecular patterns translocate from the gut lumen into systemic circulation. Here, we examined the role of hemolymph (insect blood) filtration in regulating systemic responses to microbiota-derived peptidoglycan. Drosophila deficient for the transcription factor Klf15 (Klf15NN) are viable but lack nephrocytes—cells structurally and functionally homologous to the glomerular podocytes of the kidney. We found that Klf15NN flies were more resistant to infection than wild-type (WT) counterparts but exhibited a shortened lifespan. This was associated with constitutive Toll pathway activation triggered by excess peptidoglycan circulating in Klf15NN flies. In WT flies, peptidoglycan was removed from systemic circulation by nephrocytes through endocytosis and subsequent lysosomal degradation. Thus, renal filtration of microbiota-derived peptidoglycan maintains immune homeostasis in Drosophila, a function likely conserved in mammals and potentially relevant to the chronic immune activation seen in settings of impaired blood filtration.

19th European Carabidologists’ Meeting

Sep 25, 2019

Jim Liebherr joined a contingent of North Americans at the European Carabidologists’ Meeting held 16-20 September at Fiera di Primiero in the foothills of the Dolomites. Four days of talks were interrupted by an excursion to Panaveggio Natural Park, where the group posed before the Pale di San Martino. Presentations at the meeting included carabid ecology in natural and urban landscapes, conservation of declining populations of carabid beetles, and systematics and evolution of carabids. The meeting organizer, Dr. Roberto Pizzolotto, presented an informal talk on carabid beetles and climate change, with his presentation given at the 2300 m elevation photo site marking the highest talk given at any ECM since the meeting’s inception in 1969. Other North American attendees included Terry Erwin, Smithsonian Institution; Dave Kavanaugh, California Academy of Sciences; David Maddison, Oregon State University; Kip Will, UC Berkeley; Wendy Moore, U. of Arizona, John Spence, U. of Alberta, plus their students and postdocs. The North Americans comported themselves well, and are looking forward to the next meeting in two years.

Recruitment of Adult Precursor Cells Underlies Limited Repair of the Infected Larval Midgut in Drosophila

Sep 17, 2019

The gut of adult Drosophila contains a pool of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that regenerate damaged enterocytes. However, larvae lack ISCs and thus cannot undergo this continuous epithelial renewal. Houtz et al. (pp. 412–425) find larval Drosophila circumvent this lack of stem cells through controlled differentiation of adult midgut progenitor cells to mediate partial renewal following enteric bacterial damage. Enteric infection activates cytokine expression in enterocytes (red) that triggers the premature differentiation of adult midgut precursor cells into new, replacement enterocytes (green). A concurrent delay in larval development allows the pool of progenitors to be reconstituted by cells that were not diverted for repair. Cover art by Philip Houtz.

Pollinator Network

Bees on Sunflower

Pollinators are essential for maintaining floral diversity and for producing many important agricultural crops that feed residents of New York and other areas of the world. 

Cornell University has a robust network of pollinator research and extension program related to all aspects of pollinator life: Ecology, Evolution, Biodiversity, Behavior, Pesticides, Pests, parasites, and disease, Pollinator management.  Explore the Cornell Pollinator website for information on bee research taking place at Cornell, news and upcoming events, and for a variety of extension materials related to pollinators and beekeeping.

Engaged Entomology

EOA students Mike Wolfin and Zach Cohen have been visiting local schools educating students about different insects and arthropods while Joanna Fisher has been visiting with groups like 4H, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, Master Forest Owners, EAB First Detectors trying to teach the public how to identify invasive species like emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and Asian longhorned beetle.

The Naturalist Outreach group has been visiting local classrooms and community groups to talk about the natural history, ecology, and behavior of animals and plants.  They have also created a series of videos teaching the public about an array of issues from pollination to bats to aquatic insects and more.  This group is not only teaching but trying to inspire and engage more people into science.

Insectapalooza is a one day insect fair held annually by the department bringing in families from as far as Michigan each year.  This event reaches thousands of visitors who get hands on experience learning about many different arthropods, their importance and benefits to our community.

Emprire Farm Days and the New York State Fair are two other annual events attended by the Department of Entomology where large groups of people are reached.  

Fruit Fly Trap

Ever wonder how to get rid of those pesky fruit flies in your home?

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