Polish cochineal

Polish cochineal (Porphyrophora polonica), also known as Polish carmine scales, is a scale insect formerly used to produce a crimson dye of the same name, colloquially known as "Saint John's blood". The larvae of P. polonica are sessile parasites living on the roots of various herbs—especially those of the perennial knawel—growing on the sandy soils of Central Europe and other parts of Eurasia. Before the development of aniline, alizarin, and other synthetic dyes, the insect was of great economic importance, although its use was in decline after the introduction of Mexican cochineal to Europe in the 16th century.

Polish cochineal
Life cycle of the Polish cochineal in Breyne's "Historia naturalis Cocci Radicum..." (1731)
Life cycle of the Polish cochineal in Breyne's Historia naturalis Cocci Radicum... (1731)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
Family: Margarodidae
Genus: Porphyrophora
P. polonica
Binomial name
Porphyrophora polonica
Porphyrophora polonica distribution
Area where the Polish cochineal was found in commercial quantities[1]
Synonyms [2]
  • Coccus polonicus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Coccus radicum Beckmann, 1790
  • Coccionella polonica Hahnemann, 1793
  • Porphyrophora frischii Brandt, 1835
  • Porphyrophora fritchii Signoret, 1869
  • Margarodes polonicus Cockerell, 1902


Life cycle

Adult Polish cochineal
Adult Polish cochineal, male (left) and female; from Wolfe (1766)[3]

In mid-July, the female Polish cochineal lays approximately 600-700 eggs, encased with a white waxy ootheca, in the ground. When the larvae hatch in late August or early September, they do not leave the egg case but remain inside until the end of winter. In late March or early April, the larvae emerge from the ground to feed for a short time on the low-growing leaves of the host plant before returning underground to feed on the plant's roots. At this point, the larvae undergo ecdysis, shedding their exoskeletons together with their legs and antennae, and they encyst by forming outer protective coatings (cysts) within the root tissues.[4]

The cysts are small dark red or violet bubbles clustered on the host plant's roots. Female cysts are 3–4 millimetres (0.12–0.16 in) in diameter. Males are half the size of their female counterparts and fewer in number, with only one male per 500 females. The cysts undergo ecdysis a number of times. When the male larva reaches the third-instar developmental stage, it forms a delicate white cocoon and transforms into a pupa in early June. In late June or early July, females, which are neotenous and retain their larval form, re-emerge from the ground and slowly climb to the top of the host plant, where they wait until winged adult males, with characteristic plumes at the end of their abdomens, leave the cocoons and join them a few days later. Male imagines (adult insects) do not feed and die shortly after mating, while their female counterparts return underground to lay eggs. After oviposition, the female insects shrink and die.[4]

Host plants and geographic distribution

The Polish cochineal lives on herbaceous plants growing in sandy and arid, infertile soils. Its primary host plant is the perennial knawel (Scleranthus perennis), but it has also been known to feed on plants of 20 other genera, including mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella), bladder campion (Silene inflata), velvet bent (Agrostis canina), Caragana,[4] smooth rupturewort (Herniaria glabra), strawberry (Fragaria), and cinquefoil (Potentilla).[3]

The insect was once commonly found throughout the Palearctic[4] and was recognised across Eurasia, from France and England[3] to China, but it was mainly in Central Europe where it was common enough to make its industrial use economically viable. Excessive economic exploitation as well as the shrinking and degradation of its habitat have made the Polish cochineal a rare species. In 1994, it was included in the Ukrainian Red Book of endangered species.[5] In Poland, where it was still common in the 1960s, there is insufficient data to determine its conservation status, and no protective measures are in place.[4]


Ancient Slavs developed a method of obtaining red dye from the larvae of the Polish cochineal. Despite the labor-intensive process of harvesting the cochineal and a relatively modest yield, the dye continued to be a highly sought-after commodity and a popular alternative to kermes throughout the Middle Ages until it was superseded by Mexican cochineal in the 16th century.

Dye production

Scleranthus perennis cropped
Perennial knawel, the chief host plant of the Polish cochineal

Similar to some other red dyes obtained from scale insects, the red coloring is derived from carminic acid with traces of kermesic acid. The Polish cochineal carminic acid content is approximately 0.6% of the insect's dried body weight.[6] The insects were harvested shortly before the female larvae reached maturity, i.e. in late June, usually around Saint John the Baptist's day (June 24), hence the dye's folk name, Saint John's blood. The harvesting process involved uprooting the host plant and picking the female larvae, averaging approximately ten insects from each plant.[7] In Poland, including present-day Ukraine, and elsewhere in Europe, plantations were operated in order to deal with the high toll on the host plants.[1] The larvae were killed with boiling water or vinegar and dried in the sun or in an oven, ground, and dissolved in sourdough or in light rye beer called kvass[8] in order to remove fat. The extract could then be used for dyeing silk, wool, cotton, or linen.[8] The dyeing process requires roughly 3-4 oz of dye per pound (180-250 g per kilogram) of silk[7] and one pound of dye to color almost 20 pounds (50 g per kilogram) of wool.[8]


Stefan Czarniecki by Brodero Matthiesen
Polish military commander, Stefan Czarniecki (1599–1665), in a crimson costume typical of Polish magnates

Polish cochineal was widely traded in Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In the 15th and 16th centuries, along with grain, timber, and salt, it was one of Poland's chief exports, mainly to southern Germany and northern Italy as well as to France, England, the Ottoman Empire, and Armenia.[7] In Poland, the cochineal trade was mostly monopolized by Jewish merchants,[7] who bought the dye from peasants in Red Ruthenia and other regions of Poland and Lithuania. The merchants shipped the dye to major Polish cities such as Kraków, Gdańsk (Danzig), and Poznań. From there, the merchandise was exported to wholesalers in Breslau (Wrocław), Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Augsburg, Venice,[7] and other destinations. The Polish cochineal trade was a lucrative business for the intermediaries; according to Marcin of Urzędów (1595), one pound of Polish cochineal cost between four and five Venetian pounds. In terms of quantities, the trade reached its peak in the 1530s. In 1534, 1963 stones (about 30 metric tons) of the dye were sold in Poznań alone.[7]

The advent of cheaper Mexican cochineal led to an abrupt slump in the Polish cochineal trade, and the 1540s saw a steep decline in quantities of the red dye exported from Poland. In 1547, Polish cochineal disappeared from the Poznań customs registry; a Volhynian clerk noted in 1566 that the dye no longer paid in Gdańsk. Perennial knawel plantations were replaced with cereal fields or pastures for raising cattle. Polish cochineal, which until then was mostly an export product, continued to be used locally by the peasants who collected it; it was employed not only for dyeing fabric but also as a vodka colorant, an ingredient in folk medicine, or even for decorative coloring of horses' tails.[7]

With the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, vast markets in Russia and Central Asia opened to Polish cochineal, which became an export product again—this time, to the East. In the 19th century, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, became the principal Polish cochineal trading center in Central Asia; from there the dye was shipped to Kashgar in Xinjiang, and Kabul and Herat in Afghanistan. It is possible that the Polish dye was used to manufacture some of the famous oriental rugs.[1]


Polish cochineal closeup
Female Polish cochineal; from Wolfe (1763)[8]

The earliest known scientific study of the Polish cochineal is found in the Herbarz Polski (Polish Herbal) by Marcin of Urzędów (1595), where it was described as "small red seeds" that grow under plant roots, becoming "ripe" in April and from which a little "bug" emerges in June.[7] The first scientific comments by non-Polish authors were written by Segerius (1670) and von Bernitz (1672).[1] In 1731, Johann Philipp Breyne, wrote Historia naturalis Cocci Radicum Tinctorii quod polonicum vulgo audit (translated into English during the same century), the first major treatise about the insect, including the results of his research on its physiology and life cycle.[7] In 1934, Polish biologist Antoni Jakubski wrote Czerwiec polski (Polish cochineal), a monograph taking into account both the insect's biology and historical role.


The historical importance of the Polish cochineal is still reflected in most modern Slavic languages where the words for the color red and for the month of June both derive from the Proto-Slavic *čьrvь (probably pronounced [t͡ʃĭrwĭ]), meaning "a worm" or "larva".[9] (See examples in the table below.) In the Czech language, as well as old Bulgarian, this is true for both June and July, the two months when harvest of the insect's larvae was possible. In modern Polish, czerwiec is a word for June, as well as for the Polish cochineal (czerwiec polski) and its host plant, the perennial knawel (czerwiec trwały).

English Belarusian Ukrainian Polish Czech Bulgarian
czerw červ червей
red (adj.) чырвоны
czerwony červený червен
June чэрвень
czerwiec červen червеник
July červenec чръвенъ
Polish cochineal чэрвек
czerwiec polski

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Mushak, Paul (June–July 1988). "The Use of Insect Dyes in Oriental Rugs and Textiles: Some Unresolved Issues". Oriental Rug Review. Ron O'Callaghan. VIII (5). Archived from the original on 2013-07-01.
  2. ^ All synonyms from "uBio Project". The Marine Biological Laboratory. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  3. ^ a b c Wolfe, D.; Baker, H. (1766). "A farther account of the Polish cochineal". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 56: 184–186. doi:10.1098/rstl.1766.0020. JSTOR 105492.
  4. ^ a b c d e Łagowska Bożena; Golan Katarzyna; Stepaniuk Krzysztof (2006). "Występowanie czerwca polskiego – Porphyrophora polonica (L.) (Hemiptera: Margarodidae) w Polsce oraz uwagi o jego cyklu życiowym" (PDF). Wiadomości Entomologiczne (in Polish). Polskie Towarzystwo Entomologiczne. 25 (1): 5–14. Summary and image captions in English.
  5. ^ Червона книга України (in Ukrainian). 1994. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
  6. ^ Handbook of Natural Colorants, year 2009, on page 7, section headed "anthraquinone reds".
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mączak, Antoni (June 2005). "Gdy czewiec polski barwił Europę". Mówią wieki (in Polish). Dom Wydawniczy BELLONA. 5 (6). Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  8. ^ a b c d D. Wolfe (1764). "An account of the Polish cochineal". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 54: 91–98. doi:10.1098/rstl.1764.0017. JSTOR 105531.
  9. ^ English – Proto-Slavic glossary at "Multizaurus". Full Moon Academy. Retrieved 2007-01-26.

Further reading

  • Breyne (Breynius), Johann Philipp (1731). Historia naturalis Cocci Radicum Tinctorii quod polonicum vulgo audit (in Latin). Gdańsk.
  • Jakubski, Antoni Władysław (1934). Czerwiec polski (Porphyrophora polonica (L.). Studium historyczne ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem roli czerwca w historii kultury (in Polish). Warsaw: Wyd. Kasy im. Mianowskiego – Instytutu Popierania Nauki. p. 502.

External links

Antoni Jakubski

Antoni Władysław Jakubski (Polish pronunciation: [anˈtɔɲi vwaˈdɨswav jaˈkupski]; 1885–1962) was a Polish zoologist and explorer.

Jakubski was born in Lemberg (Lwów), Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Lviv, Ukraine) on 28 March 1885. He studied zoology from Prof. Józef Nusbaum-Hilarowicz at the Lwów University where he received a habilitation in 1917. In 1909-1910, he traveled to East Africa, becoming, on 13 March 1910, the first Pole to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He crossed Tanganyika on foot, traveling from the Indian Ocean to the lakes Nyasa and Rukwa in order to study their fauna.

During the First World War, Jakubski fought in the Polish Legions. For his military service, he was awarded with a fifth class Virtuti Militari order and a Cross of the Valiant. From 1919 to 1939, he worked at the Poznań University. In 1923, he set up the Maritime Fishing Laboratory at Hel on the Baltic Sea. After the Second World War, during which he was an inmate of Nazi concentration camps, Jakubski settled in the United Kingdom where he was employed in the British Museum. He died in London on 20 May 1962.

Jakubski's area of research comprised faunistics, zoogeography, comparative anatomy and history of zoology. His works include:

W krainach słońca ["In the lands of the sun"], 1914 – an account of his African journey

Czerwiec polski ["Polish cochineal"], 1934 – a monograph on the Polish cochineal

Bibliografia fauny polskiej do roku 1880 ["Bibliography of Polish fauna until 1880"] (with M. Dyrdowska), 1928

Armenian cochineal

The Armenian cochineal (Porphyrophora hamelii (Brandt)), also known as the Ararat cochineal or Ararat scale, is a scale insect indigenous to the Ararat plain and Aras (Araks) River valley in the Armenian Highlands. It was formerly used to produce an eponymous crimson carmine dyestuff known in Armenia as vordan karmir (Armenian: որդան կարմիր, literally "worm's red") and historically in Persia as kirmiz. The species is critically endangered within Armenia.The Armenian cochineal scale insect, Porphyrophora hamelii, is in a different taxonomic family from the cochineal found in the Americas. Both insects produce red dyestuffs that are also commonly called cochineal.

Badding Rug

The Badding Rug is a Victorian cross-stitch needlepoint made in 1950 entirely by hand by Carolyn Badding of San Leandro, California. Measuring 12 feet by 15 feet, on a Smyrna canvas backing of seven strips assembled to be one piece before any stitching began, it features approximately 1,260,000 stitches in French wool. Research done prior to its completion revealed no record of any needlepoint rug of the proportions of the Badding Rug completed by any American citizen. This rug was credited in numerous news articles to be a masterpiece in needlepoint. The Badding Rug was compared to one owned by Queen Mary that was fashioned of six completed strips sewn together.


Carmine ( or ), also called cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake or carmine lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470, or E120, is a pigment of a bright-red color obtained from the aluminium salt of carminic acid; it is also a general term for a particularly deep-red color. The pigment is produced from some scale insects such as the cochineal scale and certain Porphyrophora species (Armenian cochineal and Polish cochineal). Carmine is used in the manufacture of artificial flowers, paints, crimson ink, rouge and other cosmetics, and some medications. It is routinely added to food products such as yogurt, candy and certain brands of juice, the most notable ones being those of the ruby-red variety.

Carminic acid

Carminic acid (C22H20O13) is a red glucosidal hydroxyanthrapurin that occurs naturally in some scale insects, such as the cochineal, Armenian cochineal, and Polish cochineal. The insects produce the acid as a deterrent to predators. An aluminum salt of carminic acid is the coloring agent in carmine. Synonyms are C.I. 75470 and C.I. Natural Red 4.

The chemical structure of carminic acid consists of a core anthraquinone structure linked to a glucose sugar unit. Carminic acid was first synthesized in the laboratory by organic chemists in 1991.It was previously thought that it contains α-D-glucopyranosyl residue, which was later redetermined to be the β-D-glucopyranosyl anomer.


The cochineal ( KOTCH-ih-NEEL, KOTCH-ih-neel; Dactylopius coccus) is a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the natural dye carmine is derived. A primarily sessile parasite native to tropical and subtropical South America through North America (Mexico and the Southwest United States), this insect lives on cacti in the genus Opuntia, feeding on plant moisture and nutrients. The insects are found on the pads of prickly pear cacti, collected by brushing them off the plants, and dried.

The insect produces carminic acid that deters predation by other insects. Carminic acid, typically 17-24% of dried insects' weight, can be extracted from the body and eggs, then mixed with aluminium or calcium salts to make carmine dye, also known as cochineal. Today, carmine is primarily used as a colorant in food and in lipstick (E120 or Natural Red 4).

The carmine dye was used in North America in the 15th century for coloring fabrics and became an important export good during the colonial period. After synthetic pigments and dyes such as alizarin were invented in the late 19th century, natural-dye production gradually diminished. Health fears over artificial food additives, however, have renewed the popularity of cochineal dyes, and the increased demand has made cultivation of the insect profitable again, with Peru being the largest exporter. Some towns in the Mexican state of Oaxaca are still working in handmade textiles using this cochineal.Other species in the genus Dactylopius can be used to produce "cochineal extract", and are extremely difficult to distinguish from D. coccus, even for expert taxonomists; that scientific term from the binary nomenclature, and also the vernacular "cochineal insect", may be used (whether intentionally or casually, and whether or not with misleading effect) to refer to other biological species. (The primary biological distinctions between species are minor differences in host plant preferences, along with very different geographic distributions.)


Crimson is a strong, red color, inclining to purple. It originally meant the color of the kermes dye produced from a scale insect, Kermes vermilio, but the name is now sometimes also used as a generic term for slightly bluish-red colors that are between red and rose.

Glossary of dyeing terms

This glossary contains terms specific to dyeing. For terms used in the creation or manufacturing of textiles, including spinning, knitting, weaving, and individual fabrics and finishing processes, see Glossary of textile manufacturing. For terms used in sewing and tailoring, see Glossary of sewing terms.Dyeing is the craft of imparting colors to textiles in loose fiber, yarn, cloth or garment form by treatment with a dye. Archaeologists have found evidence of textile dyeing with natural dyes dating back to the Neolithic period. In China, dyeing with plants, barks and insects has been traced back more than 5,000 years. Natural insect dyes such as Tyrian purple and kermes and plant-based dyes such as woad, indigo and madder were important elements of the economies of Asia and Europe until the discovery of man-made synthetic dyes in the mid-19th century. Synthetic dyes quickly superseded natural dyes for the large-scale commercial textile production enabled by the industrial revolution, but natural dyes remained in use by traditional cultures around the world.

Hemiptera in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae

In the 10th edition of Systema Naturae, Carl Linnaeus classified the arthropods, including insects, arachnids and crustaceans, among his class "Insecta". True bugs and thrips were brought together under the name Hemiptera.

Johann Philipp Breyne

Johann Philipp Breyne FRS (9 August 1680, Danzig (Gdańsk), Royal Prussia (a fief of the Crown of Poland) – 12 December 1764, Danzig, Royal Prussia), son of Jacob Breyne (1637–97), was a Polish botanist, palaeontologist, zoologist and entomologist. He is best known for his work on the Polish cochineal (Porphyrophora polonica), an insect formerly used in production of red dye. Proposed by Hans Sloane, he was elected, on 21 April 1703, a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was also a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (after 1715) and the Societas Litteraria (after 1720)


The Margarodidae (illegitimately as Margodidae) or ground pearls (cottony cushion scales, giant coccids, giant scale insects) are a family of scale insects within the superfamily Coccoidea. Members of the family include the Polish cochineal and Armenian cochineal (genus Porphyrophora) and the original ground pearl genus, Margarodes. Beginning in 1880, a number of distinct subfamilies were recognized, with the giant coccis (the Monophlebidae) being the first. Although Maskell proposed a new family, many continued to regard the monophlebids as a mere subfamily for many years, and the Margarodidae classification continued to be polyphyletic through the 20th Century. Since then, taking the advice of Koteja several subfamilies and tribes have been elevated into their own families such as Matsucoccidae and Xylococcidae. The pared-down family of Margarodidae (Margarodidae sensu stricto or Margarodidae s. s.) is monophyletic.

Natural dye

Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources—roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood—and other biological sources such as fungi and lichens.

Archaeologists have found evidence of textile dyeing dating back to the Neolithic period. In China, dyeing with plants, barks and insects has been traced back more than 5,000 years. The essential process of dyeing changed little over time. Typically, the dye material is put in a pot of water and then the textiles to be dyed are added to the pot, which is heated and stirred until the color is transferred. Textile fibre may be dyed before spinning ("dyed in the wool"), but most textiles are "yarn-dyed" or "piece-dyed" after weaving. Many natural dyes require the use of chemicals called mordants to bind the dye to the textile fibres; tannin from oak galls, salt, natural alum, vinegar, and ammonia from stale urine were used by early dyers. Many mordants, and some dyes themselves, produce strong odors, and large-scale dyeworks were often isolated in their own districts.

Throughout history, people have dyed their textiles using common, locally available materials, but scarce dyestuffs that produced brilliant and permanent colors such as the natural invertebrate dyes, Tyrian purple and crimson kermes, became highly prized luxury items in the ancient and medieval world. Plant-based dyes such as woad (Isatis tinctoria), indigo, saffron, and madder were raised commercially and were important trade goods in the economies of Asia and Europe. Across Asia and Africa, patterned fabrics were produced using resist dyeing techniques to control the absorption of color in piece-dyed cloth. Dyes such as cochineal and logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum) were brought to Europe by the Spanish treasure fleets, and the dyestuffs of Europe were carried by colonists to America.

The discovery of man-made synthetic dyes in the mid-19th century triggered a long decline in the large-scale market for natural dyes. Synthetic dyes, which could be produced in large quantities, quickly superseded natural dyes for the commercial textile production enabled by the industrial revolution, and unlike natural dyes, were suitable for the synthetic fibres that followed. Artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement preferred the pure shades and subtle variability of natural dyes, which mellow with age but preserve their true colors, unlike early synthetic dyes, and helped ensure that the old European techniques for dyeing and printing with natural dyestuffs were preserved for use by home and craft dyers. Natural dyeing techniques are also preserved by artisans in traditional cultures around the world.

In the early 21st century, the market for natural dyes in the fashion industry is experiencing a resurgence. Western consumers have become more concerned about the health and environmental impact of synthetic dyes in manufacturing and there is a growing demand for products that use natural dyes. The European Union, for example, has encouraged Indonesian batik cloth producers to switch to natural dyes to improve their export market in Europe.


The scale insect genus Porphyrophora is a large group in the family Margarodidae, which includes the insects Polish cochineal and Armenian cochineal formerly used in dye production.


Potentilla is a genus containing over 300 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae. They are usually called cinquefoils in English. Potentilla are generally only found throughout the northern continents of the world (holarctic), though some may even be found in montane biomes of the New Guinea Highlands. Several other cinquefoils formerly included here are now separated in distinct genera - notably the popular garden shrub P. fruticosa, now Dasiphora fruticosa.

Some species are called tormentils, though this is often used specifically for common tormentil (P. erecta). Others are referred to as barren strawberries, which may also refer to P. sterilis in particular, or to the closely related but not congeneric Waldsteinia fragarioides.

Scale insect

The scale insects are small insects of the order Hemiptera, suborder Sternorrhyncha. They comprise the superfamily Coccoidea, previously placed in the now obsolete group called "Homoptera". There are about 8,000 described species of scale insects.

Scandinavian rugs

Scandinavia has a long and proud tradition of rug-making on par with many of the regions of the world that are perhaps more immediately associated with the craft—regions such as China and Persia. Rugs have been handmade by craftspeople in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden for centuries, and have often played important cultural roles in each of these countries. Contemporary Scandinavian rugs—most especially Swedish rugs—are among the most sought after rugs in the world today, largely due to the contributions of designers like Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom. The story of Scandinavian rugs is a vital chapter in the cultural study of Scandinavia, as it reveals a great deal about the aesthetic and social conventions of that region.

Scleranthus perennis

Scleranthus perennis, the perennial knawel, is a perennial herbaceous plant of the carnation family. It grows on sandy, dry, acidic soils. It can grow up to 15 cm high and has white flowers of 2–5 mm. The plant used to be economically significant as the major host plant of the Polish cochineal.

Swedish carpets and rugs

Carpets and rugs have been handmade knotted wool in Sweden for centuries, taking on many different forms and functions over the course of time. Rugs woven in the traditional Oriental manner, especially in the Ottoman Empire and points east, were originally brought to Sweden over trade routes as early as the early Middle Ages. In the centuries that followed, Swedish rug-makers often infused their works with themes and motifs traditionally found in Oriental rugs. Eventually, Swedish rug-makers would begin to use Oriental rug-making techniques, but themes and motifs more consistent with the artistic and cultural heritage of Sweden. By the early modern periods, rugs had long been an important avenue of art – especially folk art – in Swedish culture. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the craft was seen as being an important artistic and cultural practice throughout Sweden, and designers began to make rugs that had a broad international appeal. Swedish rugs from the mid-twentieth century remain among the most desirable and sought after in the rug world.

Timeline of entomology since 1900

1900Walter Reed, a United States Army major, was appointed president of a board "to study infectious diseases in Cuba paying particular attention to yellow fever." He concurred with Carlos Finlay in identifying mosquitoes as the agent.

Ignacio Bolívar y Urrutia publishes Catálogo sinóptico de los ortópteros de la fauna ibérica.

Kálmán Kertész, Mario Bezzi, Paul Stein (entomologist) and Theodor Becker published the first part of a Palaearctic Catalogue of Diptera Katalog der Paläarktischen dipteren in Budapest.1901William Francis de Vismes Kane A catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Ireland-the third (and first comprehensive) catalogue of the Irish macrolepidoptera.

Augustus Daniel Imms General textbook of Entomology published. 10th revised edition (1977) still one of the most widely used of all insect texts.

Thomas Hunt Morgan is the first to conduct genetic research with the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In the Fly Room at Columbia University.1902Ronald Ross gained Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery that malaria is carried by mosquitoes. The awarding committee made special mention of the work of Giovanni Battista Grassi on the life history of the Plasmodium parasite.

Charles W. Woodworth A List of the Insects of California published.

Philogene Auguste Galilee Wytsman started Genera Insectorum, a multi-authored series that consisted of 219 issues, the last occurring in 1970.

Otto SchmiedeknechtOpuscula Ichneumonologica. Blankenburg.

William Morton Wheeler appointed curator of invertebrate zoology in the American Museum of Natural History, New York1905Adolfo Lutz Beitraege zur Kenntniss der brasilianischen Tabaniden. Rev. Soc. Sci. São Paulo 1: 19-32, published

Raphaël Blanchard Les moustiques. Histoire naturelle et médicale Paris, F.R. de Rudeval, published.

Gabriel Höfner Die Schmetterlinge Kärntens (1905-1915)1906Adalbert Seitz, Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde commenced. This vast work on Lepidoptera was published in German, English and French. It contained colour plates of all important species.1907William Lundbeck Diptera Danica. Genera and species of flies Hitherto found in Denmark commenced.

Hamilton Herbert Druce On Neotropical Lycaenidae, with Descriptions of New Species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London.

Henry Christopher McCook Nature's Craftsmen: Popular Studies of Ants and Other Insects.

Lajos Abafi Magyarország lepkéi (butterflies of Hungary) 19071908Edmund Reitter Fauna Germanica - Die Käfer des Deutschen Reiches commenced. This five volume masterwork remains in use today, almost 100 years from its inception.

Leonello Picco Contributo allo studio della fauna entomologica Italiano. Elenco sistematico degli Emitteri finora raccolti nella Provincia di Roma.

Arnold Spuler Die Schmetterlinge Europas (The Lepidoptera of Europe) was for decades a standard in the study of lepidoptera.1909George Henry Verrall Stratiomyidae and succeeding families of the Diptera Brachycera of Great Britain - British flies published.

Carlos Chagas observed the peculiar infestation of rural houses in Brazil with Triatoma, a "kissing" bug, later demonstrating that it was the vector of Trypanosoma cruzi, and he was able to prove experimentally that it could be transmitted to marmoset monkeys that were bitten by the infected bug. His description of the new disease was to become a classic in medicine and brought him domestic and international distinction.

Charles Nicolle reasoned that it was most likely lice that were the vector for epidemic typhus. He tested his theory by infecting a chimpanzee with typhus, retrieving the lice from it, and placing it on a healthy chimpanzee. Within 10 days the second chimpanzee had typhus as well.

Antonio Berlese Volume I of Gli insetti loro organizzazione, sviluppo, abitudini e rapporti con l'uomo (Volume 2 1925).

Arnold Pagenstecher Die geographische Verbreitung der Schmetterlingepublished in Jena.

Foundation of Journal of Entomology by Charles Fuller Baker, one of the first revues of economic entomology.

Murinus Cornelius Piepers, Pieter Cornelius Tobias Snellen and Hans Fruhstorfer. The Rhopalocera of Java commenced. Completed 1918.1910Gilbert John Arrow published the first volume of The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Lamellicornia 1. Cetoniinae and Dynastinae. Arrow wrote five volumes of this classic work.

Hans Ferdinand Emil Julius Stichel Lepidoptera Rhopalocera. Fam. Riodinidae.published in J. Wytsman Genera Insectorum 112A completed 1911).

Hans Fruhstorfer published Family Pieridae in Adalbert Seitz's Macrolepidoptera of the World1912Per Olof Christopher Aurivillius wrote Part 39 of Catalogus Coleopterorum Cerambycidae: Cerambycinae (1912). Aurivillius worked on world insects.1913

Charles Paul Alexander A synopsis of part of the Neotropical Crane-flies of the subfamily Limnobinae (Tipulidae).

Erwin Lindner joined the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart.

Otto Kröber Therevidae.Genera.Ins published.

Karl Eckstein Die Schmetterlinge Deutschlands mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Biologie commenced (finished 1933).

G.D. Hale Carpenter joined the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and took the Doctor of Medicine examination in 1913 with a dissertation on the tsetse fly (Glossina palpalis) and sleeping sickness.1914Friedrich Georg Hendel Die Arten der Platystominen. Abh. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 8 (1): 1-409, 4 pls. published

Filippo Silvestri Contribuzione alla conoscenza dei Termitidi e Termitofili dell'Africa occidentale. Bollettino del Laboratorio di Zoologia General e Agraria, Portici.1915Nathan Banks A Treatise on the Acarina, Or Mites the first comprehensive English handbook on mites.

Reginald Punnett publishes Mimicry in Butterflies.1916The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, was first discovered in the United States in Riverton, New Jersey during mid-August 1916.1920Alfred Kinsey became Professor of Entomology at Indiana University Bloomington.

Ernst Jünger publishes In Stahlgewittern, The Storm of Steel.

Enrico Adelelmo Brunetti The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Diptera 1. Brachycera published.

Charles Thomas Brues Insects and Human Welfare published.

G.D. Hale Carpenter published: A Naturalist on Lake Victoria, with an Account of Sleeping Sickness and the Tse-tse Fly; 1920. T.F. Unwin Ltd, London; Biodiversity Archive1921Günther Enderlein Über die phyletisch älteren Stratiomyiidensubfamilien (Xylophaginae, Chiromyzinae, Solvinae, Beridinae und Coenomyiinae). Mitt. Zool. Mus. Berl. 10: 150-214 published.1923Auguste-Henri Forel publishes a myrmecological 5-volume magnum opus, Le Monde Social des Forimis1924

Frederick William Frohawk's Natural History of British Butterflies published.1925Frank M. Carpenter begins work on the Elmo Permian fossil fauna.

Josef Fahringer Opuscula braconolocica (4 parts, finished 1937) begun.1927Ronald A. Senior-White and Robert Knowles (entomologist) Malaria: Its Investigation and Control, with Special Reference to Indian Conditions. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co published.

José María Hugo de la Fuente Morales Tablas analíticas para la clasificación de los coleópteros de la Península Ibérica. Barcelona Imprenta Altés, published.

Zeno Payne Metcalf commenced (as overall editor and author of the Homoptera sections) General Catalogue of the Hemiptera. Completed 1971.1928Jan Noskiewicz with G. Poluszynski Embryologische Untersuchungen an Strepsipteren. I. Teil: Embryogenesis der Gattung Stylops Kirby. Akad. Umiejetnosci..

Leopold III of Belgium a keen amateur entomologist collects in the Dutch East Indies(1929-1929)

Guido Grandi founded the Institute of Entomology at the University of Bologna (l'Istituto di Entomologia dell'Università di Bologna).

World's oldest known insect, Rhyniognatha hirsti named by Robert John Tillyard.

Alexander Kirilow Drenowski The Lepidoptera fauna on the high mountains of Bulgaria Sbornik bulg. Akad. Nauk. 23: 1-120, 1 map, published.1930Camillo Acqua Il bombice del Gelso:Nello stato normale e patologico nella tecnica dell'allevamento e della riproduzione. (Industria della preparazione del seme Bachi)-Enc. tela. Casa Ed. di Giuseppe Cesari,published. This was an important contribution to the literature on sericulture.1931Georg Hermann Alexander Ochs publishes Über die Gyriniden-Ausbeute der Deutschen Limnologischen Sunda-Expedition mit einer Übersicht über die Gyriniden-Fauna Javas und Larvenbeschreibungen.

Shonen Matsumura 6,000 illustrated Insects of Japan-Empire.1932A Practical Handbook of British Beetles by Norman H. Joy published by Witherby.

Alfred Balachowsky Étude biologique des coccides du bassin occidental de la Méditerranée published in Paris by Lechevalier and Fils.1934René Malaise invents the Malaise trap.

Vincent Brian Wigglesworth, the "Father" of Insect Physiology, writes the first book on insect physiology, The Principles of Insect Physiology.

Antoni Władysław Jakubski Czerwiec polski "Polish cochineal". Monograph on the Polish cochineal.1935Gerhard Schrader discovers the powerful insecticides called organophosphates

Walter Rothschild gives his insect collection, one of the world's largest collections of Lepidoptera, to the Natural History Museum.1936The Natural History Museum, London acquires the James John Joicey collection of Lepidoptera.1938Lucien Chopard La biologie des orthoptères (Paul Lechevalier, Paris).

Ângelo Moreira da Costa Lima commenced Insetos do Brasil, v. 1-11. Completed 1960.1940Vladimir Nabokov begins organizing the butterfly collection of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.

Ruggero Verity commenced Farfalle, in English Butterflies, of Italia (five volumes, 1940–1953).

René Jeannel Faune cavernicole de la France, in English The Fauna of the Caves of France, published.1941Zoltán Szilády A magyar birodalom legyeinek szinopszisa. VI. Talpaslegyek, Clythidae (Platypezidae); VIII. Lauxaniidae [Synopsis of the flies of the Hungarian empire].

Adolf Horion Faunistik der Mitteleuropäischen Käfer commenced. Completed 1974.1942Woodhouse, L. G. O. & George Morrison Reid Henry. The Butterfly Fauna of Ceylon. Government Record Office, Colombo1943André Badonnel Faune de France. Psocoptères. Paris. Paul Lechevalier 1943.

Leopold Fulmek Wirtsindex der Aleyrodiden- und Cocciden- Parasiten Entomologische Beihefte 10: 1-100.1944Enrica Calabresi commits suicide in Florence.1945Edmund Brisco Ford Butterflies published, seminal introduction to the study of butterflies and their genetics.

Cynthia Longfield The Odonata of South Angola. Arquivos do Museu Bocage, 16, Lisboa.1946Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique founded.1947Carlo Alonza became director of the Muséum de Gênes.1949Pierre-Paul Grassé ed. Traité de Zoologie Tome IX. Insectes. Paris, 1949. 1118 p.1950Maynard Jack Ramsay becomes Port Entomologist on Staten Island.

Mahadeva Subramania Mani founded the School of Entomology at Agra, India.1951Work on sterile insect technique begun by American entomologists Raymond Bushland and Edward Knipling. For their achievement, they jointly received the 1992 World Food Prize.

Sakae Tamura Konchū no seitai: Raika shashinshū (昆虫の生態:ライカ写眞集) or Closeups on Insects. Tokyo: Seibundo-Shinkosha

Torkel Weis-Fogh pioneered studies of insect flight with August Krogh.1952Bernard Kettlewell begins research into the influence of industrial melanism on natural selection in moths.

Crodowaldo Pavan introduced into biology the cytogenetical study of Rhynchosciara americana.1953Willi Hennig publishes Grundzüge einer Theorie der phylogenetischen Systematikin Berlin. This was followed by Kritische Bemerkungen zum phylogenetischen System der Insekten in 1953 and Phylogenetic Systematics in 1966. In these works, Hennig founded cladistics.

Sydney Skaife African Insect Life published.

Catalogue illustré des lucanides du globe in Encyclopédie Entomologique (series A 27: 1-223) by Robert Didier and Eugene Seguy published.1954Grigorij Jakovlevitsch Bey-Bienko Insecta: Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae. Fauna SSSR.1955World programme for malaria eradication begins. Finally abandoned 1969.

Roy Albert Crowson's The natural classification of the families of Coleoptera is published. This is a classic monograph.

Alexey Diakonoff Microlepidoptera of New Guinea. Results of the third Archbold Expedition (American- Netherlands Indian Expedition 1938-1939). Part V. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse published 15 years after the expedition.1957

Clodoveo Carrión Mora dies in Ecuador. Mora was a leading figure entomology of 20th-century entomology in South America.1960Czesław Bieżanko publishes Álbum iconográfico dos Lepidópteros coletados por Biezanko. Papilionidae.

Marta Grandi Ephemeroidea. Fauna d'Italia1961

Genetic code is cracked. DNA was discovered by Friedrich Miescher in 1868, recognized as the bearer of genetic information in 1943 and revealed as a double helix by Rosalind Franklin in 1952. This leads to radical revision of the higher taxonomy of the Insecta.1964Morris Rockstein's edited series — 3 vols. — The Physiology of Insecta

Takashi Shirozu Butterflies of Japan Illustrated in Colour published in Tokyo by Hokuryu-kan.1965Nikolai Sergeevich Borchsenius Essay on the classification of the armoured scale insects (Homoptera, Coccoidea, Diaspididae). (In Russian.) Entomologicheskoe Obozrenye 44: 208-214.1966First international Red Lists of endangered species were published.1967Richard E. Blackwelder Taxonomy: a Text and Reference Book John. Wiley and Sons, New York, published.1968David Allan Young Taxonomic Study of the Cicadellinae (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) commenced. Finished 1986.1969Reg Chapman's textbook appears — The Insects-Structure and Function. American Elsevier, N.Y.

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology established.1971Maximilian Fischer Index of Entomophagous Insects. Le Francois, Paris.1973Karl von Frisch awarded Nobel Prize for pioneering work on insect behaviour.

Warwick Estevam Kerr Evolution of the population structure in bees. Genetics 79: 73–84.1976Anastase Alfieri The Coleoptera of Egypt published.1981Robert Michael Pyle published The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Knopf.1981CESA Centre for Entomological Studies Ankara An international private research centre and museum on Entomology established by Ahmet Omer Kocak in Ankara, Turkey.1984Árpád Soós and Lazlo Papp begin editing Catalogue of Palaearctic Diptera.1984 - 1992.

Justin O. Schmidt publishes first paper on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.1985Murray S. Blum Fundamentals of Insect Physiology. New York: Wiley, 1985.

Gerald A. Kerkut and L. I. Gilbert Comprehensive Insect Physiology, Biochemistry & Pharmacology.1987Stephen Taber III Breeding Super Bee. Ohio: AI Root Co, 1987.1989Forensic entomologist Mark Benecke joins the punk rock band "Die Blonden Burschen", The Blonde Boys. Many past entomologists were also musical.1990

Hölldobler B. and E. O. Wilson publish The Ants

Low cost Scanning electron microscope came into general use1991Naumann, I. D., P. B. Carne, J. F. Lawrence, E. S. Nielsen, J. P. Spradberry, R. W. Taylor, M. J. Whitten and M. J. Littlejohn, eds. The Insects of Australia: A Textbook for Students and Research Workers. Volume I and II. Second Edition. Carlton, Victoria, Melbourne University Press.1993Edward Grumbine, Ghost Bears: Exploring the Biodiversity Crisis reflects growing concerns. Insects are major indicators of environmental destruction and impending mass extinction.1994Hoy, M. Insect molecular genetics. An introduction to principles and applications.

Vladimir Nikolayevich Beklemiwev Методология систематики (Methodology of systematics).KMK Scientific Press Ltd.1995Yuri Petrovich Korshunov and Pavel Yunievich Gorbunov Butterflies of the Urals, Siberia and Far East published.1996Microcosmos released in France.1997Perry Adkisson receives World Food Prize for his work on Integrated Pest Management.1998Paul R. Ehrlich publishes Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environment Rhetoric Threatens Our Future (1998, co-authored with his wife)

Phylocode proposed following a meeting at Harvard University.1999Ebbe Schmidt Nielsen instrumental in setting up the Global Biodiversity Information Facility2000Loïc Matile Diptères d'Europe Occidentale Tomes 1 and 2 Atlas d'Entomologie.Editions N. Boubée.Paris.2001First volume of American Beetles published.Ross H. Arnett, Jr. and Michael C. Thomas.2002Alex Rasnitsyn with D.L.J. Quicke History of Insects. Kluwer Academic Publishers.2004Gilbert, L.I. (ed.). 2004. Comprehensive molecular insect science, 7 vols. Elsevier Pergamon, published in St. Louis

A paper in Science found that Culex pipiens mosquitoes existed in two populations in Europe, one which bites birds and one which bites humans. In North America 40% of Culex pipiens were found to be hybrids of the two types which bite both birds and humans, providing a vector for West Nile virus. This is thought to provide an explanation of why the West Nile disease has spread more quickly in North America than Europe.2005The Insect Biocontrol Laboratory at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in the United States develops DNA fingerprinting tools that match hard-to-identify larvae to adults that have been positively identified.

Michael S. Engel and David Grimaldi Evolution of the Insects published.

Types of dyes
Traditional textile dyes
Craft dyes
of insects
in culture


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