The Society was founded in 1833 as the Entomological Society of London, the successor to a number of short-lived societies dating back to 1745.
On the foundation of the Entomological Society in 1833 William Kirby was made Honorary Life President and Stylops melittae (then known as Stylops kirbyi) was adopted as the society’s symbol. The seal was first used for a letter by the society to William Kirby, which was signed by the President and 30 members in 1836 to thank him for presenting the society with a cabinet containing his entire insect collection. William Kirby was responsible for classifying the Strepsiptera as a separate order.
The society’s badge has remained almost unchanged since its first use until the RES rebranded in 2022.
The foundation of the society began with a meeting of “gentlemen and friends of entomological science“, held on 3 May 1833 in the British Museum under the presidency of John George Children. Those present were the Reverend Frederick William Hope, George Robert Gray, Cardale Babington, William Yarrell, John Edward Gray, James Francis Stephens, George Thomas Rudd and Thomas Horsfield.. They decided that a society should be convened for the promotion of the science of entomology in its various branches and it should be called the Entomological Society of London. The Society started to amass a library and insect collection. Several publications were purchased by John Obadiah Westwood on behalf of the Society.
Women were allowed membership and had the same rights as the men. The first regular publication of the Society was produced in November 1834 under the title Transactions of Entomological Society of London.
The first meetings of the Society were held in the Thatched House Tavern, St. James’s Street. The Society’s activities took place in various other meeting places before the headquarters at 41 Queen’s Gate was bought in 1920, where the Society stayed until 2007 when the Mansion House at St Albans was purchased.
In 1885 a Royal Charter was granted to the Entomological Society by Queen Victoria and the privilege of adding the word “Royal” to the title was granted by King George V in 1933, the Centenary of the Society’s foundation.
Many eminent scientists of the past, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace to mention but two, have been Fellows of the Society. To this day, the Royal Entomological Society has an international Fellowship recognised for their vast scientific contribution.
Library and Archive
The Royal Entomological Society’s Library collections date back to the founding of the Society in 1833. We collect major works of reference covering all aspects of insect biology, without any geographical bias. The library holds material on all Orders of insects as well as a small section on spiders. The collection is particularly strong in the general biology and taxonomy of insects, especially for the Western Palaearctic Region. We also hold material on Natural History more generally.
The library holds around 12,000 books, covering all orders of insects, and a small section on spiders. We have sections covering Applied Entomology, Botany, Palaeography, Zoology, and Natural History, as well as biographies of notable entomologists, and literature featuring insects and entomologists. We also hold around 800 print journal titles.
The collection includes titles dating from 1609 to the present day, including a rare book collection of about 1,500 pre-1850 entomological works.
Ento – RES Annual Flagship Event
The Royal Entomological Society holds an annual meeting dedicated to insect science. Attend Ento and join the global entomological community, with chances to showcase your research, meet new contacts and build collaborations wit like-minded peers.
The conference is held in a different UK location each year, and offers an outstanding selection of speakers, topics, and other activities. It’s an ideal opportunity to network and have a great time.
In 2022, the Royal Entomological Society decided to rebrand, an effort made in line with a new strategy to update the image of the society, facilitate international engagement and focus more on our new vision to ‘enrich the world with insect science’.
Our logo has been crafted from themes of unearthing and exploring. The logo stemmed from the idea of looking at insects as though they were highlighted in a spotlight. The idea of looking at them through a magnifying glass also played a role in how we can learn about them and discover their beauty.
The spotlight theme, looking into the insect world and having them as the core focus needed to be part of the design. The heritage of the Stylops was also a key component of the logo that needed to be retained. It had been crafted to minimize its complexity to work seamlessly across all applications. The final logo is a beautiful graphic representation, using the spotlight as a core brand mark derived from the outer shape of the logo used to retain brand recognition.