There are estimated to be around 5.5 million insect species worldwide, but only about 1 million of these have been formally named. Insects support a wide range of ecosystem functions, including pollination, decomposition and pest control, as well as providing food for lots of other larger animals. Despite this, insects often have a bad press, with people not liking them or thinking they are always going to bite or sting.

One way to reduce this negative image and increase awareness of insects, especially for children, is to keep insects as pets. Many insects are extremely easy to keep, especially a range of popular stick insect species. Children can see them up-close, handle most species, and to learn more about insect camouflage, and how insects sense the world around them. So why not find out more about keeping insect as pets?

Ed Turner

Ed is Curator of Insects in the Museum of Zoology and leads the Insect Ecology Group. His research investigates habitat requirements for threatened butterfly species in the UK, and ways that tropical agricultural systems can be managed for greater diversity in Indonesia and Malaysia. He has always been fascinated by insects and has kept lots as pets.

Photo credit: Jake Snaddon

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