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Insects and other arthropods

Arthropods and us

English
Many peoples are inspired by insects. In the Americas and in Africa, the cocoons of some moths are made into rattles.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (René Limoges)

The ties that unite human beings and arthropods are innumerable, universal and go back to our earliest days on the planet. These small animals, which populate both our environment and our imagination, have even been considered divine in certain cultures! Today, many people continue to pay homage to their beauty and the wealth of their behaviour.

Interesting… and tasty… creatures!

Arthropods are valuable allies that help to maintain the delicate balance of ecosystems. However, through history, poetry, entomology and anthropology, they are much, much more!

  • They intrigue researchers who study their structures, physiological adaptations and sometimes unusual lifestyles.
  • They play a number of important roles in applied research, especially in the development of environmental protection measures and solutions to human health issues.
  • They inspire artists and craftspeople. Museums and private collections contain many objects that bear witness to the close ties between insects and major civilizations.
  • They are very nutritious and help to ensure global food security as a food of choice for many people.
  • Collectors and naturalists are passionate about them. Observing them is a hobby that can be practised without disturbing them.

Health concerns

Certain arthropods, such as mosquitoes and ticks, are vectors of disease. Others, such as bees and wasps, produce venom that can cause allergic reactions. However, the link between arthropods and human health is not limited to disease. Many arthropods are sources of medication and derivatives, such as cantharidin and honey. Extracts of venom and whole insects are part of experimental research that aims to develop pharmaceutical products to improve and save human lives.

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