Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Office of the State Entomologist

The State Entomologist serves as the authoritative spokesperson on matters related to insects or other arthropods of Illinois; provides current information on research and scientific inquiries on invertebrates, generally, and arthropods, specifically, to the public, scientists, industry, and government agencies; and is the primary point of contact for organizations that require transdisciplinary science to address questions related to the ecology, management, or control of invertebrates, generally, or arthropods, specifically, including insects.

image for Dietrich, Christopher H

State Entomologist Christopher Dietrich

State Entomologist Christopher Dietrich has more than 30 years of entomological research experience. He has conducted field work in 17 countries and published more than 175 refereed scientific papers. He is broadly interested in insect biodiversity, evolution, classification and identification and is a world authority on leafhoppers and treehoppers (Hemiptera: Membracoidea), which include many important agricultural pests, invasive species, and vectors of plant pathogens. His current research focuses on documenting insect biodiversity, resolving phylogenetic relationships among major hemipteran lineages, and developing new tools and infrastructure for identifying and tracking species. He earned his B.S. in biological sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and PhD in entomology at North Carolina State University.



The office of the Illinois State Entomologist was first established by an act of the state legislature in 1867 with a mandate “to investigate the entomology of the state” and, further, “to investigate all insects dangerous or injurious to agricultural or horticultural plants and crops, to livestock, to nursery trees and plants, to the products of the truck farm and vegetable garden, to shade trees and other ornamental vegetation of cities and villages, and to the products of the mills and the contents of warehouses, and all insects injurious or dangerous to the public health.” In 1917 the office was merged with the State Laboratory of Natural History to form the Illinois Natural History Survey, which has been in continuous existence on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ever since.

Illinois State Entomologists

  • Christopher H. Dietrich 2013–present
  • Leellen F. Solter 2005–2012
  • Robert N. Wiedenmann 2001–2005
  • Edward J. Armbrust 1993–2001
  • Michael E. Irwin 1990–1993
  • William G.Ruesink 1984–1990
  • William H. Luckmann 1965–1984
  • George C. Decker 1944–1965
  • Wesley P. Flint 1935–1943
  • Stephen A. Forbes 1882–1917
  • Cyrus Thomas 1875–1882
  • William LeBaron 1870–1875
  • Benjamin D. Walsh 1867–1869

Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

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