Photostory #451: Studying Canada's Teeming Trillions

John Ough , Ted Grant , John Martin
National Film Board of Canada
Release Date
September 12, 1967
CMCP fonds
Credit Line
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Main Text
Pursuing their extremely far-ranging studies in the laboratory and in the field, the taxonomists of the Canada Department of Agriculture are busy on the complex business of classifying the nation's insect population. These members of the Entomology Research Institute have amassed over the years a collection of 7,000,000 insects representing about 75,000 different species. This makes the Canadian National Collection of Insects (considered to be the most actively used in the world) also one of the largest. The study of insects, remote as it may seem from the daily life of a modern nation, is of vital importance. Without the insect layer of the inviolable pyramid of life, the structure of nature would collapse. The debris of vegetable and animal life would lie unconverted to useable organic matter, the interpollination of plants would be interrupted and the food chains of the animal kingdoms would grind to a halt. For a country like Canada with strong agricultural interests, the detailed study of insects is of prime economic value besides being of intense scientific interest. Such interest is worldwide and the constantly growing Canadian National Collection, added to annually by forays in the field, is like an international library of insects. Scientific visitors from abroad constantly visit the collection to further their studies and certain portions of the highly-organized accumulation are regularly loaned to other authorities and institutes. Canada's entomological taxonomists are probing deep into a teeming facet of nature which greatly affects earthly life in general and all mankind in particular.