Why “Bug” of the Year

Most entomologists will correct you if you try to substitute the term “bug” when describing an insect or spider. In fact, a “bug” is technically only one type of insect (insects in the Order Hemiptera have the common name of “true bugs”. They include plant bugs, stink bugs, aphids, cicadas… a few of these are nominated for 2023 NZ Bug of the Year!).

So why did we call this “Bug” of the Year instead of “Insect” of the Year? We had two reasons. (1) We wanted to use an inclusive term so that spiders, worms, and other invertebrates could be nominated for this honorable distinction. (2) “Bug of the Year” just rolls off the tongue in a way that “Insect of the Year” or “Invertebrate of the Year” never could. We assure you – those of us on the 2023 Bug Of The Year committee spent hours discussing and arguing about this, but at the end of the day, “Insect of The Year” would have satisfied the Entomologists and excluded the Arachnologists, while “Bug of the Year” just *bugs* (pun intended) the Entomologists, satisfies the Arachnologists, and the non-invertebrate specialists just learned that “bug” is a technical term that causes debate among scientists.

Where are the worms and other “bugs” on the list of nominees?

This year, we opted to focus on insect and spider nominees, but you can nominate your favourite invertebrate for future NZ Bug of the Year campaigns!

Go to this iNaturalist.nz Project Page to see how you can nominate your favourite invertebrate for 2024! The committee will announce the official list of nominees by October 2024.

How can I learn more about the 2023 Bug of the Year Nominees?

We have created an info page for each of our nominees, that you can access on the Nominees Page. We have also created an iNaturalist.nz Project page, that includes all of the observations that have been made on each of the nominees in New Zealand. We tried to choose the most charismatic and descriptive images to show off each of our nominees, but we had a lot of great photos to choose from. Note that we only use images on our cite that are available as Creative Commons, and all images include a credit to the author.

We also encourage you to look through Wikipedia for more information on these insects. If a nominee does not have a Wikipedia page, let’s work together to change that!

I have a favourite – how can I help promote it?

We encourage you to campaign for your favourite Bug of the Year nominee. On Twitter, use #BugOfTheYear2023 and tag us @NZEntoSoc.

When can I nominate bugs for 2024 Bug of the Year?

In April 2023, we will send out the call for nominations for the 2024 #BugOfTheYear. While you’re learning about this year’s nominees, you can start thinking about which insects you would like to see on the list of nominees for next year! Follow us on Twitter @NZEntoSoc so you don’t miss the call!

How can I join the Entomological Society of New Zealand!

The Entomological Society of New Zealand was formed in 1951 to provide a common meeting ground for everyone interested in entomology in New Zealand. The Society aims to stimulate interest, encourage amateurs, and promote the profession of entomology by organising meetings, publishing information, awarding research and travel grants, and other activities.

The Entomological Society of New Zealand welcomes and respects the diversity of its members. Anyone with a professional or amateur interest in New Zealand insects and related groups is warmly invited to join and contribute to the society.

I have another question, but it’s not listed here.

You can contact us at bugoftheyear@ento.org.nz.