Entomological research encompasses the largest group of animals with more than one million described species. Research at the SMNS focuses on Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies and midges), Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), and aquatic insects (mayflies, stoneflies, dragonflies and damselflies).
A traditional domain of entomology is taxonomy, which is the classification of species, including the description of new taxa. Research projects of the department are collection-based and result in taxonomic revisions, monographs on selected groups or regions, species catalogues, faunistic checklists and field guides.
Phylogenetics, which is the reconstruction of evolutionary relationships, is a further research focus at the SMNS. Following the tradition of Willi Hennig, who initiated this research field at the museum in the 1960s, current phylogenetic studies are based on comparative morphology as well as modern molecular methods. Recent efforts include participation in the German Barcode of Life project (GBoL). The local insect fauna of Baden-Württemberg, in particular of beetles, butterflies and native bees, is comprehensively studied by members of the associated Stuttgart Entomological Society (a registered society since 1869). The German Coleopterists’ and the Stuttgart Hymenopterists’ Meetings are organized on a regular basis.