In most human societies, the term "insect" denotes a category that includes organisms other than those of the Linnaean class Insecta, such as bats, snakes, toads, spiders, lizards, scorpions, and slugs. Such a pattern of ethnozoological classification occurs because human beings tend to project feelings of noisomeness, danger, disgust, and disdain toward some non-insect animals (including people) by allocating them to the culturally determined category "insect". Metaphors related to this lexeme highlight the negative aspects that are normally associated with real or imaginary perceptions of "insects". This article briefly discusses this cultural pattern. It is suggested that researchers who carry out inventories of biological diversity should take into account the ethnocategory "insect" during their studies, especially if they are collaborating with members of traditional communities.
Costa-Neto, Eraldo Medeiros. "The Significance of the Category "Insect" for Folk Biological Classification Systems." Journal of Ecological Anthropology 4, no. 1 (2000): 70-75.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jea/vol4/iss1/4