Volume 35 Issue s1 (January 2010) — Insect Evolution Below the Species Level: Ecological Specialisation and the Origin of Species. Articles derived from the Royal Entomological Society (RES) Darwin-Wallace Celebratory meeting, 22 April 2009
Although several people had previously seriously considered the possibility of evolution as the driving force in the origin of species, including Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829), Robert Chambers (1802–1871), and Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802), it was Erasmus’s grandson, Charles Robert Darwin (1809–1882), along with Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913), who independently put forward the theory of evolution by natural selection in 1858. Darwin subsequently wrote his seminal work, On the Origin of Species the following year, whilst Wallace became a devout follower of Darwin, even publishing a book entitled Darwinism in 1889.
Darwin and Wallace are, of course, famous for other important contributions to biological thought, including sexual selection and zoogeography, respectively. The year 2009 is the bicentenary of the birth of Darwin in Shrewsbury, England, in 1809 and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin in 1859 and the 120th anniversary of the publication of Wallace’s book Darwinism in 1889. The present collection of papers derives from a RES meeting on insect evolution below the species level, held at Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, UK, on 22 April 2009. It is thus a celebration of the works of these two great biologists, concentrating on the first (and last) stages of evolution… that is to say, at the ecological level. We as a society are fortunate to have attracted an international array of ecological and evolutionary entomologists as speakers. The papers derived from the meeting are published in this special issue of Ecological Entomology, one of the seven major entomology journals currently published by the RES.