Documenting Names of Insects in Zambian Local Languages for Entomological Literature and for use in School Curricula and Instruction


  • Overson Shumba Copperbelt University, Zambia
  • Warren Samboko Copperbelt University
  • Edward Sakufiwa Copperbelt University, Zambia


insects, entomology, folklore, curriculum, biology education, environmental education, language


Names of insects and the indigenous value of these insects are at risk of being lost without proper documentation of this resource. The purpose of this research was to document the names of insects in Zambian local languages based on a case study of Zambia’s Southern Province. Southern Province is one of the thirteen administrative provinces in Zambia and the major language spoken in the province is Tonga. Forty colour pictures of insects commonly found in Zambia and in many countries of the world were presented to participants for identification and naming in Tonga. Participants were able to identify 39 insects from the 40 pictures presented to them. With probing, participants also came up with 16 additional local names of insects that were not among the forty pictures of insects presented to them. With this, the total number of documented local names of insects from this study came to 55. The folklore associated with some of these insects in the Tonga culture was also documented. This study is significant in the development of Zambian entomological literature and in creating awareness on the importance of preserving biological diversity, heritage, and indigenous knowledge. Inclusion of locally recognizable samples such as these insects in the curriculum and in instruction is likely to increase relevance, contextualization, and motivation for learning in biological and environmental science education. The identification and naming of insects in local languages will, most likely, serve as scaffolds when learning the insects’ scientific names.



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How to Cite

Shumba, O., Samboko, W., & Sakufiwa, E. (2015). Documenting Names of Insects in Zambian Local Languages for Entomological Literature and for use in School Curricula and Instruction. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 3(2). Retrieved from