The term could also be loosely exetended to a natural philosopher of the early-modern period with the same interests (or collecting drives).
Game and Story Use
- Only moderately useful as a PC: "that giant beetle - that's not a natural insect!" - although some ability to identify significant insects might be useful in a more rounded character.
- This Arcanist once played a character in a Victorian Era Monster Hunting campaign who was a professor of enomology whose hobby was debunking the supernatural. Naturally, the game focused more on the latter than the former, but his knowledge of beetles occasionally came to the fore.
- Depending on how magic works in your setting, this could be a cool or creepy wizard. "Summon Bullet Ant Swarm", anyone?
- More useful as an NPC either as an employer ("I'll pay good money for unusual insects - go catch some!"), an employer/companion ("I need an experienced escort for my expedition up the hunga-munga river to look for rare beetles") or as a sage ("that's the pupa of a death's head hawkmoth lodged in the victim's throat. Those are rare…").
- Wierd, mutant insects might be the first sign that something unnatural is going on, whether supernatural or merely mundane. The cockroaches, after all, get everywhere.
- Also useful in forensic science - the ability to indentify the various species of corpse fauna1, where they come from, the conditions that they prefer and know how long it takes them to progress through each stage of their life cycle can be useful in estimating how long a corpse has been dead and where it has been during that period.