General Entomology

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EEB 4250 - General Entomology

Fall 2016

Day/Time: Tuesday+Thursday Lecture 12:30-1:20 Lab 1:30 3:30
Place: Storrs campus, Torrey Life Sciences Room 313
Credits: 4
Instructor: David Wagner

Torrey Life Sciences Rm 471
860-486-2139 and 860-942-1796 (cell)
Office hours: 10 MWF and as available

TA: Kevin Keegan

Torrey Life Sciences Rm 461
Office hours: as available (email for appointment)


  • Borror, DJ and RE White, 1970. Peterson Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico.
  • Gullan, P. J. and P. S. Cranston. 2010. The Insects: An Outline of Entomology. Fourth Ed. Blackwell Science, Oxford, England.


The lectures provide a broad introduction to insect diversity, phylogeny, structure and function, behavior, ecology, and conservation. The laboratory stresses sight identification and natural history of 120 common insect families. The collection requirement connects the lecture and laboratory by linking lecture topics, and especially insect behavior and ecology, to Connecticut’s extraordinary insect fauna.

Course Procedures and Policies

Academic Integrity:
Plagiarism and cheating are violations of the student conduct code, and may be punished by failure in the course or, in severe cases, dismissal from the University. For more information, see Appendix A of the Student Conduct Code.

If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, you should contact a course instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Wilbur Cross Building, Room 201) within the first two weeks of the semester.

Syllabus and Course Materials

Item Points
Midterms (100 pts each) 200 pts
Final 175 pts
Collection 300 pts
7 lab quizzes (25 pts each), attendance (25 pts) and participation (25 pts) 225 pts
Lab practicum 80 pts
Current events (2 articles) 20 pts
Total 1000 pts

Collection Materials

Pdficon small.gif Collection Grading Rubric
Pdficon small.gif Label Template
Pdficon small.gif Collection Excel Sheet
Pdficon small.gif Ecological Labels
Pdficon small.gif Collection Check #1
Pdficon small.gifOdonate Label Template
Pdficon small.gif Collection Check #2

Other Assignments

Pdficon small.gifLive Insect Project

Date Lecture Quiz Lab Readings
August 30 Course overview Wagner Lab visit
Collections Facility
Intro to collections
Pdficon small.gifG+C Chapter 1
Pdficon small.gifB+W pgs 4-29
September 1 Importance of insects
Pdficon small.gif Importance of Insects
Introduction to insect diversity
Collecting methods
Pdficon small.gifCollecting and pinning
How to pin and spread a moth
Pdficon small.gifG+C Chapter 2
Pdficon small.gifThe Joy of Formication
Pdficon small.gifEconomic Value of Insects
Sept 6 Insect adaptations Quiz 1: Insect Collecting Fenton Trip
Sept 8 External Anatomy I
:Pdficon small.gif External Anatomy I
Insect Orders
Pdficon small.gifInsect Orders Handout
Pdficon small.gifInsect Orders Slides

Pdficon small.gifSo Great the Excitement by Alfred Russell Wallace
Pdficon small.gifBombardier - Thomas Eisner

Sept 9-11 Great Mountain Forest Trip
Sept 13 External Anatomy II
:Pdficon small.gifExternal Anatomy II
Quiz 2: Insect Orders External anatomy
:Pdficon small.gifIllustration and External Anatomy
Sept 15 External Anatomy III
:Pdficon small.gif External Anatomy III
Internal Anatomy
Pdficon small.gifInternal Anatomy
G+C Chapter 3
Pdficon small.gif Fatal Attraction by May Berenbaum
Pdficon small.gif Spider Love by Richard Contiff
Sept 20 Internal Anatomy I
:Pdficon small.gifInternal Anatomy I
Quiz 3: Insect Anatomy Aquatics Field Trip G+C Chapter 3
Sept 22 Internal Anatomy II
:Pdficon small.gifInternal Anatomy II
Geologic History
:Pdficon small.gifFossil History I
Non-Insect Hexapods, Entognatha, Apterygota, Palaeoptera
 :Pdficon small.gifNon-Hexapod Arthropods, Entognatha, Apterygota, Palaeoptera
Insect Fossil Record: G+C pp 225-236
Sound production and detection: G+C pp. 94-101
Sept 27 Special Lecture: Acoustical Behavior in Insects (Dr. Charles Henry)
:Pdficon small.gifInsect Sound and Hearing
Dictyoptera, Phasmatodea, Orthoptera
:Pdficon small.gifDictyoptera+Phasmatodea+Orthoptera
Collecting around TLS
Sept 29 MIDTERM 1 Quiz 4: Entognatha, Apterygota, Palaeoptera, and Aquatic insects Dermaptera, Plecoptera
:Pdficon small.gifDermaptera + Plecoptera
Oct 4 Geologic History II; Higher Classification of Insects
:Pdficon small.gifInsect Phylogeny
Collection check #1 Psocodea, Thysanoptera, Hemiptera I (aquatic)
:Pdficon small.gifPsocodea, Thysanoptera, Hemiptera I (aquatic)BZ_2014_dlw.compressed.pdf
G+C Ch. 6 through section 6.6 (we will discuss section 6.6 in class on Thursday)
Ch. 7 190-200 (background)
Ch. 7 200-207 (to Orthoptera)
Ch. 7 207-224 (focus on superorder treatments, scan order treatments (aspiring entomologists thoroughly read order treatments))
Oct 6 Development and Life Histories
:Pdficon small.gifGrowth and Molting
Depauperate Hemimetabola, Hemiptera II (Heteroptera)
Pdficon small.gifHemiptera II||
Oct 11 Nervous System and Sensory Organs I
Pdficon small.gifLife Cycles and Nervous System I
Hemiptera III (Aucheno- and Sternorrhyncha, Fulgoroidea)
:Pdficon small.gifHemiptera III
Bug Jeopardy I
G+C Ch. 4
Oct 13 Nervous System and Sensory Organs II
:Pdficon small.gifNervous System and Sensory Organs II
:Pdficon small.gifNeuropterida
Continue G+C Ch. 4
G+C Ch. 12
Powerline Reading
Oct 18 Dr. William Krinksy -- Forensic Entomology
:Pdficon small.gifForensic Entomology
Oct 20 Nervous System and Sensory Organs III
:Pdficon small.gifNervous System and Sensory Organs III
Aquatic Insects :Pdficon small.gif Golden Potto -- Olivia Judson
Continue G+C Ch. 12
Oct 25 Behavior I
:Pdficon small.gifBehavior I 2016
Quiz 5 Hemimetabola Coleoptera I
:Pdficon small.gifStrepsiptera+Coleoptera I
:Pdficon small.gifMidterm II Study Guide
Coleoptera II
:Pdficon small.gifColeoptera II
Nov 1 Social Insects I
:Pdficon small.gifSocial Insects I
Special Lab Topic: Ghost Moths and Other Scary Insects
Coleoptera III
:Pdficon small.gifColeoptera III
:Pdficon small.gif Nowak et al. 2010
Nov 3 Social Insects II
:Pdficon small.gifSocial Insects II
Work on Aquatics
Bug Jeopardy II
G+C Ch. 11
Pdficon small.gifLove Potions -- Tom Eisner
Nov 8 Insects and Plants I
:Pdficon small.gifInsects and Plants I
Quiz 6: Megaloptera, Neuroptera, Strepsiptera, and Coleoptera Trichoptera + Lepidoptera
:Pdficon small.gifTrichoptera and Lepidoptera
Continue G+C Ch. 11
Optional: G+C Ch. 13+14Pdficon small.gif Tiny Pollinator; Big Job
Pdficon small.gif The Ant and the Acacia Tree
Nov 10 Insects and Plants II
:Pdficon small.gifInsects and Plants II
Special Lab Topic: Plant secondary compounds & insect herbivory; greenhouse tour
Mecoptera, Siphonaptera, Diptera I
:Pdficon small.gifMecoptera+Siphonaptera+Diptera 1
G+C Ch. 15
Nov 15 Insects and Plants II (continued) Collection Check #2 Aquatics Lab
Nov 17 Medical Entomology I
:Pdficon small.gifMedical Entomology I and II
Diptera II
:Pdficon small.gifDiptera II
Nov 29 Medical Entomology II
:Pdficon small.gifMedical Entomology I and II
Diptera III
:Pdficon small.gifDiptera III
G+C Ch. 14+16
Dec 1 Insect Defenses
:Pdficon small.gifInsect Defenses
Hymenoptera I
:Pdficon small.gifHymenoptera I
:Pdficon small.gif Jerry's Bot Fly - Adrian Forsythe
:Pdficon small.gif Sex advice for a solitary bee - Olivia Judson
Dec 6 Insect Ecology and Pest Management I+II
:Pdficon small.gifInsect Ecology and Pest Management I
:Pdficon small.gifInsect Ecology and Pest Management II
Quiz 7: Amphiesmenoptera+Mecopteroidea Hymenoptera II
:Pdficon small.gifHymenoptera II
Dec 8 Insect Ecology and Pest Management III & Insect Conservation
:Pdficon small.gifInsect Ecology and Pest Management III
Insect Conservation
LAB PRACTICUM Open lab G+C Ch. 17 (especially pp 458-461)
G+C Ch. 1 (especially pp. 14-20)

Collection Tips
1) Ensure your name is clearly written on all boxes.
2) Please keep your vials in an easy-to-access container.
3) You must hand in a printed spreadsheet (found on the course website) along with your collection. Your name must be on it. The written families should be in the same order as the specimens in your boxes.
4) Don't forget about the ecological labels. Think about them carefully, this is an easy way to make mistakes if you rush.
5) Put the labels in the right order on the pin. Locality label on top, then species label (if needed), then ecological label (if needed), then family label (if it's the first in the row). Labels should be in line with the specimen and take up as little space as possible and still be legible. They should all be facing the same direction.
6) Organization of orders/families within the box is unimportant, as long as it is clear. Try to condense to as few boxes as possible.
7) Remember that the curation guidelines are to ensure that your specimens are "museum ready" - they might be your longest legacy on earth. Think about how beautifully well organized Dave's collection is upstairs, and the main collection next door. Look at your specimens and ask if they are ready to be seamlessly integrated into a museum collection.
8) Don't fret too much about a bad specimen (missing legs, etc) if it's the only one you have. Damaged specimens are still valuable if properly labeled.
9) Moderate trading is encouraged, ideally when both trade partners receive a family/order neither of them have.
10) Some specimens will be taken and added to the main collection (you should take this as a compliment, I had several of my specimens taken). If you have a favorite specimen you are particularly attached to, like something you raised as a pet, leave a note on your spreadsheet and we will try not to take it from you : ).