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Entomology 101

Posted by | August 15, 2011

Insects and People: A Perspective

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Instructor: R.S. Zack

Hoyt, E. and T. Schultz (eds). 2002. Insect Lives: Stories of Mystery and Romance from a Hidden World. 2002. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 360 pp.

Borror, D.J. and R.E. White 1970. A Field Guide to the Insects. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 404 pp.

The course consists of three lectures per week and various in and out of class activities. Attendance at class periods is desirable, encouraged, and expected, as most course information is unattainable by other means.


  1. To provide an introduction to insects as unique life forms and to foster an Appreciation of their diversity, adaptations, function and habits.
  2. To develop an understanding of insects as a dominant component of the earth’s ecology.
  3. To explore the historical and contemporary significance of insect/human interactions.
  4. To provide the student with an appreciation of the science of entomology and the significance entomological research in their daily lives.


1. Tests

  • Weekly Quizzes (40% of final grade)
    Fifteen (15) multiple choice, fill-in and/or short answer weekly quizzes will be offered on an irregular day, one per week basis. Thirteen (13) of the weekly quiz scores will count – two will be dropped. There will be no make-up quizzes.
  • Midterm
    There will be no midterm exam in this course.
  • Final Exam
    There will be no mandatory final exam in this course. There will be an optional final examination for those that wish to take it. The final exam will cover topics discussed throughout the course. Examples of the types of questions to be expected will be placed on the Entomology 101 web site.

2. Journal (12% of final grade)
The maintenance of a journal can be an interesting and educational endeavor. A good journal is produced over a period of time with entries made as the information is collected. In this course, you will be searching for (or allowing it to come to you) information on insects and related entomological) topics.
Create a journal type of your choosing but it must be written. Entries in your journal should include:

  1. The item (e.g., newspaper or tabloid story) or a description of the item (e.g., beer commercial, beetle found in salad at restaurant, etc.). Please try to include the original item or a copy whenever possible.
  2. Date of item or observation.
  3. A short description or explanation and your thoughts on the subject.

Your journal should include at least 20 items.

Newspaper article concerning West Nile Virus and its transmission by mosquitoes.
Cleveland Plain Dealer; 12 October 2002.

West Nile Virus is a disease vectored by mosquitoes. The disease has been spreading
throughout the United States after having been discovered in New York several years ago. Ten persons died in Louisiana this year after contracted the disease. Serious mosquito control programs have been initiated throughout Ohio to help manage the mosquitoes that vector the disease. At least 10 persons contracted the disease in Ohio this past summer.

Budweiser beer commercial
Seen on television while watching the Cougar vs. USC football game on??????
Ants were ravaging the food of a group of very good looking and upscale (fake – made for TV) young persons who were having a picnic. The ants left the food when they found that there was a bottle of Bud that they wanted more. The ants carried the bottle of Bud back to their colony but were having a difficult time getting it down the hole.

3. Main Project (22% of final grade)
See description and topics.

4. Book Review (12% of final grade)
Each student will be asked to select a book from a list provided by the instructor. Copies of these books will be available for you to examine (i.e., on reserve) in the Holland Library – you will need to order a copy of the book for yourself. If you wish to review a book that is not included on the list, you must have it approved by the instructor.You will read the book and write a review of it. Your review should be at least 4-5 pages in length and include discussions of the contents of the book as well as its quality. The review should be typed, double-spaced, and formatted as found in the example on the Entomology 101 web site.

5. Miscellaneous Assignments (14% of final grade)
To be assigned, but will include:

  1. Grasshopper drawing
  2. Fly/detritovore rearing
  3. Hornworm rearing
  4. Children’s book review assignment

6. Bonus Points
Bonus points will be offered throughout the semester. These bonus assignments are at the whim of the instructor but the instructor likes to give them. Take advantage of them.



Aesop’s Fables and Coyote – Insects in Folklore
Course Introduction
An Introduction to Arthropods
Knights in Shining Armor – External Anatomy
Haemolymph and Guts – Internal Anatomy
The Ugly Duckling Syndrome – Metamorphosis
What’s in a Name? – Etymology in Entomology
Insect Actors and Lifestyles – Insect Taxonomy
Kin Folk – Insect Relatives
The Insect Morgue – The M. T. James Entomological Collection
How Insects Sense Their Environment
Is That You? – Insect Camouflage
Insects in Their Environment
The Economic Impact of Insects
Bugs in the Pantry – Urban Entomology
Insects in the Visual Arts
Insects in Religion and Mythology
Insects and the Man – Insects in Law
A Most Valuable Resource – Pollination
Yellowjackets and Spiders
Why Not Eat Insects? Theoretical Considerations
Insects in the Literature of Children
Forensic Entomology
Honey Coated and Silky Smooth – Insect Products
Social Insects – ?Utopia
The Life That Lives on Man
The Great Scourges – Medical Entomology