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Course : Entomology Lab

Course Number
BIOL 3434
Section Number
Fall 2021
Bolin Hall, 207
Days & Times
1:00 pm - 4:50 pm
Final Exam Day/Time
Thursday, December 02, 2021 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  1. Promote field experience where students can see where different insects are found and begin to develop a sense for the variety of microhabitats that are occupied by insects within any environmental setting.
  2. Investigate the insect fauna of a variety of different microhabitats in order to appreciate the diversity of insect taxa, as well as their various ecological and biological relationships that exist. 
  3. Gain a working knowledge of a variety of insect collecting techniques in order to collect in various insect microhabitats.
  4. Promote laboratory experience where students learn to properly preserve and prepare insect specimens through practical experience utilizing the techniques involved in the basic entomological skills of pinning, pointing, labeling, slide mounting and the alcohol preservation of insects.
  5. Identify insect specimens using gained knowledge of identification-related insect morphology and developed skills of using dichotomous keys.
  6. Proficient use of microscopy.

The lab objectives integrate a suite of practical skills and knowledge that will allow the student to locate (requiring an understanding of biology and microhabitats), collect (requiring knowledge of appropriate collecting techniques), preserve & prepare (requiring skills in appropriate techniques) and identify insects (requiring keying skills and a knowledge of identification-related morphology).

Prerequisite of one year of biology.



Lab Exams and Insect Collection:  There will be two lab exams that will be worth a total of 10% of your overall grade for the class.  First Lab Exam=4%; and the Final Lab Exam=6% of the overall grade.  All students will be required to make an insect collection. Your insect collection will count 40% of your overall grade for the class. Therefore, what you do in lab constitutes 50% of your grade for the course.  Keep in mind that there are NO make-up exams for lab.  Don’t miss one!! 




Requirements for Your Insect Collection

All insects for this collection should be adult specimens. Immature insects do not count toward the final points total. The grade for your insect collection will be based on a “point” system, with letter grades being determined in the following manner:


450+ pts.    = A

400-449 pts.    = B

350-399 pts.    = C

300-349 pts.    = D

<300 pts.          = F


You need a minimum of 15 different ORDERS in your collection. You will be awarded 5 points for each different order in your collection. You need a minimum of 55 different FAMILIES in your collection and will be awarded 3 points for each different family you have. One point will be awarded for each different SPECIES represented in your collection. Extra orders, families, and species will receive the same credit and there is essentially no limit to how many you can turn in. So, for example, you might have:


                                                            20 orders   X   5 pts. each       = 100 pts.

                                                          100 families X   3 pts. each       = 300 pts.

                                                          100 insects   X   1 pt. each        = 100 pts.

                                                                                                     total     = 500 pts.


You will lose points for each missing required item (e.g. -5 for each order less than 15 and –3 for each family less than 55) and for each misidentification (no credit). Likewise, you will get additional points (e.g. +5 for each additional order over 15 and +3 for each additional family over 55) when you surpass the required items. You will also be subjectively graded on neatness and order of your collection. This includes labeling, pinning, point-mounting, arrangement of specimens, as well as, condition of specimens. You are expected to turn in a professional level of work.  Anything less will be subject to point deduction from your total points. Points will also be deducted for collections that are turned in late.

Extra Credit:  In addition to your opportunities for earning points that have already been mentioned, you will also be able to earn extra credit for collecting and correctly identifying certain orders/families that are relatively rare or less likely to be collected by a beginning general collector.  More points will be granted for these taxa than the usual as described above. For each of the “starred” families in the textbook that are marked with an asterisk (i.e. those in the taxonomic outlines prior to the keys and/or within keys in some chapters), you will be awarded 5 points. There may be additional families to these for which I may award extra credit as well. You will be awarded 8 points for each of the following extra credit orders:










I expect that there will be trading of specimens among students during the semester. This is fine, just please make sure that you retain the original collector’s label on all traded specimens. By all means, have fun and enjoy making your collection!! 

Lab Attendance and Field TripsThe laboratory portion of this class is extremely important in learning about insects and also represents a very large portion of the class grade; therefore, attendance is mandatory.  Plan to be in the lab and/or the field for the full 4 hours each week.  When there are extenuating circumstances and you know you will have to miss a lab, it is YOUR responsibility to inform the instructor of your impending absence BEFORE a lab is missed. We will take several local field trips for the purpose of collecting insects, but it will be to your advantage to be collecting insects whenever you can. There may be opportunities to participate in weekend overnight field trips. If so, overnight field trips are entirely OPTIONAL, but I encourage you to attend due to the great collecting opportunities they would present, as well as the fact that trips like these are usually a lot of fun!  

Keep in mind that there are NO make-up exams for lab.  Don’t miss one!!  


Points will be deducted for collections that are turned in late. 

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

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