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Unit of study_

BIOL2033: Biology of Insects

Insects are the most abundant and diverse group of animals on earth; beetles alone account for 25% of animal life. Insects impact almost every facet of the ecosystem and our lives. Many insects play valuable and essential roles in pollinating different plant species, in predating and controlling insect pests and in recycling nutrients. Other insects are harmful and are the vectors for major diseases such as plague, malaria and recently emerged viral disease Zika. This unit will provide students with a broad introduction to entomology including insect evolution, ecology, anatomy and physiology. Students will learn applied entomological topics such as sustainable insect management in agricultural ecosystems, medical and veterinary entomology, insect-inspired technologies, and insects as a future food source for both livestock and humans. This theoretical background will be complemented by training in how to use and evaluate a range of identification tools such as lucid and traditional dichotomous keys that enable you to identify and classify major groups of insects. Practical classes will allow you to develop your identification, classification and preservation skills though examination of boxes of 'mystery insects' and through creating a museum-quality insect collection. Students will also learn procedures for caring and rearing live insects. By the end of the unit you will be well prepared to work in fields that require entomological skills.

Code BIOL2033
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. describe the external and internal structures of insects and recognise the specific features that distinguish insects from other arthropods
  • LO2. explain the processes of respiration, digestion, reproduction, growth, development, excretion, feeding and locomotion in the major insect groups
  • LO3. use examples to illustrate the different ecological roles that insects play
  • LO4. define a range of pest control strategies and give examples of their use in pest management programs
  • LO5. identify the major insect orders from memory and common families using a dichotomous key
  • LO6. preserve, mount and label insect specimens according to standard museum practice
  • LO7. learn to design informational displays that convey entomological information while meeting the needs of live insects