Biology 109-Q, Field Biology-Fall 2007

Butterflies and Dragonflies



 Instructor:   Dr. Jerry Skinner; Capwell Hall 208; phone: 945-8404;


Brock, Jim and K. Kaufman.  2003.  Butterflies of North America.  Houghton-Mifflin.  NY.  383 pp. ISBN 0-618-15312-8

Dunkle, S.W. 2000. Dragonflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America. Oxford Univ. Press. 266pp. ISBN 0195112687

Class Meetings:  first half of the semester; Wednesday 2-4 pm in Capwell 202; occasional trips may take place at other arranged times.

Court Objectives:  When this course is complete, you will

  1. be generally familiar with the odes and leps of Pennsylvania and specifically with those found in our area.

  2. gain familiarity with the life cycles of these insects.

  3. be functional with simple taxonomic keys.

  4. be able to prepare and curate an insect collection for taxonomic purposes.

  5. collect data in an acceptable format.

  6. explain the distribution of PA's odes and leps.


Tentative Course Schedule


Topic  Assignment for next week
August 29 Introduction; overview of Odonata; on-campus field trip. County Faunal List
September 5 Curation of specimens; overview of Lepidoptera; local field trip. Monarch Life History
  12 1st specimen due; Monarch life history and tagging. Sugaring for Moths
  19 5 specimens due; local field trip; sugaring for moths tonight. First life history
  26 5 specimens due; local field trip. Second life history
October 3 5 specimens due; local field trip.  
  10 4 specimens due; Local field trip-final field exam.  

FIELD TRIPS:   Come prepared to be outside for the entire class.. 



Guidelines for Assignments

Specimens/Photos:  you will submit 20 properly identified and documented specimens for grading.  This will include 10 odonates and 10 lepidoptera.  You have the choice of submitting either properly preserved and curated specimens or photographs.  If you choose to submit photos, they must be crisp, of good quality, clearly showing the characteristics necessary for identification, in JPEG format, and no larger than 1 mb in size.  Photos may be emailed.  If you have a new county record and submit it to the PA Natural Heritage Program you will receive a 5 pt bonus.
Natural History Accounts:  you will describe the natural history of one odonate and one lepidopteran.  This will include common name, scientific name, habitat, range, status (abundant?  endangered?), photo(s) showing dimorphism if present, flight dates (most applicable to PA), special aspects (e.g., migratory?).  For lepidoptera:  larval and adult food sources.  Under no circumstances will this exceed two pages.


Quizzes (2 @ 10 pts) 20
Final examination 50
County Faunal List 10
Specimen/Photo Collection (20 @ 5pts) 100
Instructor's subjective evaluation 25
Life histories of two species (one ode, one lep) @10 pts 20


Grading Policy



90 - 92.9


87 - 89.9


83 - 86.9


80 - 82.9


77 - 79.9


73 - 76.9


70 - 72.9


67 - 69.9


60 - 66.9


less than 60


Keystone College does not discriminate in any of its programs on the basis of disability.  While there is not a deadline for the disclosure of a disability by a student, in order to facilitate the documentation and accommodation processes, students are encouraged to voluntarily and confidentially disclose any disability requiring an accommodation prior to the beginning of class.  This disclosure should be made to Robert Iannuzzo, Vice President of Enrollment(945-8110), Keystone’s Section 504/ADA Coordinator.  Students who disclose a disability, and who are seeking an accommodation, ultimately will be expected to provide documentation verifying the disability.

Pennsylvania Butterflies Checklist, images, & information for insects, spiders & their kin for the United States & Canada

Odonate Websites

Additional Useful Identification References 

Brunelle, P. M. and P. G. deMaynadier.  2005.  The Maine Damselfly and Dragonfly Survey: A Final Report.  Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.  Bangor, Me.  Available as a free pdf file at - 

Dubois, B.  2005. Damselflies of the North Woods.  North Woods Naturalist Series.  Kollath-Stensaas Publ. Duluth.  ISBN 0-9673793-7-7  ($18.95)

Glotzhober, R. C. and D. McShaffrey (eds).  2002.  The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ohio.  Ohio Biological Survey Bulletin New Series  Vol 14 (2).  ISBN 0-86727-145-0  available at   ($40)

Lam, E.  2004. Damselflies of the Northeast.  Biodiversity Books, Forest Hills, N.Y. ISBN 0-9754015-0-5     (order from website -  $22 – allow 3 weeks for delivery)

Mead, K.  2003.  Dragonflies of the North Woods.  North Woods Naturalist Series.  Kollath-Stensaas Publ. Duluth.  ISBN 0-9673793-6-9   ($18.95) 

Nikula, B, J. L. Loose, and M. R. Burne.  2003. A Field Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. Mass. Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. Boston, MA.  Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program.      (scroll down for order form - $20 – allow 3 weeks for delivery)

Technical Reference Texts (most are expensive, some are out of print, but many are available from larger libraries)

Corbet, P. S.  1999.  Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-2592-1.  ($136)

Needham, J. G., M. J. Westfall and M. L. May. 2000.  Dragonflies of North America. Scientific Publishers, Gainesville, Florida. ISBN 0945417942  ($160)

*Walker, E. M. 1953. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska: vol. 1: part I: general. part II: The zygoptera - damselflies. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario.  (out of print)

*Walker, E. M. 1958. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska: vol. 2: part III: The anisoptera - four families.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario. ISBN 0-8020-7076-0. (out of print)

*Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. 1978. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska: vol.3: part III: The anisoptera - three families. Edition 2. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario. ISBN 0-8020-5321-1. 308 p.  (out of print)

*all three volumes available as high resolution scans for $160 from ]

Westfall, M. J. and M. L. May. 1996. Damselflies of North America. Scientific Publishers, Gainesville, Florida. ISBN 0-945417-93-4. (out of print)

Westfall, M. J. and M. L. May. 2006. Damselflies of North America – Revised edition. Scientific Publishers, Gainesville, Florida. ISBN 0-945417-97-7.  ($104)