Biology 108-E, Field Biology-Fall 2011

Introduction to Insects (Entomology)

 Instructor:   Dr. Jerry Skinner; Capwell Hall 211; phone: 945-8404;


Eaton, E. and K. Kaufman.  2007.  Field Guide to Insects of North America.  Houghton-Mifflin.  NY.  383 pp. ISBN 0-618-15310-1.


Gibb, T. and C. Oseto. 2006.  Arthropod Collection & Identification: Laboratory & Field Techniques.  Elsevier: Boston.  ISBN 0-12-369545-7.


Class Meetings:  first half of the semester; Monday  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 insects of Pennsylvania and specifically with those found in our area.

  2. gain familiarity with the life cycles of 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.


Tentative Course Schedule


Topic  Assignment for next class
August 29 Hurricane Day!  Class cancelled. Read Kaufman Field Guide pp. 1-19 and Gibb & Oseto Ch. 1
September 5 Labor Day holiday-no class.  
  12 Introduction; overview of insects; capture techniques. Sugaring for Moths
  19 Curation of specimens; overview of selected orders; local field trip. Monarch Life History
  26 Monarch life history and tagging.  Sugaring for moths tonight. 5 specimens due; First life history
October 3 Local field trip; aquatic insects. 5 specimens due; Second life history
  10 Columbus Day holiday-no class. 5 specimens due.
  17 Local field trip. 5 specimens due.
  24 Final 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.  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 two species from different orders.  This will include common name, scientific name, habitat, range, status (abundant?  endangered?), photo(s) showing dimorphism if present, flight dates (if known: most applicable to PA), special aspects (e.g., migratory?).  For lepidoptera:  larval and adult food sources.  Under no circumstances will this exceed two pages.  The first one must describe one of the species you have already collected.


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


The Fine Print:

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 and disability requiring an accommodation prior to the beginning of class. This disclosure should be made to Owen Conaghan, , College Counselor & Coordinator of Disability Services.  Students who disclose a disability, and who are seeking an accommodation, ultimately will be expected to provide documentation verifying the disability.

Academic Honesty – Division of Natural Science and Mathematics
All students are subject to the College's policy and procedure on academic dishonesty;  see the current Keystone College catalog. 
The Natural Science and Mathematics Division recognizes that any form or degree of academic dishonesty challenges the principles of truth and honesty which are among the most important founding principles of science and mathematics discovery.  Keystone College treats academic dishonesty as a serious violation of academic trust.  It penalizes all students found to have engaged in such behavior.
Academic honesty within the College and the Natural Science and Mathematics Division must be a cooperative enterprise of faculty, students and administrators. Acts of academic dishonesty include but are not limited to the following:

  1. The illegitimate use of study materials or electronic devices in any form during a quiz or examination.
  2. Copying answers from the quiz or examination paper of another student.
  3. Plagiarizing or falsifying materials or information used in the completion of any assignment which is graded or evaluated as the student's individual effort. Plagiarism includes submitting as one's own the ideas or work of another, including the laboratory data, written materials or the computer files of another, regardless of whether that information is used verbatim or in paraphrased form.  The same applies to anything derived from the Internet, including research papers purchased online. 
  4. Obtaining, through theft, bribery, or collusion, or otherwise improperly securing an examination paper prior to the time and date for the administration of the examination. Also, use of an examination paper previously administered (e.g., during an earlier term) without the consent of the instructor who authored the examination.
  5. Impersonating a candidate at an examination or availing oneself of such an impersonation in any traditional or online class. 
  6. Intentionally interfering with any person's scholastic work, for example, by damaging or stealing laboratory experiments, computer data files or library materials.
  7. It is presumed that material submitted by a student for an assignment is original to that assignment and, therefore, submitting the same work for more than one course without the consent of the instructors of each course in which the work is submitted is considered dishonest.  Submission of previously graded work from prior assignments is considered dishonest. 
  8. Aiding or abetting any act of academic dishonesty including but not limited to such offenses as described above.

Any student caught cheating, or using someone’s work as their own, will be reported to the Academic Dean of the College.  A grade of zero will be recorded for that assignment/test/quiz. For more information on dishonest acts including plagiarism, cheating, and fraud, consult your Student Information Guide.

Keystone College states that all official student email correspondence be sent only to a student’s Keystone email address and that faculty and staff consider email from students official only if it originates from a Keystone account. This allows the College to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individuals and the security of transmitted information.  Keystone College furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with College personnel

The College has set deadlines for withdrawing from courses. These dates and times are published in the course catalog and on the Academic Calendar. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. The proper paperwork must be completed to ensure that you will not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend once you are enrolled. If you are considering withdrawing from a class, consult your Advisor and refer to the College Catalog.

An “I” (Incomplete) will only be given under extenuating circumstances.  It will not be given to students who simply fail to do the work or miss an exam.  If an “I” is given, students must complete the work within four weeks into the following semester, or receive a grade of “F” for the course.

Keystone College offers tutoring assistance for many of its courses.

North American Insects and Spiders

Pennsylvania Butterflies Checklist

Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Atlas of  Pennsylvania Butterflies

Pennsylvania County Checklists of Odonates:  PA Natural Heritage Program:  Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wyoming

Plecoptera of Pennsylvania (Stoneflies)

Stoneflies of Pennsylvania

Stoneflies of PA

Trichoptera of Pennsylvania (Caddisflies)

Key to Trichoptera of Pennsylvania

Ephemeroptera of Pennsylvania (Mayflies)

Mayflies of the US/Pennsylvania, images, & information for insects, spiders & their kin for the United States & Canada

BAMONA-Butterflies and Moths of North America

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)