ENT 432

Insect Biodiversity and Evolution

This course, offered every fall, is designed to teach students about insect taxonomy, evolutionary relationships, collection and preservation techniques, morphology, and natural history. We focus mostly on adult forms and emphasize insects found in Pennsylvania. In the lab, students will learn how to handle specimens, use diagnostic keys, and identify insects by sight. Collection techniques will be honed during field trips. The primary instructor is Dr. Andrew R. Deans; questions about the course should be sent to adeans@psu.edu. The syllabus, collection exercise, and other useful documents are available:


  • Unit 1 – What are arthropods? What is systematics? [handout]
  • Unit 2 – Basic arthropod morphology [handout]
  • Unit 3 – Systematics, past and present [handout]
  • Unit 4 – Early arthropods, fossils, terrestrialization [handout]
  • Unit 5 – Non-hexapod arthropods [handout]
  • Unit 6 – Non-pterygote Hexapoda [handout]
  • Unit 7 – Paleoptera, origin of wings [handout]
  • Unit 8 – Polyneoptera [handout]
  • Unit 9 – Acercaria [handout]
  • Unit 10 – Holometabola, Hymenoptera [handout]
  • Unit 11 – Neuropterida [handout]
  • Unit 12 – Coleoptera, Strepsiptera [handout]
  • Unit 13 – Antliophora [handout]
  • Unit 14 – Amphiesmenoptera [handout]
  • Unit 15 – Natural history collections
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Learning about insects. Photo by Hillary Morin (CC BY 2.0). Click https://flic.kr/p/LPuRMB for source.