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November 20, 2012

We're on the home stretch for ENT 425!   Several reminders are in order:

First, collections are due by 4 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 27.  Please take your collection to the lab room (4302 Gardner) for check in with Rachel or myself.  (Don't just drop it off and leave.) We will start check in AFTER lecture on Tuesday.  All of the collecting equipment you checked out at the beginning of the semester should also be returned at that time.  You will have to pay for anything that is not returned in good, usable condition.  This includes a net, kill jar, spreading board, pinning box, step block, cork block, and at least 20 vials.

Before you turn in your collection, make sure:

The second lab practical will be on Thurs., Nov. 29 or Fri., Nov. 30.  You may start at 12 noon, 1:30 pm, or 3:00 pm either day (just like the 1st practical).  This one will include 50 specimens for spot ID to order OR family.  Review materials will be in the lab room until Wednesday night.  Links to all Spot ID taxons can be found at:

If you need to make up a quiz or an exam, this is the time to do it.  Contact me to arrange a time next week that's good for you.  DO NOT REPLY to this email - send a separate message with "Make-Up" in the subject line.

And finally, the final!  It's scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 8-11 am in 206 Cox Hall.  Open book / open notes and similar in format to the two exams you have already taken.  Coverage is comprehensive, but emphasis will be on the last half of the course.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!


November 11, 2012

Quiz #4 is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15.  It will cover only Module 9 (Insect Pests).  DE students can take the quiz on Thursday afternoon in 4312 Gardner - or at the DELTA testing center on Weds., Thurs., or Fri.

This week's lab will be an opportunity for you to review the Spot ID families and put the final touches on your insect collection.  All collections are due by 4 pm on November 27.


November 3, 2012

Exam #2 is coming up on Tuesday.  It covers Behavior and Ecology (Modules 7 and 8).  Like the first exam, this one is open book / open notes.  Bring a calculator for the problems that deal with life tables and physiological time.  You may NOT use the calculator on your phone or laptop.

We'll cover identification of Diptera and Hymenoptera this week in lab.  Next week's lab will be open for review and putting the final touches on your insect collection.


October 26, 2012

Next week's lab will cover identification of families in Coleoptera, Neuroptera, and Lepidoptera.  Bring your insects, the spiral-bound ID key (Bland & Jaques), the cork observation block, and everything you need to make labels (pen, scissors, step block, etc.).


October 19, 2012

Reminder:  Optional field trip this Sunday.  Meet in the Brooks Ave. parking lot at 2:00 pm.  Bring your want list!  Pizza and pinning party afterwards in the lab.

Quiz #3 is next Tuesday, October 23.  It covers all of Module #7 (Nervous system, senses, behavior, communication, and social insects).  If you're taking it at the DELTA testing center there is a three-day window starting Monday morning.

Next week's lab will focus on identification to family in the orders Odonata, Orthoptera, and Hemiptera.  Bring your insects, the spiral-bound ID key (Bland & Jaques), the cork observation block, and everything you need to make labels (pen, scissors, step block, etc.).


October 15, 2012

This week's lab is "Immature Insects".  We'll concentrate on identifying nymphs and larvae to order.  Bring all of your immatures to lab so you can work on your own specimens.  By the end of lab, you should have all of them ready to submit with your final collection!

If you're interested in one "last gasp" field trip, I'll take you on an optional excursion on Sunday, October 21.  Meet in the large parking lot on Brooks Ave. (across from Kilgore Hall) at 2:00 pm.  Bring a list of the ecological categories you still need to fill.  We'll make a quick visit to a variety of habitats and be back by 5:00 pm.  Stick around for a "pinning party" in the lab and I'll treat you to pizza and soft drinks for dinner.


October 2, 2012

Your first lab practical is coming up on October 11 or 12.  The practical will test your ability to "spot ID" insects to order (adults only), recognize external body structures on a grasshopper, identify different types of antennae, legs, wings, and mouthparts, and name the internal organs in a dissection of the cockroach.  If you missed class, all of these things are covered in the online version of labs 2, 3 and 5.

The lab practical will take about one hour.  In order to accommodate both regular and DE students, there will be three arrival times on each day:  12 noon, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm.  Please let me know if you cannot make it to campus during one of these six time slots.  Since DELTA is not set up to handle lab practicals, I will have to work directly with proctors for all out-of-town students.  Be sure I have your proctor's name and contact information.

Demo and practice materials (including a spot ID self-test) are available on the back lab table in 4302 Gardner until next Wednesday night.  E-mail me if you've forgotten the door code.  You are free to come and go except for Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons when other classes use the room. The online flash cards, the external anatomy images in the online version of Lab #3 and the roach guts picture gallery in the online version of Lab #5 are also good tools for reviewing those topics.

Earn up to four extra points of HW credit by submitting a "minicollection" when you come to take the lab practical.  Your minicollection should consist of one pinned insect, one pointed insect, one spread insect, and one insect in alcohol -- all correctly curated with a date/locality label (no ID or ecology label needed yet).  My purpose is to insure that you are doing things correctly - it would be a shame to turn in your collection and discover that you lost points on every specimen because they were mislabeled.  I will grade the minicollection while you are taking the lab practical and return it when you are done.  This assignment is REQUIRED for all DE students.  Send me a close-up photo of each specimen (make sure I can read the labels!!).


September 24, 2012

This week's lab is the farm field trip.  Bring your net, killing jar, and plenty of collecting bottles.

Your first major exam in General Entomology is scheduled for next Tuesday.  It will cover everything in the course so far:  modules 2-6.  You will have 75 minutes for the exam.  It will be open book / open notes, but you may NOT use a laptop, PDA, or any wireless device that links to the internet (including cell phones).

Exam format will include a wide variety of question types including T/F, multiple choice, matching, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, and at least one essay.  (see examples of old exams on your website).

Unless I hear differently, I assume you will take the exam at the same time and place as you have taken your quizzes.


September 7, 2012

Module #4 ends on Monday - Worksheet #4 and Jelly Sandwich Analogy are due by midnight and Homework #4 is due by classtime on Tuesday.

Next week's lab is the Aquatic Field Trip.  Bring your net, killing jar, and plenty of collecting bottles.  Wear boots or shoes that can get wet or muddy.

You can earn 5 points of homework credit next Saturday, Sept. 15, by attending BugFest at the NC Museum of Natural Science, Downtown Raleigh.  The Plaza, Capitol Grounds, and all four floors of the Museum will be filled with buggy fun!  More info at:

To get credit, go to the third floor of the museum between 9 am and 4 pm, find the "Stump the Experts" station, and sign the attendance sheet located there.


August 27, 2012

If you are on schedule, you should have finished Modules #1 and #2.  If not, the deadline for Module #2 assignments is Wednesday, Aug. 29.  The real work starts in Module #3, so leave yourself enough time to completely assimilate all the information in the Taxonomy and Systematics reading assignments.

This week's lab will be a field trip to the woods.  We'll focus on insects in trees (living and dead) and those in the soil.  Bring your net, killing jar, and some collecting bottles.  Meet in 4302 Gardner at 12:25 on Thursday or Friday afternoon.

Quiz #1 is coming up on Sept. 4.  You will be tested on the following:
1.  Common names and scientific names for each order of insects
2.  Phylogenetic relationships -- who's related to whom in the tree of life
3.  Distinctive physical characteristics of each order
4.  Ecological role of each order (herbivore, predator, scavenger, etc.)
5.  Economic importance (if any) to humans of each order
All this information can be found in the "Compendium" of insects.  It is also summarized on the last two pages of the topic outline (PDF) for Module #3.

If you're a DE student, now's the time to make appropriate testing arrangements.  Let me know if you want to take it with me that afternoon (between 3:30 and 5:00 pm).  Otherwise you should make an appointment with the DELTA testing center (Cox Hall or Centennial Campus) or arrange for a remote proctor (if you are out of town):


August 17, 2012

I hope you managed to survive the first (half) week of classes.

If you missed lecture on Thursday, please view the audio powerpoint for Module #1.  This should get you up to speed on course requirements.

If you still need to pick up a set of collecting equipment, come to the lab (4302 Gardner Hall) on Wednesday, August 22 from 4:30-5:30 pm.  If that time doesn't suit you, contact the TA, Rachel Suits, to arrange an alternate time.  You can do the lab "on your own" by following the Meadow Field Trip instructions.

Begin earning homework points by posting a "Personal Introduction" (3 pts) in the first discussion forum, submitting the first homework assignment called "It's Greek to Me" (5 pts) and completing the Orientation Worksheet (5 pts).  All of these assignments can be found in the Moodle workspace -- click on "Course Materials" and then "Login to Moodle".  You can look at homework and worksheet assignments first without "submitting" them.  That's the best way to reduce errors and maximize points for your effort.  All of these assignments should be completed by August 24 to qualify for homework points.


August 13, 2012

My petition to postpone the start of fall semester has been denied!

The first class meeting for Ent 425 is on Thursday morning, August 16, at 10:15 am in 206 Cox Hall. Labs WILL MEET the first week on Thursday and Friday afternoons (12:25-3:15 pm in 4302 Gardner).

The schedule for Fall, 2012 has been posted. Look around the course website if you have some free time and get familiar with the resources that will be available to you.

Our first lab will include a short field trip to a weedy field. Please come dressed appropriately. I would recommend long pants and shoes (not flip-flops). The management is not responsible for cases of poison ivy or scratches from thorns....

Students taking the course by distance education (DE) may begin working on Modules 1 and 2, but please don't submit homework or post to a discussion forum until Aug. 16. I encourage DE students to come and participate in the lectures and/or labs whenever possible. You don't need to let me know -- just show up.

See you soon!!


April 26, 2012

If you're thinking about signing up for ENT 425, check out the course syllabus and browse through the resource library to find out what you're getting into!

If you do plan to take the course, you may want to consider starting your insect collection this summer.  Two documents that will get you pointed in the right direction are:

  1. a list of collection requirements, and
  2. a few suggestions for mounting and preserving the insects you collect

Don't hesitate to call (919-515-1659) or e-mail ( if you have any other questions.

All non-degree, lifelong, or continuing education students (i.e. anyone not currently enrolled in a degree program) must first register with the University as a Non-Degree Studies (NDS) student.  Registration forms and other information can be found at: