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October 12, 2013

Your first lab practical is coming up on October 17 or 18.  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 afternoon when another class uses 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!!).


October 1, 2013

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, October 8.  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 can link 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 17, 2013

This is the week for our aquatic field trip.  Bring your net, killing jar, and plenty of collecting bottles.  Wear boots or shoes that can get wet or muddy.

Quiz #2 is coming up next Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Quiz format will be similar to the first one.
Topics include all of external anatomy and development:
          Head Capsule
          Egg structure
DE students, I'll assume your arrangements for taking Quiz #2 will be the same as for Quiz #1 unless you notify me differently.


September 10, 2013

If you took Quiz #1, your score has been posted in the Moodle gradebook.

This week's lab is External Anatomy.  Bring dissecting tools, insect pins, and your copy of Bland & Jaques.
Do NOT bring your insects.

You can earn 5 points of homework credit next Saturday, Sept. 21, 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 5 pm, find the "Stump the Experts" station, and sign the attendance sheet located there.


September 3, 2013

The deadline for Module #2 assignments is Wednesday, Sept. 4.  There was a glitch on worksheets submitted in August (the computer "forgot" how to grade them!!)   :-)   The problem has now been fixed -- I gave everyone who submitted the worksheets a "5".   The trick on those assignments is to "reload" the webpage if you make any mistakes and lose points.   Don't "Submit" until you can answer them all correctly.

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.

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 next Tuesday afternoon (between 3:00 and 5:00 pm in 4312 GA).  Otherwise you should plan to take it (on Mon., Tues., or Weds.) at a DELTA testing center (Cox Hall or Centennial Campus) or arrange for a remote proctor (if you are out of town):


August 28, 2013

By now, if you are on schedule, you should have nearly finished Modules #1 and #2.  If not, buckle down and catch up.  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.

For those of you attending labs on campus, we will focus on Insect Orders this week.  Bring only the following items to lab this week:
1.  your copy of "How to Know the Insects" by Bland & Jaques
2.  the pinned insects you have mounted so far (in your black pinning box)
3.  the cork observation block

For those of you NOT attending labs on campus, this is the week for Lab #2.  Instructions can be found under the "Resource Library" tab on the course website.   Be sure to print off the list of spot ID characters and view the narrated slide show that illustrates how to recognize each order.  The orders covered in this slide show are the only ones you will be expected to identify on a lab practical.

Homework #1 (It's Greek to Me), Worksheet #1 (Orientation), and Discussion Topic #1 (Personal Introduction) and are due by midnight Aug. 29.
Homework #2 (Fear No Weevil) and Worksheet #2 (Importance) are due by midnight Sept. 4.  All of these assignments are in the Moodle workspace.

Quiz #1 is coming up on Sept. 10.  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.


August 23, 2013

We are off to a fast start this semester.  I hope you are keeping up.

If you are a DE student (or missed lecture on Thursday), please view the audio powerpoint for Module #1.  This should get you up to speed on course requirements.

For those who still need to check out collecting equipment, please come to the lab (4302 Gardner Hall) on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday afternoon between 4 and 5 pm.  We will do a brief orientation promptly on the hour and the half hour.  You will 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 29 to qualify for homework points.


August 20, 2013

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

The first class meeting for Ent 425 is on Thursday morning, August 22, at 10:15 am in 214 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, 2013 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. 21.  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!!


May 1, 2013

If you're planning to take ENT 425, check out the course syllabus and browse through the resource library to find out what you're getting into!

You may also 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: