Field Entomology

The above image is of Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis, the northeast beach tiger beetle, last seen in Connecticut in 1950. One of the goals of the Field Entomology Course, in documenting the arthropod fauna of Connecticut, is to help prevent future losses by documenting changes in species distributions.

NOTE: This webpage is a ghost. I no longer teach this course at the University of Connecticut. If interested in field entomology at the University of Connecticut, you should go to the current course listing page by clicking HERE. I maintain this page for posterity (and nostalgia).

Summer Session II

3 credits




Instructor: Derek S. Sikes, graduate student, Ph.D. program
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269

office: Life Sciences (Torrey Bldg) room 373


Course description: This course is an introduction to field entomological techniques applicable to ecological studies, modern biodiversity surveys for conservation research or pure inventory. Emphasized will be professional procedures to collect and process (sort, mount, database & label) non-marine arthropods. Identification of specimens will be subordinate to these goals. Although the skills necessary to identify most groups to Order and lower taxa, when feasible, will be taught. An introduction to each Arthropod group covered will include ecological characterizations (habitat, trophic role, life history), current status of the North American fauna, entry points to the literature for these groups and specialized collecting methods. Students are encouraged to specialize on a "focal taxon" or ecological catagory that interests them.

Students will create a collection from which specimens will be chosen for the University Research Collection and the Teaching Collection. Students may retain any remaining specimens for their personal reference collection.


Required texts: (bring to each class session)

1. Imes, Rick. 1992. The Practical Entomologist: An Introductory Guide. Simon & Schuster, New York, 160 pp..

2. Borrer, D. J. & R. E. White. 1970. A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, 404 pp.

Optional texts:

3. Opler, P.A., & V. Malikul. A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co.

4. White, R. E. Beetles of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co.


Assigned readings: A handful of papers and selections from the texts relevant to this course are required readings listed in the syllabus. Readings from the texts need not be read in great detail, however, do read the assigned papers carefully. These should be read either before or soon after the date listed. Readings not from your texts can be found in the 3rd floor Ecology Office green filing cabinet (drawer above bottom drawer, opposite FAX machine). Two copies of each are provided, one paperclipped for photocpying and one to borrow for 1-2 hours.

Laboratory: Some scheduling rearrangements might be necessary due to rain-outs of field trips, in general I will try to follow the syllabus. Many lab sessions will be held in the field, however, we must process what we catch so many lab sessions will be 'at-the-scope'.

Field trips: Be prepared for the field. General tips: no sandals, wear light-weight, light colored clothing (better to spot the ticks), long pants & short sleeves, sunscreen, bug repellent, and bring some sort of bag/pack to carry equipment/supplies (&water and snacks!). I will provide all the collecting equipment.

Grading and examinations: The course grade will be based on a preliminary quiz (5%), your collection (55%), and the final exam (40%).



Note: The illustrations are not included on the Web-lecture notes because many are copywrite protected. To obtain a complete copy you must take the course. Only the first few lectures are hotlinked to provide you a sample of the material covered in the course.

Date (1998)




29 June

01. Intro, Parataxonomy

01.first sorting/morphology

Janzen 1991; Kremen et al. 1993; Imes pp.6, 12-13

01 July

02. Collections & methods

02.Fenton Riv. envs.

Janzen 1993; Alberch 1993; Talbot & Warrick; Raven & Wilson 1992; Imes pp42-49; Borrer & White pp4-22 (skim)

06 July

03.Arthropoda& Noninsects

03. mounting

Borrer & White pp.48-55; Imes pp.10-11

08 July


04. trip; night coll.?

B & W pp. 60-64; behavior paper ?

10 July

05."Paleoptera" & Plecoptera

05. mounting

B & W pp. 65-75, 92-97; Imes pp.68-73

13 July

06. trip

06. trip

15 July

07. Orthopteroids

07. mounting

B & W pp. 76-85, 98-101; Imes pp.74-79

17 July

08. Dictyoptera & Hemipteroids

08. trip

B & W pp. 86-91, 102-140; Imes 80-93

20 July

09. Endopterygota: Hemiptera

09. mounting

B & W pp.312-362; Imes pp. 136-145

22 July

10. Trichop & Lepidoptera

10. trip

B & W pp.210-259; Imes pp. 110-125

24 July

11. Mecopteroids

11. mounting

B & W 208-210, 260-311; Imes 126-135

27 July

12. Neuropteroids

12. mounting

B & W pp. 140-207; Imes pp. 94-109

29 July

13. trip

31 July

14. mounting

03 Aug

15. mounting/trip?

Review readings & notes for final

05 Aug

16. mounting, collection check

Review readings & notes for final

07 Aug

17. FINAL QUIZ & Collections due