Bi9790 Advanced entomology

Faculty of Science
Autumn 2013
Extent and Intensity
4/0. 4 credit(s) (fasci plus compl plus > 4). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Mgr. Igor Malenovský, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
prof. RNDr. Jaromír Vaňhara, CSc.
Department of Botany and Zoology - Biology Section - Faculty of Science
Contact Person: Mgr. Igor Malenovský, Ph.D.
Supplier department: Department of Botany and Zoology - Biology Section - Faculty of Science
Tue 13:00–16:50 BpsR
We recommend completion of the Bi6760 Basic entomology course, all students interested in insects are, however, welcome.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course aims at extending the lectures on the basic general entomology and insect systematics (corresponding courses Bi6760 Basic entomology and Bi8780 System and phylogeny of insects) by a more detailed focus on selected general topics in morphology and ecology of insects which will be discussed (not only) from an evolutionary perspective. At the end of the course students should be able to explain and discuss possible reasons for the diversity and evolutionary success of insects and compose and combine the acquired knowledge within a wide context.
  • 1. Insect morphology and evolution 1. Current knowledge of the system and phylogeny of insects. Key evolutionary innovations for evolution of insect diversity. Internal fertilization, ways of sperm transfer, hypotheses explaining diversity of insect genitalia. Six legs, dicondylous mandibles, wings and mechanisms of wing folding. Ovipositor, viviparity in insects. Types of ovarioles, trophocytes.
  • 2. Insect morphology and evolution 2. Different opinions on the homology of some insect organs. Insect leg and mouthparts. Wing and hypotheses on its origin – evidence and critique of different theories.
  • 3. Insect onthogeny and evolution. Phases of onthogenetic development of insects. Structure of insect egg. Embryogenesis, determination of insect body plan. Organogenesis. Postembryonal development, types of metamorphosis – ametaboly, hemimetaboly, neometaboly, holometaboly and hypotheses on its evolution.
  • 4. Palaeoentomology 1. Fossil record of Hexapoda. Types of fossils. Diversity of extant and extinct insects. Oldest Hexapoda. Extinct orders of Pterygota, origins of extant orders.
  • 5. Palaeoentomology 2 – applications and problems. Importance of fossils for entomology: dating of evolutionary events, improvements and testing of phylogenetic and biogeographical hypotheses, palaeoenvironmental studies. Techniques of study of fossil insects, their identification and their inclusion into phylogenetic analysis. Subfossil insects.
  • 6. Insects in extreme environment. Tolerance to high temperatures and dessication. Overwintering, diapause, cold hardiness. Insects in anaerobic environment - endoparasites and aquatic insects. Saline environment, oceans, osmoregulation. Insects in toxic environment. Insects in caves and subterranean spaces.
  • 7. Insect behaviour 1. Different approaches to the study of insect behaviour. Physiological background of insect behaviour - central nervous system, hormones. Simple reflexes and motoric patterns, fixed action patterns, learning and memory, social learning, intelligence. Movement and orientation in space, migration, polymorphism and polyphenism.
  • 8. Insect behaviour 2. Forms of insect communication. Visual communication, bioluminescence. Mechanical communication, properties and ways of sound production, transfer and reception of sound and vibratory signals, bioacoustics. Chemical communication, types of semiochemicals, chemoreception, pheromones, cuticular hydrocarbons, properties and evolution of pheromone systems, allelochemicals. Strategies of insect defense, cryptic coloration, mimesis, mechanical defense, chemical defense, aposematism, mimicry, collective defense in social insects.
  • 9. Social insects. Definition and occurrence of eusociality in insects, life cycle of social insects. Problems of explanations of altruism, hypotheses on the origins of eusociality. Other types of sociality in insects, gregarious and subsocial behaviour, colonies, quasi-sociality. Polymorphism in eusocial insects. Diversity, biology and phylogeny of individual eusocial lines of insects.
  • 10. Insect and plants 1. Basic characteristics, diversity and evolution of phytophagous insects, different types of phytophagy. Theories explaining diversity of phytophagous insects, mechanisms of plant defense, adaptations of insects for life on plants. Impact of phytophagous insects on plants.
  • 11. Insect and plants 2. Pollinators and plants - problem of mutualism, strategies and adaptations, evolution of pollination and insects. Ants and plants. Fungivorous insects – review of fungivorous taxa, symbiotic fungi in ants, termites and scolytid beetles.
  • 12. Predation and parasitism in insects. Adaptations of predatory insects. Review of parasitoid taxa of insects, their biology and interactions with hosts. Insect parasites. Evolutionary success of insect parasitoids, parasites, herbivors and pollinators, problem of coevolution with hosts.
  • 13. Symbionts and pathogens of insects. Symbiotic microorganisms in insects, particularly termites, xylophagous, haematophaous and plant-sucking insects. Ultraselfish bacteria, cytoplasmatic incompatibility, determination of sex in insects, feminization, male-killing, parthenogenesis, and their practical use. Review of insect pathogens: viruses, bacteria, fungi, microsporidia.
    recommended literature
  • GULLAN, P. J. and P. S. CRANSTON. The insects : an outline of entomology. Illustrated by Karina Hansen McInnes. 4th ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. xvi, 565. ISBN 9781444330366. info
  • GRIMALDI, David A. and Michael S. ENGEL. Evolution of the insects. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. xv, 755. ISBN 0521821495. info
  • Encyclopedia of insects. Edited by Vincent H. Resh - Ring T. Cardé. Amsterdam: Academic press, 2003. xxviii, 12. ISBN 0125869908. info
    not specified
  • MATTHEWS, Robert W. and Janice R. MATTHEWS. Insect behavior. 2nd ed. Dordrecht: Springer, 2010. xiii, 514. ISBN 9789048123889. info
  • Insect-plant biology. Edited by L. M. Schoonhoven - J. J. A. van Loon - Marcel Dicke. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. xvii, 421. ISBN 9780198525943. info
  • Encyclopedia of entomology. Edited by John L. Capinera. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004. xli, 815. ISBN 0792386701. info
  • HEMING, B. S. Insect development and evolution. Ithaca, N.Y.: Comstock Pub. Associates, 2003. xv, 444. ISBN 0801439337. info
Teaching methods
lectures, class discussion, excerptions of literature
Assessment methods
Oral exam, usually as a discussion of the lecturer with a student on three selected topics from the contents of the course. To pass, the student needs to be able to correctly answer all basic questions aiming at the heart of the problems and to demonstrate her/his general knowledge of the topics.
Language of instruction
Follow-Up Courses
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
The course is taught annually.
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2011, Autumn 2011 - acreditation, Autumn 2012, Autumn 2015, autumn 2017, Autumn 2019.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Autumn 2013, recent)
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