BIOSCI 320 : Pure and Applied Entomology


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to the systematics of insects describing the characters that define the major lineages, discussion of the role insects play in different ecological systems, and insect anatomy, physiology, and genetics. Their impact on agriculture and as disease vectors is discussed with descriptions of various control methods for insect pests and how these methods are integrated. Students wishing to complete a course in plant protection should take both BIOSCI 320 and 321.

Course Overview

An introduction to the biology of insects focusing on both the fundamental biology of insects and its application to pest control. Topics covered in lectures include (1) systematics and evolution: understanding how the major groups of insects relate to one another and to other arthropods, (2) structure, function and behaviour: exploring the key adaptations that have led to the dominance of insects on earth. (3) ecology: investigating the roles of insects in ecosystems and their conservation, and (4) applied entomology: evaluating the role of insects as pests and disease vectors, and methods used to control insect populations. A key feature of the course is the development of a museum-quality insect collection. Students will learn all the skills required to collect, identify, prepare and display insects. The course also involves an intensive residential field trip, where all the required entomological skills are developed.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 103 and 15 points from Stage II Biological Sciences courses

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand the diversity and whakapapa (relationships) of insects in Aotearoa. (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  2. Identify insects to order (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  3. Collect, prepare, label and present insect specimens for a Museum collection (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Use keys to identify select New Zealand insects to species (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Describe insect sensory and reproductive adaptations and evaluate the evidence for their adaptive significance (Capability 1 and 2)
  6. Understand the role of insects in ecosystems (Capability 1 and 2)
  7. Assess the costs and benefits of various methods of insect pest control (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  8. Argue for or against the introduction of a novel biological control agent to New Zealand (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 10% Individual Test
Assignments 10% Individual Coursework
Practical 35% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 45% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Final Exam

Learning Resources

We recommend the following book which is available from the library as an eBook or hard copy, or which can be purchased from the University bookstore: Gullan, P. J., & Cranston, P. S. (2014). The insects: an outline of entomology. John Wiley & Sons.

Special Requirements

This course involves a three day/two night residential field trip and  the production and submission of a major museum-quality insect collection that involves consistent work throughout the semester. Studdents must  pass both practical and theory components of the course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, 3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and work on assignments and/or test preparation. In addition, students are expected to spend at least 4 hours per week through the semester on their major insect collection assignment

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 12/02/2020 08:12 p.m.