Skip to main content

Unit information: Insect Biology in 2021/22

Unit name Insect Biology
Unit code BIOL20204
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2D (weeks 19 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Wall
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims


To introduce you to the morphology and physiology of insects, their development and life-cycles, their evolution, behaviour and ecology.

There are more species of insect on earth than all other animals combined. Dazzlingly beautiful, behaviourally complex and ecologically essential, they play fundamental roles in almost all biological communities and ecosystems. This unit will introduce you to the morphology and physiology of insects, their development and life cycles, their evolution, behaviour and ecology. The unit will adopt an ecological perspective and emphasise the intimate relationships between insects, their behaviour and their environment.

Topics include: insect diversity and abundance, external morphology, the cuticle and moulting, digestion, nutrition and feeding, excretory systems, the tracheal system, the circulatory system, reproductive systems, flight and locomotion, sensory systems, and receptors, the naming and classification of insects, insect evolution, insect development and insect reproduction.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of the unit will enable you to:

  • Demonstrate that you understand the key morphological and physiological features of insects by writing definitions of terms, annotating and/or labelling drawings.
  • Demonstrate that you understand the important characters which distinguish representative specimens of the most abundant insect orders by correctly labelling and identifying drawings or specimens.
  • Demonstrate that you understand aspects of insect physiology, morphology and sensory biology in relation to insect evolution, ecology and behaviour by writing short notes and/or essays on the functioning and/or evolution of insect organs and organ systems.
  • Demonstrate that you have a broad appreciation of the diversity, anatomy and morphology of insects by incorporating examples into short notes and essays.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the evolutionary pressures and adaptive solutions which equip insects for life in a variety of habitats by writing notes or essays.

Teaching Information

Lectures, directed reading, research and/or problem-solving activities; practical exercises and independent study.

Assessment Information

Coursework (40%) plus summative written assessment (60%) with one essay question to be selected from a choice of two.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOL20204).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.