Insect Taxonomy and Systematics (ENTO4004)


Knowledge of the evolutionary relationships between insect groups contributes to our understanding of insect biology and correct taxonomic identification of insects is essential for all areas of entomological research, including pest management. This unit builds on the knowledge gained in second year entomology (BScAgr and BHortSc) and is a core unit for the entomology specialty (BScAgr). Key concepts that underpin the study of insect systematics, biogeography and phylogeny are described using examples from the evolutionary development of insects. The role of morphological, genetic and molecular studies in the classification of insects is examined. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of insect taxonomy through individual projects and assess the impact of evolutionary relationships among insect groups on modern agriculture. Research, inquiry and information literacy skills will be improved through a museum project and a self-directed insect collection. Students will practice their communication skills and develop personal and intellectual autonomy through in-class discussion of current literature.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


(1 x 2hr lecture, 1 x 3hr practical)/week, commencing week 1.


1 x 2hr exam (40%), 1x museum project (25%), 1 x insect collection (25%), 1 x class participation (10%).


Upton MS and Mantle BL, 2010. Methods for collecting, preserving and studying insects and other terrestrial arthropods, 5th edition. The Australian Entomological Society, Miscellaneous Publication No. 3.
Recommended: Naumann, I 1993. CSIRO Handbook of Australian Insect Names. 6th edition, CSIRO Entomology, Melbourne, VIC. 200 pp.
Triplehorn, CA & Johnson, NF 2005. Borror and DeLong's introduction to the study of insects. 7th edition, Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA, 864 pp.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


ENTO2001 or BIOL2021 or BIOL2921

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.