Lab 4: Identification of Immature Insects

In this lab you will learn how immatures differ from adult insects and begin identifying the immature insects you have collected using a “KWIK-KEY”.  

Objectives

The main objectives of this lab are to help you:

  1.   learn to distinguish among nymphs, larvae, and adults
  2.   begin identifying (to order) immature insects that you will submit with your insect collection

Activities

1. Review

Before lab, review Preserving Insects In Alcohol, and The Bug Bytes page on Morphogenesis.

2. Bring Materials for Lab

See the list at the bottom of this page (IMPORTANT: if you do not bring these materials, you will not be be able to complete this lab)

3. Prepare Collected Immatures

Assemble your collected immatures, or insects you think might be immatures.  If you have accidentally pinned an immature(s), include them as well (i.e. we can correct your mistake with a label).  Ideally, your immature insects should be preserved in Kahle’s solution or alcohol according to these instructions.  It may be necessary to remove insects from the glass vials and examine them under a microscope to see the characters needed for identification. Don’t let the specimens dry out. Return them to the vial and replace any missing alcohol when you finish looking at them.

4. Lab Exercises:  Identify Your Immature Insects

PART A (Get “10 Orders Collection” Graded):  You will be graded on your identification and preparation of specimens from 10 different orders. These can be any combination of adults and immatures.  For details of this lab exercise, please go to the ENT 425 Moodle site. DE Students, please go to the ENT 425 Moodle site to see how to get graded.

PART B (Identifying Your Immature Insects):  Using the “KWIK-KEY” below, you will begin identifying the immature insect specimens you have collected. You will be graded on your identification and preparation of specimens from 5 different orders. For details of this lab exercise, please go to the ENT 425 Moodle site. DE Students, please go to the ENT 425 Moodle site to see how to get graded.

The “KWIK-KEY to Immatures and Wingless Adult Insects” is available in 2 forms; use whichever form suits you best:

KWIK-KEY Handout (print and bring to lab)

KWIK-KEY Online Guide (use with smartphone or computer)

Materials

At minimum, you will need the following materials for this lab:

  • Your collected immature insects
  • Temporary labels (small cut pieces of paper).  Remember – use only pencil to fill these out.
  • 70% ethyl alcohol and “Kahle’s Solution” (both provided in lab)
  • Stereomicroscope (provided in lab)
  • KWIK-KEY to Immatures and Wingless Adult Insects (see above)
  • Smartphone or computer, to access class website and Moodle.