Insect Biology and Identification

General Description:

This course will provide an introduction to the natural history, ecology, and identification of insects of the Sierra Nevada. Emphasis will be on characteristics of the major groups of insects. Daily field trips to a variety of sierran localities will allow students to study living insects in a number of different ecological settings. Nightly slide presentations and informal laboratory work will introduce students to interesting aspects of insect biology and give instruction on techniques for identifying, collecting, and preserving insects. This should be a useful course for teachers or anyone interested in natural history. No previous background in insect study is required. Click here to view a partial list of butterflies and insects collected in this area.


John Hafernik

Class Schedule

Students should arrive Sunday evening but class starts 9 am Monday morning and finishes Friday noon,

Supplies and Other Useful Item


Insect nets and other supplies will be provided. If you wish to keep a collection of insects, you will need to bring boxes about as deep as a standard cigar box and with a soft pinning bottom (cork, cardboard, styrofoam, etc.) for storing your insect specimens. For those interested in purchasing entomological equipment, I will have catalogues from various biological supply houses available for you to look at.


  • Borror & White 1970. A Field Guide to the Insects. Peterson Field Guide Series
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  • Also useful:

  • Powell & Hogue 1979. California Insects
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  • University of California Press The Peterson Field Guide to the Beetles
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  • Books in the How to Know Series --such as How to Know the Insects, Beetles, Butterflies, True Bugs, etc.
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I will also have a small library including these and other books on insect biology available for your use during the course.

Insect and Spider Links

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