Insects are incredibly cool (or, a whirlwind tour of my Entomology course)

When I’m not writing Scientist Sees Squirrel (or writing books about the lovers, heroes, and bums commemorated in the Latin names of organisms), I have a day job.  I’m a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton, Canada.  Over my years at UNB I’ve taught first-year biology, introductory ecology, population biology, biostatistics, scientific writing, non-majors biology, field ecology, and more.  But I’ve just finished teaching the course I might love most of all: entomology.

I don’t really know what I am, scientifically, but I’m often mistaken for an entomologist. And it’s true, I know some stuff about insects.  The most important thing I know about them is probably that they’re just about endlessly diverse, endlessly beautiful, and endlessly fascinating.  So when I teach my entomology course, I spend a lot of time rhapsodizing about how cool insects are.  I’ve been lucky to have students who agree with me about that, or at least who can be persuaded to agree!

I’ve just wrapped up the 2019 version of the course, and this year I made a point of sharing on Twitter a single-slide highlight from each lecture – plus, from each lecture, the slide for my “Bug of the Day”.  (No, they needn’t always be “bugs” in the annoyingly strict sense.)  In each lecture, Bug of the Day gives me a chatter excitedly for a few moments about a particularly cool bug – and also gives everyone a chance to stretch and to reset their attention spans.

I think these lecture-highlight tweets have some pretty cool bits of biology in them – and some beautiful insects too.  So if you’re not on Twitter, here’s your chance to check them out.  You can see the whole thread nicely compiled by clicking on the image:Or if you’d rather see it in Twitter’s interface, here’s the link to that.


© Stephen Heard  December 19, 2019

Image: A small sampling of beetle diversity.  Photo by Alex Wild; a public domain image produced by the “Insects Unlocked” project at the University of Texas at Austin.

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