2021 Insect Reflections

This was my first year as an instructor at Art and Science in the Woods since 2018. As before, I am so appreciative of the Sun Foundation for asking me to be an instructor and to Bob and Joan Ericksen for allowing so many to visit their home and farm and roam the fields and forests looking for insects. It was a great opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for insects with so many. I particularly liked the visiting instructor format this year. I believe it allowed me to meet a wider spectrum of students and teachers than I have been able to do in the past (with a major class and minor classes each afternoon). Hopefully, many people now have a greater appreciation for the little things which run our world.

Since there was a different format this year and students had liited opportunities to learn how to collect and observe insects, I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief overview of what we encountered in the way of insect diversity. This does not include the ticks, chiggers, spiders and other arthropods we found.

  • Monday (1 class) – 6 orders, 18 families
  • Tuesday (1 class) – 7 orders, 29 families
  • Wednesday (1 class – all day) – 8 orders, 46 families
  • Thursday (2 classes) – 8 orders, 27 families in the morning class; 7 orders, 27 families in the afternoon class
  • Friday (2 classes) – 7 orders, 23 families in the morning class; 7 orders, 15 families in the afternoon class.

Obviously, many families of insects were encountered more than once. If we eliminate duplicates for the week, there were a total of 11 orders of insects encountered representing 82 families.

Unique insect taxa encountered this week

When you examine all the insects we encountered during the week (and remove duplicate orders and families), we arrive at the following list of taxa. I think this is reasonably impressive for one week’s worth of observations by students in various classes at the Sun Foundation Art and Science in the Woods event.

Order Blattodea (cockroaches)

Order Coleoptera (beetles)

Order Dermaptera (earwigs)

Order Diptera (flies)

Order Hemiptera (true bugs)

Order Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps)

Order Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths, skippers)

Order Mantodea (praying mantids)

Order Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)

Order Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets)

Order Phasmatodea (walkingsticks)

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