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The Insects: An Outline of Entomology, 4th Edition

February 2010, ©2010, Wiley-Blackwell
The Insects: An Outline of Entomology, 4th Edition (EHEP002680) cover image
This established, popular textbook provides a stimulating and comprehensive introduction to the insects, the animals that represent over half of the planet's biological diversity. In this new fourth edition, the authors introduce the key features of insect structure, function, behavior, ecology and classification, placed within the latest ideas on insect evolution. Much of the book is organised around major biological themes - living on the ground, in water, on plants, in colonies, and as predators, parasites/parasitoids and prey. A strong evolutionary theme is maintained throughout. The ever-growing economic importance of insects is emphasized in new boxes on insect pests, and in chapters on medical and veterinary entomology, and pest management. Updated 'taxoboxes' provide concise information on all aspects of each of the 27 major groupings (orders) of insects.

Key Features:

  • All chapters thoroughly updated with the latest results from international studies
  • Accompanying website with downloadable illustrations and links to video clips
  • All chapters to include new text boxes of topical issues and studies
  • Major revision of systematic and taxonomy chapter
  • Still beautifully illustrated with more new illustrations from the artist, Karina McInnes

A companion resources site is available at This site includes:

  • Copies of the figures from the book for downloading, along with a PDF of the captions.
  • Colour versions of key figures from the book
  • A list of useful web links for each chapter, selected by the author.
Instant access to textbooks as eTextbooks. Learn more at
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List of boxes.

Preface to the fourth edition.

Preface to the third edition.

Preface to the second edition.

Preface and acknowledgments for first edition.


1.1 What is entomology?

1.2 The importance of insects.

1.3 Insect biodiversity.

1.4 Naming and classification of insects.

1.5 Insects in popular culture and commerce.

1.6 Insects as food.

1.7 Culturing insects.

1.8 Insect conservation.

Further reading.


2.1 The cuticle.

2.2 Segmentation and tagmosis.

2.3 The head.

2.4 The thorax.

2.5 The abdomen.

Further reading.


3.1 Muscles and locomotion.

3.2 The nervous system and co-ordination.

3.3 The endocrine system and the function of hormones.

3.4 The circulatory system.

3.5 The tracheal system and gas exchange.

3.6 The gut, digestion, and nutrition.

3.7 The excretory system and waste disposal.

3.8 Reproductive organs.

Further reading.


4.1 Mechanical stimuli.

4.2 Thermal stimuli, 101

4.3 Chemical stimuli.

4.4 Insect vision.

4.5 Insect behavior.

Further reading.


5.1 Bringing the sexes together.

5.2 Courtship.

5.3 Sexual selection.

5.4 Copulation.

5.5 Diversity in genitalic morphology.

5.6 Sperm storage, fertilization, and sex determination.

5.7 Sperm competition.

5.8 Oviparity (egg-laying).

5.9 Ovoviviparity and viviparity.

5.10 Atypical modes of reproduction.

5.11 Physiological control of reproduction.

Further reading.


6.1 Growth.

6.2 Life-history patterns and phases.

6.3 Process and control of molting.

6.4 Voltinism.

6.5 Diapause.

6.6 Dealing with environmental extremes.

6.7 Migration.

6.8 Polymorphism and polyphenism.

6.9 Age-grading.

6.10 Environmental effects on development.

6.11 Climate and insect distributions.

Further reading.


7.1 Systematics.

7.2 The extant Hexapoda.

7.3 Class Entognatha: Protura (proturans), Collembola (springtails), and Diplura (diplurans).

7.4 Class Insecta (true insects).

Further reading.


8.1 Insect biogeography.

8.2 The antiquity of insects.

8.3 Were the first insects aquatic or terrestrial?

8.4 Evolution of wings.

8.5 Evolution of metamorphosis.

8.6 Insect diversification.

8.7 Insect evolution in the Pacific.

Further reading.


9.1 Insects of litter and soil.

9.2 Insects and dead trees or decaying wood.

9.3 Insects and dung.

9.4 Insect–carrion interactions.

9.5 Insect–fungal interactions.

9.6 Cavernicolous insects.

9.7 Environmental monitoring using ground-dwelling hexapods.

Further reading.


10.1 Taxonomic distribution and terminology.

10.2 The evolution of aquatic lifestyles.

10.3 Aquatic insects and their oxygen supplies.

10.4 The aquatic environment.

10.5 Environmental monitoring using aquatic insects.

10.6 Functional feeding groups.

10.7 Insects of temporary waterbodies.

10.8 Insects of the marine, intertidal, and littoral zones.

Further reading.


11.1 Coevolutionary interactions between insects and plants.

11.2 Phytophagy (or herbivory).

11.3 Insects and plant reproductive biology.

11.4 Insects that live mutualistically in specialized plant structures.

Further reading.


12.1 Subsociality in insects.

12.2 Eusociality in insects.

12.3 Inquilines and parasites of social insects.

12.4 Evolution and maintenance of eusociality.

12.5 Success of eusocial insects.

Further reading.


13.1 Prey/host location.

13.2 Prey/host acceptance and manipulation.

13.3 Prey/host selection and specificity.

13.4 Population biology: predator/parasitoid and prey/host abundance.

13.5 The evolutionary success of insect predation and parasitism.

Further reading.


14.1 Defense by hiding.

14.2 Secondary lines of defense.

14.3 Mechanical defenses.

14.4 Chemical defenses.

14.5 Defense by mimicry.

14.6 Collective defenses in gregarious and social insects.

Further reading.


15.1 Insect nuisance and phobia.

15.2 Venoms and allergens.

15.3 Insects as causes and vectors of disease.

15.4 Generalized disease cycles.

15.5 Pathogens.

15.6 Forensic entomology.

Further reading.


16.1 Insects as pests.

16.2 The effects of insecticides.

16.3 Integrated pest management.

16.4 Chemical control.

16.5 Biological control.

16.6 Host-plant resistance to insects.

16.7 Physical control.

16.8 Cultural control.

16.9 Pheromones and other insect attractants.

16.10 Genetic manipulation of insect pests.

Further reading.


17.1 Collection.

17.2 Preservation and curation.

17.3 Identification.

Further reading.


1 Entognatha: non-insect hexapods (Collembola, Diplura, and Protura).

2 Archaeognatha (or Microcoryphia; bristletails).

3 Zygentoma (silverfish).

4 Ephemeroptera (mayflies).

5 Odonata (damselflies and dragonflies).

6 Plecoptera (stoneflies).

7 Dermaptera (earwigs).

8 Embioptera (Embiidina; embiopterans or webspinners).

9 Zoraptera (zorapterans).

10 Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts, katydids, and crickets).

11 Phasmatodea (phasmids, stick-insects or walking sticks).

12 Grylloblattodea (Grylloblattaria or Notoptera; grylloblattids, or ice or rock crawlers).

13 Mantophasmatodea (heelwalkers).

14 Mantodea (mantids, mantises, or praying mantids).

15 Blattodea: roach families (cockroaches or roaches).

16 Blattodea: epifamily Termitoidae (former order Isoptera; termites).

17 Psocodea: “Psocoptera” (bark lice and book lice).

18 Psocodea: “Phthiraptera” (chewing lice and sucking lice).

19 Thysanoptera (thrips).

20 Hemiptera (bugs, cicadas, leafhoppers, planthoppers, spittle bugs, treehoppers, aphids, jumping plant lice, scale insects, and whiteflies).

21 Neuropterida: Neuroptera (lacewings, owlflies, and antlions), Megaloptera (alderflies, dobsonflies, and fishflies) and Raphidioptera (snakeflies).

22 Coleoptera (beetles).

23 Strepsiptera (strepsipterans).

24 Diptera (flies).

25 Mecoptera (hangingflies, scorpionflies, and snowfleas).

26 Siphonaptera (fleas).

27 Trichoptera (caddisflies).

28 Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths).

29 Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, sawflies, and wood wasps).




Appendix: A reference guide to orders.

Companion website

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Penny Gullan and Peter Cranston are professors in the Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, USA., where they jointly teach undergraduate courses in biodiversity, insect systematics and general entomology, and conduct research on Coccoidea and Chironomidae, respectively. They maintain strong connections to the Australian National University, Canberra, where, as Visiting Fellows, much of this fourth edition was revised.
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In the 5 years since the previous (3rd) edition of this textbook, the discipline of entomology has seen some major changes in emphasis. The opening up of global commerce (‘free trade’) has brought with it many accidental passengers, including both potential and actual pestilential insects of our crops, our ornamental plants, and our health. Efforts to prevent further incursions include increased surveillance, in what has become known as biosecurity, at our ports, airports and borders. Entomologists increasingly are employed in quarantine and biosecurity, where they predict threats, and are expected to use diagnostics to recognize pests and distinguish those that are new arrivals. The inevitable newly arrived and established pests must be surveyed and control measures planned. In this edition we discuss several of these ‘emergent’ threats from insects and the diseases that some can carry. 

Molecular techniques of ever-increasing sophistication are now commonplace in many aspects of entomological study, ranging from genomic studies seeking to understand the basis of behaviors to molecular diagnostics and the use of sequences to untangle the phylogeny of this most diverse groups of organisms. Although this book is not the place to detail this fast-evolving field, it presents the results of many molecular studies, particularly in relation to attempts to reconcile different ideas on evolutionary relationships, where much uncertainty remains despite a growing volume of nucleotide sequence data. Since ever more insects have their complete mitochondrial genomes sequenced, and the whole nuclear genome is available for an increasing diversity of insects, there is much scope for comparative studies. Important insights have already come from the ability to ‘silence’ particular genes to observe the outcome, for example in aspects of development and communication.

In this edition of the textbook, the authors have updated and relocated the boxes concerning each major grouping (the traditional orders) from the chapter in which their generalized ecology placed them, to the end of the book, where they can be located more easily. The updated chapter texts are supplemented with additional new boxes on topical subjects including The African honey bee and Colony Collapse Disorder (of bees) in the sphere of apiary, the use of bed nets and resurgence of bed bugs, Dengue fever and West Nile Virus in relation to human health, and some case studies in emergent plant pests, including the Emerald ash borer that is destroying North American landscape trees.

  • All chapters thoroughly updated with the latest results from international studies.
  • All chapters to include new text boxes of topical issues and studies.
  • Major revision of systematic and taxonomy chapter.
See More
  • All chapters thoroughly updated with the latest results from international studies.
  • Accompanying website with downloadable illustrations and links to video clips.
  • All chapters to include new text boxes of topical issues and studies.
  • Major revision of systematic and taxonomy chapter.
  • Still beautifully illustrated with more new illustrations from the artist, Karina McInnes.
See More
"Importantly, the text, illustrations and features such as text Boxes are written and presented in such a stimulating way as to represent an appealing outline of entomology to undergraduates, amateurs, or specialists in related fields including conservation, and the book comes with a high recommendation ." (J Insect Conserv, 2010)


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Companion SiteVisit the companion site for:

  • Copies of the figures from the book for downloading, along with a PDF of the captions.
  • Colour versions of key figures from the book
  • A list of useful web links for each chapter, selected by the author.
See More
Purchase Options
The Insects: An Outline of Entomology, 4th Edition
ISBN : 978-1-4443-3036-6
584 pages
February 2010
$113.95   BUY

Wiley E-Text   
The Insects: An Outline of Entomology, 4th Edition
ISBN : 978-1-118-58366-1
584 pages
March 2013
$113.95   BUY

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