An Introduction to the Insects

  • Alan A. Berryman
Part of the Population Ecology: Theory and Application book series (POPE)


Insects are one of the most diverse groups of organisms ever to have crawled and flown over the face of the earth. Arising in the late Devonian era, more than 350 million years ago, insects have diversified and spread into every conceivable ecological niche; today there are over 1 million different species classified in more than two dozen separate orders (Fig. 1.1). Insects have successfully overcome the challenges of radical geologic and climatic changes including the successive ice ages. They will undoubtedly survive attacks by Homo sapiens, with whom they compete for food and fiber, as insects are a genetically flexible and adaptable group of animals. They will learn to live in our polluted wastelands and will survive our campaigns against them and against our fellows, for insects can exist in radiation levels 100 times greater than those that kill humans. How then can we compete with these masters of adaptability? Obviously we cannot eliminate them from the globe. But perhaps we can reduce their ravages to some tolerable level at which we can coexist in relative harmony.


Juvenile Hormone Gall Midge Adult Insect Forest Insect Insect Wing 
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References and Selected Readings

  1. Atkins, M. D., 1978, Insects in Perspective, MacMillian, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Beck, S. D., 1968, Insect Photoperiodism, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Beroza, M., 1970. Chemicals Controlling Insect Behavior, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, F. A., 1972, The “clocks” timing biological rhythms, Am. Sci. 60:756–766.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Edney, E. B., 1957, The Water Relations of Terrestrial Arthropods, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  6. Elizinga, R. J., 1978, Fundamentals of Entomology, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  7. Farb, P., and the editors of Life, 1962, The Insects, Time Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  8. Frost, S. W., 1959, Insect Life and Insect Natural History, 2nd ed., Dover, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Johnson, C. G., 1963, The aerial migration of insects, Sci. Am. 209:132–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Salt, R. W., 1961, Principles of insect cold-hardiness, Ann. Rev. Entomol. 6:55–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Stark, R. W., Graham, K., and Wood, D. L., 1973, Manual of Forest Insects and Damage, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  12. Wells, M., 1968, Lower Animals, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Wilson, E. O., 1971, Insect Societies, Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan A. Berryman
    • 1
  1. 1.Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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