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BL4282   Biology and Behaviour of Social Insects

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 2

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: To be arranged.

This module will examine and compare the biology of the four main groups of social insects: termites, ants, wasps and bees. Sociality in other groups (aphids, beetles) will also be considered briefly. Topics will include the evolution of sociality, social organisation and social control systems, reproductive strategies, and diverse communication modes including pheromonal systems, acoustic systems, and 'bee dances'. Aspects of foraging behaviour and learning abilities will also be considered, particularly for ants (leaf cutter ants, army ants, slave-making ants) and for bees both eusocial and semi-social. There will be strong evolutionary, ecological and behavioural themes, and relevance also to conservation issues.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Permission of Biology Honours Adviser required

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 x 3-hour seminar (x 11 weeks).

Scheduled learning hours: 33

Guided independent study hours: 117

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 0%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: Resubmission of failed item(s) of Coursework


Module coordinator: Dr D M Shuker
Module teaching staff: Prof P Willmer, Dr A Gardner, Dr G Ballantyne