Biological Interactions and Social Behaviour in Insects

A.Y. 2023/2024
Overall hours
Learning objectives
the course aims to provide the students an overview on the complex mutualistic and antagonistic interactions between insects and other insects, microorganisms, plants and animals. In addition, the course aims to introduce the molecular mechanisms underpinning those interactions and that results from a long coevolution process. Key knowledge on the biology and ethology of the social behaviour in insects will be also provided.
Expected learning outcomes
The students will be able to understand the complex interactions between insects and other organisms and the molecular mechanisms underlying mutualistic and antagonistic interactions. In addition, they will acquire the knowledge of key biological and ethological aspects of social behaviour in insects.
Single course

This course can be attended as a single course.

Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The course will deal with the following topics:
- Introduction to the concept of biological interaction.
- Brief overview on antagonistic and mutualistic interactions involving insects and other organisms.
- Insect-insect and insect-arthropods interactions: predation, parasitism, and mutualistic symbioses as myrmecophily.
- Insect-plant interactions, with focus on mutualistic interactions as pollination and myrmecory.
- Insect-microorganism interactions: entomopathogens and mutualistic symbioses (primary and secondary symbionts).
- The social behaviour in insects: definitions and examples of subsociality and eusociality.
Prerequisites for admission
Mandatory preparatory courses are not required, but good knowledge of general entomology is recommended.
Teaching methods
The course includes lectures and seminars.
Teaching Resources
- "Gli insetti e il loro controllo" Francesco Pennacchio, Liguori Editore
- "Le politiche degli insetti" Stefano Turillazzi, Edizioni ETS
Additional materials will be made available to students on the Ariel platform (slides, insights and articles).
Assessment methods and Criteria
The students have to pass an oral exam and the final evaluation (awarded in a grade out of thirty) will take into account the language property and the level of knowledge and understanding of the main aspects concerning the interaction between insects and other organisms and insect social behaviour.
BIO/05 - ZOOLOGY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Caccia Silvia
thursday morning, by previous email to fix the time
office of the professor, via Celoria 26, piano terra torre B