Department of Entomology


Anopheles dirus

Anopheles dirus is a major vector of human malaria in Southeast Asia. This highly anthropophilic species is an efficient malaria vector inhabiting forested areas. Gem-miners in the forests of Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand often leave behind numerous holes in the ground, which quickly fill with rainwater, thereby creating ideal breeding sites for An. dirus (formerly An. balabacensis).

Ruth's cuckoo bee

Ruth's cuckoo bee, Holcopasites ruthae (Hymenoptera: Apidae), was discovered in 1991 on the UCR campus by Professor Emeritus Kenneth Cooper, who named it in honor of his wife. As with other cleptoparasitic bees, H. ruthae females deposit their eggs in the nests of other bees, which do the work of collecting pollen for their larvae. H. ruthae parasitizes the subterranean nests of Calliopsis pugionis (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae).


The "greenest tiger beetle," Cicindela tranquebarica viridissima (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae) occurs in a few small colonies within the Santa Ana River watershed. All tiger beetles are predators; the sedentary larvae snatch small insects which pass near their soil burrows, while the alert, swift adults actively hunt their prey along stream margins.


This Coelioxys (Hymenoptera; Megachilidae) is a cleptoparasitic bee. It does not collect pollen to feed its young; instead, it lays its eggs in the nests of leaf cutter bees (Megachile). When the egg hatches, the Coelioxys larva kills the host larva and then eats the provisions provided by the adult host.


Conura amoena (Hymenoptera: Chalcididae) is a chalcid wasp which parasitizes the pupae of small butterflies, in this case the common gray hairstreak Strymon melinus.


This male Dasymutilla sp. (Hymenoptera: Mutillidae), a.k.a. velvet ant, often visits flowers, while the wingless female, is usually encountered crawling over the ground in search of the nests of soil-nesting hunting wasps, where she lays her eggs. The mutillid larva will eventually eat the pupa of the host wasp. The female velvet ant has a powerful sting, while the male, as with other wasps, does not.

Hercules beetle

The Hercules beetle, Dynastes hercules (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), from Central America, is known for its impressive size and the elongate horns of the male, that are used to fight other males to attract the attention of the hornless female.


Wasps in the genus Eusapyga (Hymenoptera: Sapygidae) are parasitic in the nests of leaf-cutter bees and their relatives in the family Megachilidae (Hymenoptera).


Rhaphiomidas terminatus abdominalis Cazier (family Mydidae) is commonly known as the Delhi Sands Flower-loving Fly and is federally protected as an endangered species. It is now restricted to only a few hundred acres of what remains of the Delhi Sands formation of Southern California. The adults are only active for a few weeks each year, feeding on flowers, in August and September. The larvae are likely predators that live deep in the sand.


Leptogaster sp. (Diptera: Asilidae) robber flies typically inhabit low vegetation and especially grasses. Unlike most other robber flies, which capture prey on the wing, the slender-bodied leptogastrine asilids hunt stationary prey on grass stems and twigs.


This immature female leaf insect (Phyllium) (Phasmida: Phylliidae) from northern Thailand is a nearly perfect mimic of a leaf, complete with veins, necrotic spots, and ragged margins resembling feeding damage from other insects. Crypsis even extends to the insect's behavior, as it rocks back and forth in a quaking motion, resembling a leaf in a gentle breeze, when slowly moving forward.

Lexias dirtea merguia

Lexias dirtea merguia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Limenitidini) inhabits forests of SE Asia and is a frequent visitor to rotting fruit on the forest floor. In this species there is strong sexual dimorphism; while the female is brown with yellow spots, the male is primarily black and blue.


Oncerometopus nigriclavus Reuter (Heteroptera: Miridae) is a true bug. Mirids use their specialized piercing mouthparts to suck the fluids from their hosts and their host associations are often restricted to particular plant species. This species of plant bug, one of over 10,000 in the family, is often found on rabbitbush or brittlebush in California


Parnopes fulvicornis (Hymenoptera: Chrysididae) occurs in dryish habitats of Southwestern North America. It is a cuckoo wasp, so-called because it deposits its eggs in the soil nests of hunting wasps, where its larvae feed on the nest provisions.


One should not handle tarantula hawk wasps unless one can distinguish the sexes. Male Pepsis, such as this one, lack a venomous sting, whereas the females reportedly can deliver the most painful sting of all North American wasps. They use their sting to paralyze tarantulas, on which they deposit an egg after first burying the spider. The paralyzed tarantula remains alive while the wasp larva consumes it.

Perilampus regalis

(Hymenoptera: Perilampidae) is a secondary parasite of tachinid flies and chalcidoid wasps which parasitize lepidopterous larvae and pupae.

beewolf Philanthus pulcher

The beewolf Philanthus pulcher Dalla Torre (family Crabronidae) is a solitary predatory wasp feeding on bees or other wasps. After stinging and paralyzing their prey, the female beewolf will carry the prey back to its burrow where several paralyzed prey are stashed. She will then lay an egg on the stored prey, upon which the developing larvae feed. The males are territorial, marking twigs and other objects with pheromones.

Entomology in the News


  • The U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention awards an $8 million grant to UC Riverside and UC Davis to launch the Pacific Southwest Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases. Click here to learn more about this exciting new project.
  • Dr. Jocelyn Millar's research on pest chemical communication was featured in the newsletter for The Western Integrated Pest Management Center. Click here to read more.
  • You do not have to look far in order to find a world-class Entomologist. University of California Riverside's entomology program is ranked number two in the world, according to the Center for World University Rankings, and has a team of experts who seek to understand and find ways to prevent insects from obstructing our daily lives.Click here for the article. 
  • The UC Riverside-led DARPA Team, led by Omar Akbari, won the $14.9 Million DARPA grant to battle disease-carrying mosquitos. To learn more about this award click here.
  • Alec Gerry earns Lifetime Achievement Award from Livestock Insect Workers Conference. Click here to learn more about his great achievement.
  • The red palm is a global menace threatening the sustainability of date farming and the existence of ornamental palm trees, like the iconic Canary Island date palm that characterizes many famous localities (e.g., Cannes in France and Carthage in Tunisia). National Public Radio's (NPR) Maanvi Singh discusses the red palm weevil invasion with Mark Hoddle. Click here for the article.                                                                                                        larva1
  • The South American palm weevil is well established in San Diego county where is it responsible for killing hundreds of ornamental Canary Island date palms ( these are palms that have the sub-apical region pruned to look like pineapple). Mark Hoddle worked with Elliott Kennerson and Josh Cassidy with the science show "Deep Look" produced by KQED in San Francisco to make a mini-documentary (~4 mins in length) on the South American palm weevil invasion. A blog on the KQED project is available on the center for Invasive Species Research website. To watch this cool video, click here.                                   Palma  
  • Dr. Naoki Yamanaka has become the first person at UC Riverside to be named a Pew Scholar in the biomedical sciences. The Pew Charitable Trust has awarded him four years of flexible funding to pursue foundational research. Read UCR Today here.
  • Palm weevils are a global menace to date and ornamental palm producers around the world. In this clip, Simon Morton, host of "This Way Up" on Radio New Zealand, interviews Mark Hoddle about this problem and his recent trip to Tunisia at the invitation of the US State Department and US Embassy to assist with the invasion of this country by the highly destructive red palm weevil.
  • Dr. Omar Akbari's lab has found a way to create red-eyed mutant wasps by using CRISPR gene-slicing technology. Through this discovery, the Akbari lab would like to get a better understanding of wasp genetics and other insects in order to find a way to control insects who destroy crops or spread diseases. Read UCR Today here
  • UC Riverside Entomology Department No. 2 in the World - Center for World University Rankings places department second in the world based on research articles in top journals. Read the UCR Today article here
  • Alec Gerry receives $15,000 award for USDA multi-state research project, read UCR Today article here
  • Alexander Raikhel co-led research team to disrupt egg production in Dengue- and Zika-spreading mosquito in UCR Today here
  • Entomology student, Phong Au-Hong, to participate in Junior Summer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College, read UCR Today article here
  • Rick Vetter, University of California, Riverside spider expert, co-authored paper outlining expressions of skin conditions often misdiagnosed as brown recluse bites
  • Dr. Ring Cardé receives Certificate of Distinction at XXV Congress of Entomology.
  • Matt Daugherty, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Riverside Entomology Department, says researchers continue to seek cause and effect answers related to Pierce's disease and the vectors known to spread it around.
  • Mark Hoddle discusses the South American palm weevil invasion in southern California with Alex Cohen on KPCC's Take Two, the NPR station in Pasadena.
  • The South American palm weevil invasion was covered by KCAL 9 News and Extension Specialist Mark Hoddle provided commentary on the incursion and the weevil's biology.

  • Mark Hoddle's research has been featured by the New York Times on the South American palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum, which has established in San Diego County and will likely become an unprecedented threat to urban palms, especially iconic Canary Island date palms, and it is probably a significant risk to California's $68 million per year date industry in the Coachella Valley.  This weevil has killed scores of Canary Island date palms in Tijuana Mexico. The South American palm weevil has spread north from Tijuana into San Ysidro as far as Chula Vista in San Diego County where it has been associated with dead palm trees. Read the New York Times article, California Today: An Invasive Beetle Threatens State’s Southern Palm for more information.

  • Mark Hoddle, an Extension Specialist in Biological Control, participated in a live radio discussion on NPR's "The Exchange" host by Laura Knoy. The topic under debate was the use of natural enemies in biological control programs targeting invasive pests. Dr. Daniel Simberloff, University of Tennessee, participated in the discussion. Hoddle and Simberloff answered questions about biocontrol from listeners who called in to the show. Listen to the NPR segment here.

  • Dr. Hollis Woodard's bee-hunting road trip makes noise loud enough for the New York times to write a piece about it here.
  • A team of scientists, including Jessica Purcell, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, has found that a species of ant that clusters together to form rafts to survive floods exhibits memory and repeatedly occupies the same position during raft formation. See more
  • Dr. Omar Akbari did a highly innovative and technical review by examining the different gene drives systems, analyzed the pros and cons of each and applications associated with them, and also surveyed the safety and regulatory issues associated with them. See more
  • Timothy Paine received the Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences award at the 128th APLU Annual Meeting, which is currently taking place in Indianapolis, Ind. See more
  • Naoki Yamanaka, an assistant professor of Entomology, Suppression of steroid hormone release causes developmental delay. Compared to a control (normal) insect on the left, pupariation of the maggot whose steroid hormone release is disrupted is significantly delayed, and the extended larval feeding period gives rise to a big pupa. See more.
  • An entomologist at the University of California, Riverside has examined the evidence by analyzing the large body of research done in this area to come to the conclusion that managed bees are spreading diseases to wild bees. See more

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