University of Kentucky -- Dept. of Entomology
Udo M. Savalli
B.A., 1985, Cornell University (Biological Sciences)
Ph.D., 1991, University of California at Berkeley (Zoology)

Department of Entomology
107B Animal Pathology Building
College of Agriculture
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY  40546

Phone: 859-257-7472

Division of Biologicial Sciences and Nursing
Lexington Community College
Lexington, KY  40506

Phone: 859-257-4872, ext. 4728



I was born in (then West) Germany, and moved to the United States at age 7. I grew up on Long Island, NY, before attending college at Cornell University. I then moved to California to get my PhD at theUniversity of California at Berkeley. While attending Berkeley, I did field research in Kenya, studying the mating behavior of the Yellow-shouldered Widowbird (Euplectes macrourus). Since graduating, I have taught at a number of institutions, including Humboldt State University, The University of California at Davis, Allegheny College, and Fordham University before coming to Kentucky in 1999. I have also been working in the Laboratory of Dr.Charles Fox (first at Fordham University's Louis Calder Center, and now at theUniversity of Kentucky), studying reproductive strategies in two species of seed beetle.


I am currently teaching several courses at Lexington Community College and Eastern Kentucky University. For more information about the courses I am teaching, visit my Teaching Page.


My research interests concern the function and evolution of social behavior--especially as it pertains to reproductive strategies. This includes mating systems, social systems, parental investment, sexual selection, sexual dimorphism, communication, and coloration. I have worked primarily with birds and insects.
Stator limbatusCurrently I am working with two species of seed beetles (Family Bruchidae), the cowpea weavil, Callosobruchus maculatus, and a desert seed beetle, Stator limbatus. I am investigating the roles of male-male competition, sperm competition and female choice in the evolution of male body size, ejaculate size and sexual dimorphism (males are larger than females in S. limbatus while the reverse is true for C. maculatus) and female reproductive strategies such as mate choice, multiple mating, and egg size decisions. Callosobruchus maculatus
For a more detailed description of my beetle research, click here.

Sexual Selection in Widowbirds
Male WidowbirdMy dissertation research was a field project--at the Kakamega National Reserve, Western Kenya--studying sexual selection in yellow-shouldered widowbirds, Euplectes macrourus . I investigated the evolution of the long tails of males. Using experimental manipulations of tail length, I demonstrated that tail length functions primarily in male-male competition for territories. On the other hand, I found no evidence for female choice of long-tailed males; instead, females seem to select males on the basis of territory attributes, particularly the number of "cock's nests" a male builds. In addition to examining the role of sexual selection, I also considered non-sexual selection alternatives (e.g. species recognition, aposematism/unprofitable prey, and genetic drift) to the evolution of long tails, using both field data and a comparative approach.

For a more detailed description of the widowbird research, click here.

Click here for a complete list of publications

Some Links to Pages of Ornithological, Behavioral, & Evolutionary Interest

Birdnet the master site for all of the North American Ornithological Societies, with many links.
Ornithology Web Site includes photos and links to a few research projects
Birding on the Web many links to bird related sites (not just bird watching)
Animal Behavior Society
Nebraska Behavioral Biology Group information about their own program plus links to many other relevant sites
Animal Behavior at Indiana University
Evolution Links
The Tree of Life

For additional links to more specific research sites, visit the widowbird or beetle pages

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This page last modified on January 6, 2002, by Udo M. Savalli (