Our research interests

Ecology and the Evolution of Life Histories:

  • Body size
  • Sexual size dimorphism
  • Egg size
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Aging and senescence
  • Maternal effects
  • Inbreeding depression

Insect-Plant Interactions:

  • Diet evolution
  • Adaptation to host plants

Insect Behavioral Ecology:

  • Egg laying decisions
  • Sexual selection on body size / sexual dimorphism

Our beetles & legumes

Here at the Fox lab we primarily work with bean beetles (Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae). These beetles, commonly referred to as bruchid beetles, are an excellent model system as their life history makes for easy lab maintenance and experimental manipulation.

Female beetles will glue their eggs to seeds, where offspring will subsequently burrow in and feed until maturation. Adult beetles emerge from seeds, mate and lay eggs, continuing the cycle.

The species we have in the lab do not require food or water, so maintaining colonies of numerous species and using these beetles for experiments is relatively easy. Bruchid beetles vary between species and across populations within species in many interesting behavioral and physiological traits. Even larval behavior is interesting in these beetles.

These traits make these beetles simple, interesting and exciting to work with in our lab! For photos of our beetles and legumes click here.

In our lab we have active colonies of:

  • Callosobruchus maculatus from Yemen, Mali, Brazil, and California
  • Callosobruchus chinensis
  • Callosobruchus rhodesianus
We have a variety of seeds/legumes that we use to maintain and rear beetle colonies as well as for experimental purposes.
  • Mung bean (Vigna radiata)
  • Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata)
  • Lentil (Lens culinaris)
  • Adzuki bean (Vigna angularis)
  • Catclaw acacia (Senagalia greggii)
  • Whitethorn acacia (Vachellia constricta)
  • Texas Ebony (Ebenopsis ebano)
  • Foothill palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla)
  • Blue palo verde (Parkinsonia florida)

Lab news

Harvard bound

Our Post-Doctoral Scholar, Joseph Deas, is now at Harvard to work with Dr. Cassandra Extavour. We are very excited for Joe but were sad to see him go.


Dr. Fox has new publications that have recently been accepted and are now on our publications page!

Field work

Our work is typically only in the lab, but this summer we took our nets to the field to collect flies for a collaborator!

Trip abroad to Bath, England

For the month of June, Dr. Fox was in Bath, England visiting with Jason Wolf! He received a visiting professorship and was also working with co-workers of the journal Functional Ecology.

CEEB presentation

This past spring, one of our lab members presented her PhD research for the Center for Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (CEEB) 2015 Spring Research Symposium at the University of Kentucky. Melise Lecheta visited our lab from Brazil to analyze data for her PhD and is now co-advised by Dr. Fox. She recently returned to Brazil to finish her PhD.