Category Archives: Research

Tomberlin Named AgriLife Research Fellow, Extension Entomology, IPM Agents Receive Superior Service Awards

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The Department of Entomology has started the New Year off right as it celebrates the recipients of the latest round of awards given at the 2017 Texas A&M AgriLife Conference. The awards were given during the Research and Extension awards presentation on Tuesday in the Memorial Student Center’s Bethancourt Ballroom. Dr. Jeff Tomberlin was honored as a Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow, an honorific title he will keep throughout his tenure at Texas A&M.  This was awarded for his outstanding research in the field of… Read More →

AgriLife Research team makes strides in fight against Zika

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION – There’s a war raging on a tiny battlefield and the outcome could well touch millions of people worldwide threatened by Zika and related viruses. The key ally unlocking the mystery surrounding this conflict is the long-dreaded yellow fever virus. Dr. Kevin Myles, Glady “Hazitha” Samuel and Dr. Zach Adelman are Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists at Texas A&M University, College Station, who published “Yellow fever virus capsid protein is a potent suppressor of RNA silencing that binds double-stranded… Read More →

Pietrantonio’s Fire Ant Research Featured in Podcast

Texas A&M Entomology professor Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio’s fire ant research project was recently featured in a video posted by the science media podcast website EarthSky. The podcast is located at, highlights the destructive impact of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren) and the ongoing basic research efforts to conceive better strategies to control this pest. Pietrantonio’s National Science Foundation-funded project, titled “Neuropeptide Receptors and Identification of Genes in Signaling Networks Involved in Reproduction and Nutrition in the Red Imported Fire Ant”, focuses on localizing the neuropeptide… Read More →

Texas A&M Entomology Hosts Joint Vector Borne Disease Workshop with UC-Davis

The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University recently held a two-day workshop in cooperation with the University of California-Davis’ Department of Entomology and Nematology this past weekend to discuss vector-borne diseases in humans, plants, and animals. The two-day event held at the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ‘56 Equine Complex, focused on finding solutions to problems with vector-borne diseases such as Zika, citrus greening and Lyme Disease. The event paired faculty with similar interests, such as genetics and genomics of vectors to those who deal with population structure… Read More →

New AgriLife Research scientists take aim at Zika

By Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION – Today’s news is flooded with reports on Zika; none of them good…until now. Texas A&M AgriLife Research has fielded a Zika team led by two scientists who joined the department of entomology at Texas A&M University on Aug. 1, said Dr. David Ragsdale, department head at College Station. Dr. Zach Adelman and Dr. Kevin Myles were previously at Virginia Tech and now join the ranks of a number of AgriLife Research personnel whose priority has become stopping Zika,… Read More →

AgriLife Research Entomologist Creates Toolbox for Vegetable Producers

by Rod Santa Ana, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications WESLACO – It’s an imaginary toolbox, but Dr. Ismael E. Badillo-Vargas wants to create one for South Texas growers to help them revive what was once a thriving vegetable industry in the Rio Grande Valley. It would contain both short- and long-term strategies to once again harvest vast fields of produce in Texas for local, national and international markets. Badillo-Vargas, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research insect vector entomologist in Weslaco, said insects and the plant diseases they carry represent a… Read More →

Sword’s research plays key role in new technology poised to make major cotton industry contribution

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION—The dream of many Texas cotton farmers plagued by dwindling irrigation water and drought might be to someday produce more fiber using the same amount of water. That dream is fast becoming reality now thanks to a commercially available seed treatment from Indigo Ag called Indigo™ Cotton. The science behind the treatment stems directly from research started by Dr. Greg Sword, a Texas A&M entomologist. But the dream gets better. Sword and Indigo-his industry partner-say that under some conditions the… Read More →

Grad Student Assists In Rediscovery of Grasshopper Species Not Seen in Almost 60 Years

For almost 60 years, scientists thought that Melanoplus foxi Hebard, 1923, a flightless grasshopper endemic to Georgia, was possibly extinct until Ph.D. student Derek Woller and Assistant Research Professor JoVonn Hill at Mississippi State University recently re-discovered the species in May of 2015 after nine years of active searching. Woller became aware of the species in the first place because, for his dissertation, he is examining the evolutionary history of the 24 species that make up the Puer Group (Acrididae: Melanoplinae), which includes M. foxi. He said that… Read More →

New discovery may improve future mosquito control

AgriLife Research scientist’s paper outlines a new mechanism of sugar feeding aversion By: Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION – Major rainfall across most of Texas triggering hordes of mosquitoes coupled with seemingly constant mosquito-related Zika virus media reports from around the globe may have set the stage perfectly for what one researcher deems as a very significant discovery in man’s war against earth’s leading human disease carrier. Dr. David Ragsdale, head of the entomology department at Texas A&M University, College Station, credits Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio,… Read More →

Retired Researcher’s Decades of Work on Texas Spiders Published

Former research assistant Allen Dean has turned an interest in learning about spiders into a decades-long effort to catalog all spider species of Texas. Recently, these records were turned into a 700-page catalogue of Texas spiders that was recently published online. This paper, titled “Catalogue of Texas Spiders,” is the end result of the work of several decades of collecting and researching on various spider species statewide, as well as literature reviews from other publications that were published decades ago. The catalog contains a list of 1,072 species… Read More →