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Raul Medina

Medina, Raul
Raul Medina
Biological Control Laboratory
(979) 845-4775
Undergraduate Education
B.S. Department of Biology, Universidad Nacional Agraria la Molina 1995
Graduate Education
Ph.D. Department of Entomology, University of Maryland 2005
M.S. Department of Entomology, University of Maryland 1999

My research interests center on the role that ecological factors play in the population genetics of insects.

We are currently assessing how common host-associated differentiation (HAD) is in nature as well as exploring the factors that may explain its existence. Host-associated differentiation is the formation of genetically distinct lineages in parasites associated with different host species. Thus, these host-associated lineages can occur in herbivorous insects associated with different host-plant species as well as in parasitoids associated with different host-plant complexes. HAD has been postulated as a process explaining insect staggering biodiversity thus, increasing our knowledge on HAD will improve our understanding of insect biodiversity.

Another important component of my research addresses how the understanding of microevolution and ecological genetics may impact pest control practices in agro-ecosystems. The importance of micro-evolutionary forces in agricultural systems should not be underestimated. Understanding how ecological interactions (e.g. plant-insect, predator-prey, parasitoid-host interactions) affect the population structure (i.e., the genetic differentiation of populations) of insect pests and their predators will improve the way we control pest species in agro-ecosystems. For example, populations of certain pest species differ in their ability to resist natural enemies (i.e., predators and parasitic insects used to control pests) as well as chemical attacks. Similarly, different populations of natural enemies differ in their ability to attack pests on different host-plant species. Understanding how these genetic differences among populations influence the vulnerability of pest species to their natural enemies and to agricultural practices (e.g., insecticide use, irrigation practices, etc) will improve the success of pest management by allowing us to design biological control practices tailored to specific pest populations in specific regions. This improvement in biological control will reduce our reliance on chemical control reducing farmers’ production costs and chemical pollution. At the moment my laboratory is studying how host-plant association, mating behavior, association with microbial symbionts and geographic factors may all influence the way in which insect populations are structured. My lab is also exploring how the number of hosts used by parasitoid species mediates their population structure patterns.


I teach a graduate course (Principles of Integrated Pest Management ENTO631) and two undergraduate courses (Principles of Integrated Pest Management ENTO401 and General Entomology ENTO201).


*     Undergraduate student
**   Graduate student
*** Post-doc
†     Undergraduate, Graduate student, post-doc or visiting scientist that interned at my laboratory

Jones**, T.L., and Medina, R.F. 2020. Corn stunt disease: an ideal insect-microbial-plant pathosystem for comprehensive studies of vector-borne plant diseases of corn. Plants. 9: 747, doi:10.3390/plants9060747

Modarelli, J.J., Westrich, B.J., Milholland, M., Tietjen, M., Castro-Arellano, I., Medina, R.F., Esteve-Gassent, M.D. 2020. Prevalence of protozoan parasites in small and medium mammals in Texas, USA. International Journal of Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 11: 229-234, doi: 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2020.02.005

Holt**, J.R., Styer, A., White, J.A., Armstrong, J.S., Nibouche, S., Costet, L., Malacrinò, A., Antwi, J.B., Wulff, J., Peterson, G., McLaren, N., and Medina, R.F. 2020. Differences in microbiota between two multilocus lineages of the sugarcane aphid (Melanaphis sacchari) in the continental US. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 113: 257-265, doi:10.1093/aesa/saaa003

Carbaugh**, J.R., Renthal, R.D., Vinson, S.B., Medina, R.F. 2019. Color discrimination and preference in the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren. Insectes Sociaux. 67: 167-178. DOI 10.1007/s00040-019-00740-w

Bernal, J. Dávila-Flores, A., Medina, R.F., Chen, Y.H., Harrison**, K., and Berrier, K. 2019. Did maize domestication and early spread mediate the population genetics of Corn leafhopper? Insect Science 26: 569-586 DOI: 10.1111/1744-7917.12555

Tietjen**, M., Esteve-Gassent, M., and Medina, R.F.2018. Searching for the immature stages of Ixodes scapularis(Acari: Ixodidae) in the southern US in leaf litter and soil. Journal of Medical Entomology. doi:10.1093/jme/tjy157

Nibouche, S., Costet, L., Holt**, J.R., Jacobson, A., Pekarcik, A., Sadeyen, J., Armstrong, J.S., Peterson, G.C., McLaren, N., Medina, R.F. 2018Invasion of sorghum in the Americas by a new sugarcane aphid (Melanaphis sacchari) superclone.PLoS ONE 13(4): e0196124. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196124

Malacrinò, A., Campolo, O., Medina, R.F., and Palmeri, V. 2018. Instar- and host-associated differentiation of bacterial communities in the Mediterraneanfruit fly Ceratitis capitata. PLoS ONE 13(3):e0194131, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal. pone.0194131

Bernal, J.S. and Medina R.F. 2018. Agriculture sows pests. Current Opinion in Insect Science. DOI: 10.1016/j.cois.2018.01.008

Bernal, J. Dávila-Flores, A., Medina, R.F., Chen, Y.H., Harrison**, K., and Berrier, K. 2017. Did maize domestication and early spread mediate the population genetics of Corn leafhopper? Insect Science. DOI: 10.1111/1744-7917.12555

Medina, R.F. Gene drives and the management of agricultural pests. 2017. Journal of Responsible   Innovation. DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2017.1407913

Murray, R., Amasino, R.M., Bradbury, S.P., Evans, B., Evans, S. L., Isaacs, F., Johnson, R., Krebs, M., Kuzma, J., Maxon, M., Medina, R.F., Rejeski, D., Wolt, J., 2017. Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology. Washington DC: The National Academies Press.

Medina, R.F., Armstrong, S.J., and Harrison, K. 2017. Genetic Population Structure of the Sugarcane Aphid, Melanaphis sacchari, Zehntner (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in sorghum, sugarcane and Jonhson Grass in the continental United States. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 162: 358-365

Medina, R.F., Dickey, A.M., Harrison, K., and Miller, G.L. 2017. Host-associated differentiation in a pecan and water hickory Aphidomorpha community. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 162: 366-378

Medina, R.F. Host races. 2017. In Reference Module in Life Sciences, Elsevier, March 9th 2017, ISBN 9780128096338, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-809633-8.12248-4

Vyavhare, S., M., Way, M.O., Medina, R.F.  2016. White clover as an alternate host to soybean for red-banded stink bug. Southwestern Entomologist 41: 303–312

Esteve-Gassent, M., Castro-Arellano, I.  Feria-Arroyo, T., Patino R., Li, A., Medina, R.F., Perez de Leon, A., and Rodriguez-Vivas, R. 2016. Translating ecology, physiology, biochemistry and population genetics research to meet the challenge of tick and tick-borne diseases in North America. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. DOI: 10.1002/arch.21327

Vyavhare, S., M., Medina, R.F., and Way, M.O. 2015. Determination of Growth Stage-Specific Response of Soybean to Redbanded Stink Bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and its Relationship to the Development of Flat Pods. Journal of Economic Entomology 108: 1770-1778

Antwi, J., Sword, G., and Medina, R.F. 2015. Host-associated differentiation in a highly polyphagous,             sexually reproducing insect herbivore. Ecology and Evolution 5: 2533-2543

Vyavhare, S., Way, M. O., Pearson, P. A., and Medina, R. F. 2015. Redbanded stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) infestation and occurrence of delayed maturity in soybean. Journal of Economic Entomology 108:1516-1525

Esteve-Gassent, M.D., Grover, A., Feria-Arroyo, P., Castro-Arellano, I., Gordillo-Perez, Pérez de León, A., and Medina, R.F. 2015. Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected ticks from wildlife hosts, a response to Norris et al. Parasites and vectors 8:129. DOI 10.1186/s13071-015-0739-z

Laura Martin, Rachel Adams, Ashley Bateman, Holly M. Bik, Samuel Crane, Lynn Fellman, John Hawks, Sarah M. Hird, David Hughes, Steven Kembel, Kerry Kinney, Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, Gabriel Levy, Craig McClain, James F. Meadow, Raul F. Medina, Gwynne Mhuireach, Corrie S. Moreau, Jason Munshi-South, Clare Palmer, Laura Popova, Coby Schal, Jeffrey Siegel, Martin Taeubel, Michelle Trautwein, Juan Ugalde, Will Wilson, Robert R. Dunn. 2015. Evolution in the indoor biome. TREE 30: 223-232

Vyavhare, S., Way, M. O. and Medina, R. F. 2014. Stink Bug Species Composition and Relative Abundance of the Redbanded Stink Bug in Soybean in the Upper Gulf Coast Texas. Environmental Entomology 43:1621-1627

Joyce, A.L., White, W.H., Nuessly, G.S., Solis, M.A., Scheffer, S.J., Lewis, M.L.,  & Medina, R.F. 2014 Geographic population genetic structure of Diatraea saccharalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), the sugarcane borer, in the southern U.S. PLOS ONE 9(10) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110036

Feria-Arroyo, P., Castro-Arellano, I., Gordillo-Perez, G., Cavazos, A.L., Vargas-Sandoval, M., Grover, A., Torres, J., Medina, R.F., Pérez de León, A., and Esteve-Gassent, M.D. 2014. Implications of Climate Change on the Distribution of the Tick Vector Ixodes scapularis and Risk for Lyme Disease in the Texas-Mexico Transboundary Region. Parasites and vectors 7:199 doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-199

Joyce, A.L., White, W, & Medina, R. F. 2014. Host plants impact courtship vibration transmission and mating success of a parasitoid wasp, Cotesia flavipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Evolutionary Ecology 28: 361-372

Medina, R.F., Szendrei, Z., Harrison, K., Isaacs, R., Averill, A., Malo, E., Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2014. Exploring host-associated differentiation in the North American native cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), from blueberries and cranberries. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 150: 136-148

Bellota-Villafuerte, E., Medina, R. F., Bernal, J. S. 2013. Physical leaf defenses – altered by Zea life-history evolution, domestication, and breeding – mediate oviposition preference of a specialist leafhoppers. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 149: 185-195

Barman, A.K., Sansone, C.G. Parajulee, M.N, and Medina, R.F. 2013. Population genetic structure of Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Hemiptera: Miridae) in the cotton growing regions of the United States. Journal of Economic Entomology 106: 2225-2233

Medina, R.F. 2012. Implications of host-associated differentiation in the control of outbreak species, in Insect Outbreaks Revisited, P. Barbosa, D. Letourneau, J. Shultz (eds.), Blackwell Publishing LTD, Oxford, pages: 291-310

Simonato, M., Battisti, A., Zovi, D., and Medina, R.F., 2012. Testing for host associated differentiation in two egg parasitoids of a forest herbivore. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 145: 124-133

Dickey, A.M., and Medina, R.F. 2012. Host-associated genetic differentiation in pecan leaf   phylloxera. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 143:127-137

Medina, R.F., Reyna, S.M., and Bernal, J.S. 2012. Population genetic structure of a specialist leafhopper on Zea: Likely anthropogenic and ecological determinants of gene flow. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 142: 223-235

Barman, A.K., Parajulee, M.N., Sansone, C.G., Suh, C.P.C., and Medina, R.F. 2012. Geographic pattern of host-associated differentiation in Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 143:31-41

Barman, A.K., Parajulee, M.N., Sansone, C.G., and Medina, R.F. 2012. Host preference of cotton fleahopper, Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter) is not labile to geographic origin and prior experience. Environmental Entomology 41: 125-132

Hartfield, E., Harris, M.K, and Medina, R.F. 2012. Population structure of Acrobasis nuxvorella. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 14: 119-125

Dickey, A.M., and Medina, R.F. 2011. Immigrant inviability in yellow pecan aphid. Ecological Entomology 36: 526-531

Hartfield, E., Harris, M.K, and Medina, R.F. 2011. Relative abundance and flight phenology of two pheromone types of Acrobasis nuxvorella Neunzig (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Environmental Entomology, 40: 889-892

Dickey, A.M., and Medina, R.F. 2011. Lack of sequential radiation in a parasitoid of a host-associated aphid. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 139: 154-160

Medina, R.F., Nachappa, P., and Tamborindeguy, C. 2011. Differences in bacterial diversity of host-associated populations of Phylloxera notabilis Pergande (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in pecan and water hickory. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24: 761-771

Sánchez-Peña, S.R., Medina, R.F., San-Juan Lara, J. 2011. Occurrence of entomopathogenic fungi populations from agricultural and natural ecosystems and their virulence. Journal of Insect Science 11(1): 1-10

Joyce, A.L., Bernal, J.S., Vinson, S.B., Hunt, R.E., Schulthess, F., and Medina, R.F. 2010. Geographic variation in male courtship acoustics and reproductive isolation of populations of Cotesia sesamiae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and Cotesia flavipes. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 137:153-164

Hartfield, E., Harris, M.K, and Medina, R.F. 2010. Searching for pheromone strains in the pecan nut casebearer. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 137:11-18

Dickey, A.M., and Medina, R.F. 2010. Testing Host Associated Genetic Differentiation in a Quasi-endophage, and a Parthenogen on Native Trees. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 945-956.

Medina, R. F., Rondon, S.I., Reyna, S. and Dickey, A. 2010. Population Structure of the Potato Tuberworm Phthorimaea operculella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in the United States, Environmental Entomology 39:1037-1042.

Barrientos-Lozano, L., Medina, R.F., and Rocha-Sanchez, A.Y. 2009. Contribution to geographic distribution of some Mexican Melanoplinae and description of a new species. Journal of Orthoptera Research 18:37-50.

Medina, R. F., and Barbosa, P. 2008. The Role of Host-Plant Species in the Phenotypic Differentiation of Sympatric Populations of Aleiodes nolophanae and Cotesia marginiventris, Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 128: 14-26.

Medina, R. F., P. Barbosa, M. Christman and A. Battisti. 2006. Number of Individuals and Molecular Markers to Use in Genetic Differentiation Studies. Molecular Ecology Notes 6: 1010-1013.

Medina, R. F., P. Barbosa, and K. Waddel. 2005. Parasitism levels in Orgyia leucostigmafeeding on two tree species: Implications for the slow-growth-high-mortality hypothesis. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 115: 193-197.

Erwin T. L., and R. F. Medina. 2003. The neotropical species Askalaphium depressum  (Bates): Larval description, first diagnosis and illustrations of immature Ctenodactylini, with natural history notes on the genus and tribe (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Zootaxa 273:1-15.

Medina, R. F., and P. Barbosa. 2002. Predation of small and large Orgyia leucostigma (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae) larvae by vertebrate and invertebrate predators, Environmental Entomology 31:1097-1102.