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Greg Sword

Sword, Greg
Greg Sword
Professor and Charles R. Parencia Chair in Cotton Entomology
Entomology Research Lab, 114C, Labs: Entomology Research Lab, 113-120
(979) 862-1702
Undergraduate Education
B.Sc. University of Arizona, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 1992
Graduate Education
Ph.D. University of Texas, Department of Zoology, 1998

Research Interests:
I have broad interests in insect ecology, evolution, genetics and behavior including:

  • Migration and movement
  • Population genetics
  • Functional genomics
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Nutritional ecology
  • Collective behavior
  • Plant-insect-predator interactions
  • Plant-fungus-insect interactions
  • Insect management

My research is multidisciplinary and incorporates approaches ranging from molecular biology to landscape ecology. My recent appointment as the Charles R. Parencia Chair in Cotton Entomology provides me with an exciting and challenging opportunity to further diversify my research program to include insects in cotton agroecosystems.


2010-current: Professor and Charles R. Parencia Chair in Cotton Entomology
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University

2009 – 2010 Associate Professor
Director of First Year Biology
School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney

2006 – 2009 Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney

2000 – 2005 Research Ecologist
USDA-ARS, Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory

1998 – 2000 Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Oxford, Department of Zoology
University of Arizona, ARL-Division of Neurobiology

Teaching Activities:

ENTO402 Field Crop Insects

ENTO681 Current and Emerging Topics in Entomology

ENTO681 Current Topics in Insect Phenotypic Plasticity

ENTO491 Undergraduate Research


Zhou, W., Starr, J.T., Krumm, J. & Sword, G.A. (2016) The fungal endophyte, Chaetomium globosum, affects both above- and below-ground herbivores in cotton. FEMS Microbiology Ecology (early access).

Deans, C.A., Sword, G.A. & Behmer, S.T. (2016) Nutrition as a neglected factor in insect herbivore susceptibility to Bt toxins. Current Opinion in Insect Science 15:97-103.

Robinson, K.l., Tohidi-Esfahani, D., Ponton, F., Simpson, S.J., Sword, G.A. & Lo, N. (2016) Alternative migratory locust phenotypes are associated with differences in the expression of genes encoding the methylation machinery. Insect Molecular Biology 25:105-115.

Lihoreau, M., Buhl, J., Sword, G.A., Raubenheimer, D. & Simpson, S.J. (2015) Nutritional ecology beyond the individual: a conceptual framework for integrating nutrition and social interactions. Ecology Letters 18:273-286.

Deans, C.A., Sword, G.A. & Behmer, S.T. (2015) Revisiting macronutrient regulation in the polyphagous herbivore Helicoverpa zea (Leptidoperta: Noctuidae): New insights via a geometric approach. Journal of Insect Physiology 81:21-27.

Wan, G., Wang, W., Xu, J., Tang, Q., Dai, M., Zhang, F., Sword, G.A., Pan, W. & Chen, F. (2015) Cryptochromes and hormone signal transduction under near-zero magnetic fields: new clues to magnetoreception in a rice planthopper. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0132966.

Wan, G., Jiang, S., Wang, W., Li, G. , Tao, X., Pan, W., Sword, G.A. & Chen, F. (2015) Rice stripe virus counters reduced fecundity in its insect vector by modifying insect physiology, primary endosymbionts and feeding behavior. Scientific Reports 5:12527.

Antwi, J.A., Sword, G.A. & Medina, R.F. (2015) Host-associated differentiation in a highly polyphagous, sexually reproducing insect herbivore. Ecology & Evolution. doi/10.1002/ece3.1526.

Lopez, D.C. & Sword, G.A. (2015) The endophytic fungal entomopathogens Beauveria bassiana and Purpureocillium lilacinum enhance the growth of cultivated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) and negatively affect survival of the cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa zea). Biological Control 89:53-60.

Veran, S., Simpson, S.J., Sword, G.A., Deveson, E., Piry, S., Hines, J.E. & Berthier, K. (2015) Modeling spatiotemporal dynamics of outbreaking species: relative influence of environment and dispersal in the Australian plague locust. Ecology 96:737–748.

Lihoreau, M., Buhl, J., Charleston, M.A., Sword, G.A., Raubenheimer, D. & Simpson, S.J. (2014) Modeling nutrition across organizational levels: from individuals to superorganisms. Journal of Insect Physiology 69:2-11.

Castillo, D.L., Zhu-Salzman, K., Ek-Ramos, M.J. & Sword, G.A. (2014) The entomopathogenic fungal endophytes Purpureocillium lilacinum (formerly Paecilomyces lilacinus) and Beauveria bassiana can negatively affect cotton aphid reproduction under both greenhouse and field conditions. PLoS ONE 9(8): e103891.

Wan, G., Zhao, Z., Xu, J., Tao, X., Sword, G.A., Gao, Y., Pan, W & Chen, F. (2014) Bio-effects of near-zero magnetic fields on the growth, development and reproduction of small brown planthopper, Laodelphax striatellus and brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugensJournal of Insect Physiology 68:7-15.

Rogers, S.M., Cullen, D.A., Anstey, M.L., Burrows, M., Despland, E., Dodgson, T., Matheson, T., Ott, S.R., Stettin, K., Sword, G.A. & Simpson, S.J. (2014) Rapid behavioural gregarization in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria, entails synchronous changes in both activity and attraction to conspecifics. Journal of Insect Physiology 65:9-26.

Fiene, J.G., Sword, G.A., VanLaerhoven, S. & Tarone, A.M. (2014) The role of spatial aggregation in forensic entomology. Journal of Medical Entomology 51:1-9

Castillo, D.L., Zhu-Salzman, K., Ek-Ramos, M.J. & Sword, G.A. (2014) The entomopathogenic fungal endophytes Purpureocillium lilacinum (formerly Paecilomyces lilacinus) and Beauveria bassiana can negatively affect cotton aphid reproduction under both greenhouse and field conditions. PLoS ONE 9(8): e103891.

Wan, G., Zhao, Z., Xu, J., Tao, X., Sword, G.A., Gao, Y., Pan, W & Chen, F. (2014) Bio-effects of near-zero magnetic fields on the growth, development and reproduction of small brown planthopper, Laodelphax striatellus and brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens. Journal of Insect Physiology 68:7-15.

Rogers, S.M., Cullen, D.A., Anstey, M.L., Burrows, M., Despland, E., Dodgson, T., Matheson, T., Ott, S.R., Stettin, K., Sword, G.A. & Simpson, S.J. (2014) Rapid behavioural gregarization in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria, entails synchronous changes in both activity and attraction to conspecifics. Journal of Insect Physiology 65:9-26.

Fiene, J.G., Sword, G.A., VanLaerhoven, S. & Tarone, A.M. (2014) The role of spatial aggregation in forensic entomology. Journal of Medical Entomology 51:1-9.

Fiene, J.G., Harris, M., Bernal, J., Nansen, C., Kalns, L. & Sword, G.A. (2013) Foraging on individual leaves by an intracellular feeding insect is not correlated with leaf biomechanical properties or leaf orientation. PLoS ONE 8(11): e80911.

Ek-Ramos, M.J., Zhou, W., Valencia, C.U., Antwi, J.B., Kalns, L.L., Morgan, G.D., Kerns, D.L. & Sword, G.A. (2013) Spatial and temporal variation in fungal endophyte communities isolated from cultivated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). PLoS ONE 8(6): e66049.

Buhl, J., Sword, G.A. & Simpson, S.J. (2012) Using field data to test locust migratory band collective movement models. Interface Focus. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2012.0024

Ma, C., Yang, P., Jiang, F., Chapuis, M-P., Sha Li, Y.S., Sword, G.A. & Kang, L. (2012) Mitochondrial genomes reveal global phylogeography and dispersal routes of the migratory locust. Molecular Ecology 21:4344–4358.

Guttal, V., Romanczuk, P., Simpson, S.J., Sword, G.A. & Couzin, I.D. (2012) Cannibalism can drive the evolution of behavioral phase polyphenism in locusts. Ecology Letters 15:1158-1166.

Cullen, D.A., Sword, G.A. & Simpson, S.J. (2012) Optimizing multivariate behavioural syndrome models in locusts using automated video tracking. Animal Behaviour 84:771-784.

Chapuis, M-P., Streiff, R. & Sword, G.A. (2012) Long microsatellites and unusually high levels of genetic diversity in the Orthoptera. Insect Molecular Biology 21:181-186.

Blanchet, E., Lecoq, M., Sword, G.A., Pages, C., Blondin, L., Billot, C., Rivallan, R., Foucart, A., Vassal, J-M., Risterucci, A-M. & Chapuis, M-P. (2012) Population structures of three Calliptamus spp. (Orthoptera: Acrididae) across the Western Mediterranean Basin. European Journal of Entomology 109:445–455.

Blanchet, E., Lecoq, M., Sword, G.A., Berthier, K., Pages, C., Billot, C., Rivallan, R., Vassal, J.M., Risterucci, A.M. & Chapuis, M-P. (2012) A comparative analysis of fine-scale genetic structure in three closely-related syntopic grasshopper species (Calliptamus sp.). Canadian Journal of Zoology 90:31-41.

Cresswell, K.A., Satterthwaite W.H. & Sword, G.A. (2011) Understanding the evolution of migration through empirical examples. In: Fryxell, J., Milner-Gulland, E.J. & Sinclair, A.R.E. (eds.) Migration – A Synthesis. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 7-16.

Chapuis, M-P., Simpson, S.J., Blondin, L. & Sword, G.A. (2011) Taxa-specific heat shock proteins are over-expressed with crowding in the Australian plague locust. Journal of Insect Physiology 57:1562–1567.

Robinson, K.L., Tohidi-Esfahani, D., Lo, N., Simpson, S.J. & Sword, G.A. (2011) Evidence for widespread genomic methylation in the migratory locust, Locusta migratoria (Orthoptera: Acrididae). PLoS ONE 6(12): e28167.

Simpson, S.J., Sword, G.A. & Lo, N. (2011) Polyphenism in insects. Current Biology 21:R738-749.

Buhl, J., Sword, G.A., Clissold, F. & Simpson, S.J. (2011) Group structure in locust migratory bands. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65:265–273.

Berthier, K., Chapuis, M-P., Moosavi, S.M., Tohidi-Esfahani, D. & Sword, G.A. (2011) Nuclear insertions and heteroplasmy of mitochondrial DNA as two sources of intra-individual genomic variation in grasshoppers. Systematic Entomology 38:285-299.

Chapuis, M-P., Popple, J.A., Berthier. K., Simpson, S.J., Deveson, E. Spurgin, P., Steinbauer, M.J. & Sword, G.A. (2011) Challenges to assessing connectivity between massive populations of the Australian Plague locust. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 278:3152-3160.

Chapuis, M-P., Tohidi-Esfahani, D., Dodgson, T., Blondin, L., Ponton, F., Cullen, D.A., Simpson, S.J. & Sword, G.A. (2011) Assessment and validation of a suite of reverse transcription-quantitative PCR reference genes for analyses of density-dependent behavioural plasticity in the Australian plague locust. BMC Molecular Biology 12:7.

Gurulingappa, P., McGee, P.A. & Sword, G.A. (2011) Endophytic Lecanicillium lecanii and Beauveria bassiana reduce the survival and development of Aphis gossypii following contact with conidia and secondary metabolites. Crop Protection 30:249-352.

Gurulingappa, P., McGee, P.A. & Sword, G.A. (2011) In vitro and in planta compatibility of insecticides and the endophytic entomopathogen, Lecanicillium lecanii. Mycopathologia 172:161-168.

Hansen, M.J., Buhl, J., Bazazi, S., Simpson, S.J. & Sword, G.A. (2011) Cannibalism in the lifeboat – collective movement in Australian plague locusts. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 9: 1715-1720.

Bazazi S., Romanczuk, P., Thomas, S., Schimansky-Geier, L., Hale, J.J., Miller, G.A., Sword, G.A., Simpson, S.J. & Couzin, I.D. (2011) Nutritional state and collective motion: from individuals to mass migration. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 278:356-363.

Latchininsky, A., Sword, G., Sergeev, M., Cigliano, M.M. & Lecoq, M. (2011) Locusts and Grasshoppers: Behavior, Ecology, and Biogeography. Psyche 578327:1-4.

Ponton, F., Chapuis, M-P., Pernice, M., Sword, G.A. & Simpson, S.J. (2011) Evaluation of potential reference genes for reverse transcription-qPCR studies of physiological responses in Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Insect Physiology 57:840-850.

Bazazi, S., Ioannou, C., Simpson, S.J., Sword, G.A., Tourney, C. Lorch, P.D. & Couzin, I.D. (2010) The social context of cannibalism in migratory bands of the Mormon cricket. PLoS ONE 5, e15118.

Sword, G.A., Lecoq, M. & Simpson, S.J. (2010) Phase polyphenism and preventative locust management. Journal of Insect Physiology 56:949-957.

Simpson, S.J. & Sword, G.A. (2010) Evolving migration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107:16753-16754.

Branson, D.B. & Sword, G.A. (2010) An experimental analysis of grasshopper community responses to fire and livestock grazing in a northern mixed-grass prairie. Environmental Entomology 39:1441-1446.

Cullen, D.A., Sword, G.A., Dodgson, T. & Simpson, S.J. (2010) Behavioural phase change in the Australian plague locust, Chortoicetes terminifera, is triggered by tactile stimulation of the antennae. Journal of Insect Physiology 56:937-942.

Gurulingappa, P, G., Sword, G.A., Murdoch, G. & McGee, P.A. (2010) Colonization of crop plants by fungal entomopathogens and their effects on two insect pests when in planta. Biological Control 55:34-41.

Berthier, K., Chapuis, M-P., Simpson, S.J., Ferenz, H-J., Habib Kane, C. M., Kang, L., Lange, A., Ould Babah, M. A., Rodenburg, K. W., Rogers, S., Torto, B., Vanden Broeck, J., Van Loon, J. J. A. & Sword, G. A. (2010) Laboratory populations as a resource for understanding the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes: A global case study in locusts. Advances in Insect Physiology 39:1-37.

Simpson, S.J., Raubenheimer, D., Charleston, M.A., Clissold, F.J. Clements, K.D., Coleman, R.A., Dussutour, A., Foley, W., Forbey, J., Glaze, E., Gordon, I.J., Hanan, J., Hochuli, D., Kearney, M.R., McArthur, C., Poore, A.G.B., Sword, G.A. & Wallis, I.R. (2010) Modelling nutritional interactions: from individuals to communities. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25:53-60.

Branson, D.B. & Sword, G.A. (2009) Grasshopper herbivory affects native plant diversity and abundance in a grassland dominated by the exotic grass Agropyron cristatum. Restoration Ecology 17:89-96.

Simpson, S.J. & Sword, G.A. (2009) Phase polyphenism in locusts: Mechanisms, population consequences, adaptive significance and evolution. In: Whitman, D. & Ananthakrishnan, T. (eds.) Phenotypic Plasticity of Insects: Mechanisms and Consequences. Science Publishers Inc., Plymouth, pp 147-190.

Reynolds, A.M., Sword, G.A., Simpson, S.J. & Reynolds, D.R. (2009) Predator percolation, insect outbreaks and phase polyphenism. Current Biology 19:20-24.

Gray, L.J., Sword, G.A., Anstey, M.L., Clissold, F.J. & Simpson, S.J. (2009) Behavioural phase polyphenism in the Australian Plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera). Biology Letters 5:306-309.

Srygley, R.B., Lorch, P.D., Simpson, S.J. & Sword, G.A. (2009) Immediate protein dietary effects on movement and the generalized immunocompetence of migrating Mormon crickets Anabrus simplex (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae). Ecological Entomology 34:633-688.

Sword, G.A. (2008) Gregarious behaviour in insects. In: Capinera, J. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Entomology. Springer, Netherlands. pp. 1733-1740.

Sword, G.A. & Simpson, S.J. (2008) Evolution: Radiotracking Sexual Selection. Current Biology 18:R955-956.

Sword, G.A., Lorch, P.D. & Gwynne, D.T. (2008) A radiotelemetric analysis of the effects of prevailing wind direction on Mormon cricket migratory band movement direction. Environmental Entomology 37:889-886.

Simpson, S.J. & Sword, G.A. (2008) Locusts. Current Biology. 18:r364-366.

Beekman, M., Simpson, S.J. & Sword, G.A. (2008) Biological foundations of swarm intelligence. In: Blum, C. & Merkle, D. (eds.) Swarm Intelligence – Introduction and applications. Springer, Netherlands. pp. 3-41.

Bazazi, S., Buhl, J., Hale, J.J., Anstey, M.L., Sword, G.A., Simpson, S.J. & Couzin, I.D. (2008) Collective motion and cannibalism in locust marching bands. Current Biology 18:735-739 (Cover story).

Chapuis,, M.P., Lecoq,, M., Loiseau, A., Michalakis, Y., Sword, G.A., Piry, S. & Estoup, A. (2008) Do outbreaks affect genetic population structure? A worldwide survey in Locusta migratoria, a pest plagued by microsatellite null alleles. Molecular Ecology 17:3640-3653.

Chapuis, M.P., Popple, J.A., Simpson, S.J., Estoup, A., Martin, J.F., McCulloch, L., Steinbauer, M. & Sword, G.A. (2008) Eight polymorphic microsatellite loci for the Australian Plague Locust, Chortoicetes terminifera. Molecular Ecology Resources. 8:1414-1416.

Sword, G.A, Senior, L.B., Gaskin, J.E. & Joern, A. (2007) Double trouble for grasshopper molecular systematics: Intra-individual heterogeneity of both mitochondrial 12S-valine-16S and nuclear internal transcribed spacer ribosomal DNA sequences in Hesperotettix viridis (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Systematic Entomology 32:420-428.

Simpson, S.J.*, Sword, G.A.*, Lorch, P.D. & Couzin, I.D. (2006) Cannibal crickets on a forced march for protein and salt. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 103:4152-4156. (* equal contributors)

Branson, D.H., Joern, A. & Sword, G.A. (2006) Sustainable management of insect herbivores in renewable grassland ecosystems: Developing new perspectives in grasshopper control. BioScience 56:743-755.

Lovejoy, N.R.*, Mullen, S.P.*, Sword, G.A., Chapman, R.F. & Harrison, R. (2006) Ancient trans-Atlantic flight explains locust biogeography: Molecular phylogenetics of the locust genus Schistocerca. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 273:767-774. (* equal contributors)

Sword, G.A. (2005) Local population density and the activation of movement in migratory band-forming Mormon crickets. Animal Behaviour 69(2):437-444.

Sword, G.A., Lorch, P.D. & Gwynne, D.T. (2005) Migratory bands give crickets protection. Nature 433:703.

Sword, G.A., Joern, A. & Senior, L.B. (2005) Host plant-associated genetic differentiation in the snakeweed grasshopper, Hesperotettix viridis (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Molecular Ecology 14(7):2197-2205

Lorch, P.D., Sword, G.A., Gwynne, D.T. & Anderson, G.L. (2005) Radiotelemetry reveals differences in individual movement patterns between outbreak and non-outbreak Mormon cricket populations. Ecological Entomology 30:548-555.

Simpson, S.J., Sword, G.A. & DeLoof, A. (2005) Advances, controversies and consensus in locust phase polyphenism research. Journal of Orthoptera Research 14:213-222.

Babah, M.A.O. & Sword, G.A. (2004) Linking locust gregarization to resource distribution patterns across a large spatial scale. Environmental Entomology 33(6):1577-1583.

Sword, G.A. (2003) To be or not to be a locust? A comparative analysis of behavioral phase change in nymphs of Schistocerca americana and S. gregaria. Journal of Insect Physiology 47(7):709-717.

Sword, G.A. (2002) A role for phenotypic plasticity in the evolution of aposematism. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 269:1639-1644.

Dopman, E.B., Sword, G.A., & Hillis, D.M. (2002) The importance of the ontogenetic niche in resource-associated divergence: evidence from a generalist grasshopper. Evolution 56(4):731-740.

Sword, G.A. (2001) Tasty on the outside, but toxic in the middle: Grasshopper regurgitation and host plant-mediated toxicity to a vertebrate predator. Oecologia 128:416-421.

Sword, G.A., Simpson, S.J., El Hadi, O.T.M. & Wilps, H. (2000) Density-dependent aposematism in the Desert locust. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 267:63-68.

Sword, G.A. & Simpson, S.J. (2000) Is there an intraspecific function for density-dependent color change in the Desert locust? Animal Behaviour 59: 861-870.

Sword, G.A. (1999) Density-dependent warning coloration. Nature 397:217.

Sword, G.A. and Dopman, E.B. (1999) Developmental specialization and geographic structure of host plant use in a polyphagous grasshopper, Schistocerca emarginata (=lineata) (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Oecologia 120:437-445.

Chapman, R.F. & Sword, G.A. (1997) Polyphagy in the Acridomorpha. In: Gangwere, S.K., Muralirangan, M.C. & Muralirangan, M. (eds.) The Bionomics of Grasshoppers, Katydids and Their Kin. CAB International, Wallingford, pp. 183-195.

Chambers, P., Sword, G., Angel, J., Behmer, S. & Bernays, E.A. (1996) Foraging by generalist grasshoppers: dietary mixing in two cryptic species. Animal Behaviour 52:155-165.

Chapman, R.F., Espelie, K.E. & Sword, G.A. (1995) Use of cuticular lipids in grasshopper taxonomy: A study of variation in Schistocerca shoshone (Thomas). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 23:383-398.

Sword, G.A. and Chapman, R.F. (1994) Monophagy in a polyphagous grasshopper, Schistocerca shoshone. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 73:225-234.

Chapman, R.F. and Sword, G.A. (1994) The relationship between plant acceptability and suitability for survival and development in the polyphagous grasshopper, Schistocerca americana. Journal of Insect Behavior 7:411-431.

Espelie, K.E., Chapman, R.F. & Sword, G.A. (1994) Variation in the surface lipids of the grasshopper,Schistocerca americana (Drury). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 22:563-575.

Chapman, R.F. and Sword, G. (1993) The importance of palpation in food selection by a polyphagous grasshopper (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Journal of Insect Behavior 6:79-91.