University of Michigan
Museum of Zoology
Division of Insects

Richard D. Alexander

Professor Emeritus

photo by M. O'Brien

Research Interests

Animal and Human Behavior, Systematics, Behavior, and Life Histories of Orthoptera and Cicadidae.

Dr. Alexander studies the biology and systematics of crickets, katydids, and cicadas. He also formulates and tests hypotheses from evolutionary theory to help explain animal and human behavior. His insect studies have centered on acoustical communication, sexual behavior, speciation, and life history analysis. His human studies have been designed to test whether the most difficult questions that can be formulated are approachable from an evolutionary perspective. He has also studied the social behavior of naked mole rats and horses.

Dr. Alexander received the Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1956 and was a Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize and the NAS Alfred Giraud Elliot Medal. In 1988 he was the U-M Russel Lecturer.

For an update on Dr. Alexander's current activities, go to:

Woodlane Farm

Mail Address:

10731 Bethel Church Rd.
Manchester, MI 48158

Phone: 734-428-7806


Click to download my latest CV

Selected Recent Publications

1979. Alexander R. D. Darwinism and Human Affairs. Seattle: U. Washington Press.

1981. Alexander, R. D. and D. W. Tinkle (eds.). Natural Selection and Social Behavior. Recent Research and New Theory. New York: Chiron Press.

1983. Otte, D. and R. D. Alexander. The Australian Crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Monograph 22: Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila. (376 new species, 41 new genera).

1987. Alexander, R. D. The Biology of Moral Systems. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.

1990. Alexander, R. D. Epigenetic rules and Darwinian algorithms: The adaptive study of learning and development. Ethology and Sociobiology 11:241-303.

1990. Alexander, R. D. How Did Humans Evolve? Reflections on the Uniquely Unique Species. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Special Publication 1:1-38. AVAILABLE AS A PDF

1990. Alexander, R. D. Gryllus nigrohirsutus, n. sp. from Korea, with a review of the genus Gryllus. Great Lakes Entomologist 24:79-84.

1991. Sherman, P. W., J. U. M. Jarvis, and R. D. Alexander (eds.). The Biology of the Naked Mole-Rat. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

1991. Alexander, R. D. Social learning and kin recognition. Ethology and Sociobiology 12:387-399.

1993. Alexander, R. D. Biological considerations in the analysis of morality. In: M. H. and D. V. Nitecki (eds.). Evolutionary Ethics. State University of New York Press, pp. 162-196.

1997. Alexander, R. D., D. C. Marshall, and J. R. Cooley. Evolutionary perspectives on insect mating. In The Evolution of Mating Systems in Insects and Arachnids, B. Crespi and J. Choe, eds. Cambridge Univ. Press.

last updated 02/02/2010