TTU Biology: Faculty

Deslippe, Richard

Office Phone: 1(806)834-3480

Associate Professor. Invertebrate ecology
  • Ph.D., Terrestrial Ecology, University of Alberta (1994)
  • M.Sc., Terrestrial Ecology, University of Windsor (1989)
  • B.Sc., Marine Biology, University of Guelph (1985)
Research Interests
I conduct research in ecology and sociobiology of invertebrates. Ants have been a focus group, and I keep returning to them. A long running project involves chemical defense and communication in red imported fire ants, with an emphasis on examining how queens control workers with pheromones. We are currently expressing venom gland proteins of the queens of this species, and testing their pheromonal and antimicrobial activity in bioassays. The project falls under the broad scope of cooperation and conflict in societies, a theme that I am further exploring by expanding a series of studies on colony foundation, nesting behavior and nest architecture of soil-dwelling ants. These efforts are currently focused on ants of the Llano Estacado and Caprock Escarpment of Texas and New Mexico, and extend into the Rocky Mountains. In the Rockies, I also study social parasitism to address general questions about species interactions. This work involves a subset of a large complex of ants (i.e., Formica spp.) that have been understudied, in part because they are challenging from a taxonomic perspective. As these ants are highly derived, however, they also represent a culmination of social evolution. As a result, their study provide unique insights into why ants have been and continue to be such a dominant taxa of the world.
Selected Publications
  • Deslippe , R.J. 2010. Social parasitism in ants. Nature Education Group 1(8):27 (
  • Klobuchar, E.A. and R.J. Deslippe . 2002. A queen pheromone induces workers to kill sexual larvae in colonies of the red imported fire ant ( Solenopsis invicta ). Naturwissenschaften 89:302-304.
  • Deslippe , R.J. 2002. The killing of nestmate queens in ant colonies. Southwestern Entomologist 29:117-125.
  • Deslippe , R.J., J.R. Salazar and Y.J. Guo. 2001. A darkling beetle population in West Texas during the 1997-1998 El Ni?o. Journal of Arid Environments 49:711-721.
  • Savolainen, R. and R.J. Deslippe . 2001. Facultative and obligate slave making in Formica ants. Naturwissenschaften 88:347-350.
  • Deslippe , R.J. and Y.J. Guo. 2000. Venom alkaloids of fire ants in relation to worker size and age. Toxicon 38:223-232.
  • Deslippe , R.J., L. Jelinski and T. Eisner. 1996. Defense by use of a proteinaceous glue: woodlice vs. ants. Zoology: Analysis of Complex Systems 99:205-210.
  • Savolainen, R. and R.J. Deslippe . 1996. Facultative and obligate slavery in formicine ants: frequency of slavery, and proportion and size of slaves. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 57:47-58.
  • Savolainen, R. and R.J. Deslippe . 1996. Slave addition increases sexual production of the facultative slave-making ant Formica subnuda . Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 38:145-148.
  • Deslippe , R.J. and R. Savolainen. 1995. Sex investment in a social insect: the proximate role of food. Ecology 76:375-382.
  • Deslippe , R.J. and R. Savolainen. 1995. Mechanisms of competition in a guild of formicine ants. Oikos 72:67-73.
  • Deslippe , R.J. and R. Savolainen. 1995. Colony foundation and polygyny in the ant Formica podzolica . Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 37:1-6.
  • Deslippe , R.J. and R. Savolainen. 1994. Role of food supply in structuring a population of Formica ants. Journal of Animal Ecology 63:756-764.