University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Kenneth V. YearganKenneth V. Yeargan


Ph.D. University of California, Davis (1974)


Department of Entomology
S-225 Agricultural Science Center N
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40546-0091
Ph: 859.257.7454
Fax: 859.323.1120

Research Interests

My research interests include ecological and behavioral studies of arthropod predators and parasitoids, as well as methods for enhancing naturally occurring biological control of insect pests. The latter includes modifications of crop habitats to improve natural enemy colonization and reproduction. My graduate students and I have worked primarily with carnivorous species in the following taxonomic groups: predators - Hemiptera (especially Nabidae, Anthocoridae, Geocoridae, and Pentatomidae), Coccinellidae, Opiliones (harvestmen), and Araneae (spiders); parasitoids - Braconidae, Ichneumonidae, and Scelionidae. In addition to factors affecting the population dynamics, seasonality, and spatial distribution of these groups, I am interested in behavioral adaptations of predators/parasitoids for capturing prey/hosts and, conversely, adaptations of herbivores for avoiding capture. During the past two decades I have studied the ecology and behavior of bolas spiders, an unusual group that uses aggressive chemical mimicry to attract their prey (a small number of moth and psychodid fly species). I also have studied relationships between selected species of milkweeds and herbivores (primarily the monarch butterfly and the aphid Aphis nerii), as well as natural enemies of those herbivores.


Current Graduate Students

  • Sarah Colvin, Ph.D. Student, Entomology, University of Kentucky


Damsel BugPredatory Stink BugBig-Eyed Bug

Monarch LarvaeButterfly GardenMonacrh Butterfly


Selected Publications

  • Seagraves, M.P., and K.V. Yeargan. 2009. Importance of predation by Coleomegilla maculata larvae in the natural control of the corn earworm in sweet corn. Biocontrol Sci. Technol. 19: 1067-1079.

  • Yeargan, K.V., and S.M. Colvin. 2009.  Butterfly feeding preferences for four zinnia cultivars. J. Environ. Hort. 27: 37-41.  |  PDF
  • Decker, K.B., and K.V. Yeargan. 2008. Seasonal phenology and natural enemies of the squash bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae) in Kentucky. Environ. Entomol. 37: 670-678.
  • Brannon, S.L., K.B. Decker, and K.V. Yeargan. 2006. Photoperiodic induction of reproductive diapause in the predator Geocoris punctipes (Hemiptera: Geocoridae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 99: 300-304.
  • Seagraves, M.P., and K.V. Yeargan. 2006. Selection and evaluation of a companion plant to augment densities of Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in sweet corn. Environ. Entomol. 35: 1334-1341.
  • Yeargan, K.V., and C.M. Allard. 2005. Comparison of common milkweed and honeyvine milkweed (Asclepiadaceae) as host plants for monarch larvae (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). J. Kansas Entomol. Soc. 78: 247-251.
  • Allard, C.M., and K.V. Yeargan. 2005. Diel activity patterns and microspatial distribution of the harvestman Phalangium opilio (Opiliones, Phalangiidae) in soybeans. J. Arachnol. 33:745-752.
  • Staley, A.C., and K. V. Yeargan. 2005. Oviposition behavior of Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): Diel periodicity and choice of host plants. Environ. Entomol. 34: 440-445.
  • Allard, C.M., and K.V. Yeargan. 2005. Effect of diet on development and reproduction of the harvestman Phalangium opilio (Opiliones: Phalangiidae). Environ. Entomol. 34: 6-13.
  • Newton, B.L., and K.V. Yeargan. 2002. Population characteristics of Phalangium opilio (Opiliones: Phalangiidae) in Kentucky agroecosystems. Environ. Entomol. 31:92-98.
  • Griffin, M.L., and K.V. Yeargan. 2002. Factors potentially affecting oviposition site selection by the lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Environ. Entomol. 31:112-119.
  • Pfannenstiel, R.S., and K.V. Yeargan. 2002. Identification and diel activity patterns of predators attacking Helicoverpa zea eggs in soybean and sweet corn. Environ. Entomol. 31:232-241.
  • Haynes, K.F., C. Gemeno, and K.V. Yeargan. 2002. Aggressive chemical mimicry of moth pheromones by a bolas spider: how does this specialist predator attract more than one species of prey? Chemoecology 12:99-105.
  • Ruberson, J.R., K.V. Yeargan, and B.L. Newton. 2001. Variation in diapause responses between geographic populations of the predator Geocoris punctipes (Heteroptera: Geocoridae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 94:116-122.
  • Bartholomew, C.S., and K.V. Yeargan. 2001. Phenology of milkweed (Asclepiadaceae) growth and monarch (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) reproduction in Kentucky and ovipositional preference between common and honeyvine milkweed. J. Kansas Entomol. Soc. 74:211-220.
  • Gemeno, C., K.V. Yeargan, and K.F. Haynes. 2000. Aggressive chemical mimicry by the bolas spider Mastophora hutchinsoni: Identification and quantification of a major prey&'s sex pheromone components in the spider's volatile emissions. J. Chem. Ecol. 26: 1235-1243.
  • Haynes, K.F., and K.V. Yeargan. 1999. Exploitation of intraspecific communication systems: Illicit signalers and receivers. Annals Entomol. Soc. Am. 92: 960-970.
  • Cottrell, T.E., and K.V. Yeargan. 1999. Factors influencing dispersal of larval Coleomegilla maculata from the weed Acalypha ostryaefolia to sweet corn. Entomol. Exp. et Appl. 90: 313-322.
  • Cottrell, T.E., and K.V. Yeargan. 1998. Influence of a native weed, Acalypha ostryaefolia (Euphorbiacease), on Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) population density, predation, and cannibalism in sweet corn. Environ. Entomol. 27: 1375-1385.
  • Yeargan, K.V., and L.W. Quate. 1997. Adult male bolas spiders retain juvenile hunting tactics. Oecologia 112:572-576.
  • Yeargan, K.V., and L.W. Quate. 1996. Juvenile bolas spiders attract psychodid flies. Oecologia 106: 266-271.
  • Pfannenstiel, R.S., R.E. Hunt, and K.V. Yeargan. 1995. Orientation of a hemipteran predator to vibrations produced by feeding caterpillars. J. Insect Behavior 8: 1-9.
  • Yeargan, K.V. 1994. Biology of bolas spiders. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 39: 81-99.


Bolas Spider


Revised: 22 July 2010
Return to UK Department of Entomology homepage