University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Skip to main content


Contact Info

University of Michigan
Museum of Zoology
1109 Geddes Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

2095 Ruthven

(734) 764-9520


Richard  Alexander

Professor Emeritus and Curator Emeritus

Field of Study

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

Adademic Background

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.

Research Interests

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.