Rafa Rodríguez

Biological Sciences


  • PhD, University of Kansas, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, 2002
  • MS, University of Costa Rica, Biology, 1996
  • BS, University of Costa Rica, Biology, 1991



Research Interests

The study of behavior reveals how animals relate to their environment, and the nature of the selection that they exert on the individuals they interact with. Descriptions of mate preferences, for instance, constitute hypotheses about the form of sexual selection. Studying the causes of variation in behavior can thus help understand the course of evolution and divergence. Examples of current research topics include:

  • substrate-borne vibrational communication in insects
  • causes of phenotypic plasticity in mating signals and mate preferences
  • how sexual and ecological selection influence the role of communication systems in speciation
  • memory and predatory behavior in web spiders

Selected Publications

Rodriguez Sevilla, Rafael L., Boughman, Janette W., Gray, David A., Hebets, Eileen A., Höbel, Gerlinde, and Symes, Laurel B.“Diversification under sexual selection: the relative roles of mate preference strength and the degree of divergence in mate preferences” Ecology Letters16. (2013): 964-974.
Rebar, Darren, and Rodriguez Sevilla, Rafael L.“Genetic variation in social influence on mate preferences” Proceedings of the Royal Society B280. (2013): 20130803.
Rodriguez Sevilla, Rafael L.“Grain of environment explains variation in strength of genotype × environment interaction” Journal of Evolutionary Biology25. (2012): 1897-1901.
Fowler-Finn, Kasey D., and Rodriguez Sevilla, Rafael L.“The evolution of experience–mediated plasticity in mate preferences” Journal of Evolutionary Biology25. (2012): 1855-1863.
Rodriguez Sevilla, Rafael L.“Trait duplication by means of sensory bias” Behavioral Ecology20. (2009): 1376-1381.
Rodriguez Sevilla, Rafael L., Ramaswamy, K., and Cocroft, R. B.“Evidence that female preferences have shaped male signal evolution in a clade of specialized plant–feeding insects” Proceedings of the Royal Society B273. (2006): 2585–2593.
Cocroft, R. B., and Rodriguez Sevilla, Rafael L.“The behavioral ecology of insect vibrational communication” BioScience55. (2005): 323-334.