Dr. usan Villarreal

Meet the Bug Doctor

Fun Facts about Dr. Susan Villarreal

When you work with insects as long as I have you learn to “speak their language.” I earned my Ph.D. in Entomology from Cornell University and in that time have had the opportunity to study the diversity of insect behavior. Most people know about the more obvious insect behaviors – like honey bees collecting pollen to make honey, or ants using pheromone trails to find food and make their way back to their colony. My focus, with my research and with this website, is to explore and share some of the lesser-known insect behaviors. After completing my postdoctoral research at Cornell University, I plan to continue to motivate and educate the next generation of biologists about insect biology and behavior, as a professor in a college or university.

You’re probably assuming I was born with the ability to communicate with insects, but I didn’t always know I wanted to be an entomologist. Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, I was curious about the natural world so I went to college to study biology at Truman State University. It wasn’t until I took an invertebrate zoology course at Truman that I truly understood how fascinating insect biology was and that I wanted to be one of the scientists building on the knowledge of what we understand about insects.

This self-funded website is the brain child of me and my husband. We wanted to create a website to introduce children to the wondrous world of insects in a way that was fun and engaging. By merging science and technology, we hope to influence the next generation of scientists to study all the amazing ways insects shape our world. The site will continue to evolve with new and exciting interviews and we hope for the opportunity to develop animations and possibly an interactive app.

We welcome potential partnerships that can help build a promising future for Insect Interviews. If you have questions or ideas please contact me at susan@insectinterviews.com.


  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Hominidae
  • Genus: Homo
  • Species: sapiens

Distinguishing features:

Two Excellence in Teaching awards, a Ph.D. in Entomology from Cornell University, and the ability to mimic the sound of a True Katydid


Though physically Dr. Susan can only do about 10 pushups, her true strength lies in her ability to perform superb research.


Dr. Susan possesses the quickness necessary to capture most insects in her net.

Susan Villarreal

Photo by Ryan McGuire

  • Villarreal, S.M. & Gilbert, C. 2014. Male Scudderia pistillata katydids defend their acoustic duet against eavesdroppers. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. 68: 1669-1675.
  • Villarreal, S.M. & Gilbert, C. 2013. Female acoustic reply to variation in the male call in a duetting katydid, Scudderia pistillata. Behaviour. 150: 525-546.
  • Villarreal, S.M. & C. Gilbert. 2011. The unique counting call of a katydid, Scudderia pistillata. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 104: 945-951.
  • Fielden, L.J., Knolhoff, L.M., Villarreal, S.M., & Ryan, P. 2011. Underwater survival in the dog tick Dermacentor variabilis (Acari: Ixodidae). Journal of Insect Physiology. 57: 21-6.

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