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Department of Entomology

Department of Entomology
123 W. Waters Hall
1603 Old Claflin Place
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506-4004

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Kambhampati, Srini

Kambhampati, Srini Professor, Adjunct 35 W. Waters Hall
Manhattan Kansas 66506 Phone: (785) 532-4720 Fax: (785) 532-6232 srini@ksu.edu

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Bio Brief

I am broadly interested in the evolution of insects. Specifically, most of the research in my laboratory is on the population genetics and molecular phylogenetics of insects; we use phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequences to examine the evolution of various traits. We use microsatellite analysis and isozyme analysis to quantify the breeding structure of various beneficial and pest insects.


B.S. Agriculture, Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, Hyderabad India, 1979
M.S. Pest Management, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, 1981
Ph.D. , Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada,
Post Doctoral Associate , University of Notre Dame, 0 - 0


  • Conceptual Issues in Evolution [ENTOM 950]
  • Insect Genetics [ENTOM 910]


Evolution and biogeography of the wood roach, Cryptocercus Members of the cockroach genus Cryptocercus are xylophagous, subsocial insects that live inside decaying logs in temperate forests. Only seven species are recognized worldwide: five in the United States and one each in eastern Russia and southwestern China. Here are some pictures of their habitat. Until 1997, all individuals in the United States were considered a single species; however extensive genetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA led to the description of new species bringing the total to five (Kambhampati et al. 1996; Burnside et al. 1999). The mtDNA results have been confirmed using a nuclear region as well (Hossain and Kambhampati 2001). The distribution of Cryptocercus in the eastern United States has been studied in detail (Steinmiller et al. 2001). We have recently demonstrated that the bacterial endosymbionts harbored by Cryptocercus have also diverged along with the hosts, leading to a classic case of coevolution (Clark et al. 2001; Clark and Kambhampati 2002). Divergence estimates based on the clock-like evolution of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene indicated that Cryptocercus represents an ancient lineage, dating back to at least the Jurassic (Clark et al. 2001). We have also investigated the evolution of host and habitat association in this cockroach using GIS, land cover, and elevation data (Kambhampati et al. 2002). Our present work includes a study of hybrid zones and population genetics using isozyme analysis and microsatellites. This study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Systematics and evolution of Dacini Many flies of the family Tephritidae are considered to be serious pests of fruits. They are often referred to as the “true” fruit flies because unlike Drosophila, tephritids oviposit in fruit while it is still on the tree. Tephritids are cosmopolitan in distribution, although most of the diversity is in the tropics. Exotic fruit flies are considered a major threat to United States agriculture because once introduced, they are capable of causing a great deal of damage, as evidenced by the situation in Hawaii. Thus, there is considerable research effort underway to not only prevent the introduction of exotic species into the United States, but also to understand their systematics and evolution. The groups that are of greatest concern are Anastrepha, Bactrocera, and Cerratitis. The fourth group, Rhagoletis, is native to North America. The focus of our research is on members of the genus Bactrocera, a large and diverse group. Many of the species are endemic to southeast and south Asia. Of particular concern are the members of the Bactrocera dorsalis complex, (BDC) composed of about 60 closely related and morphological similar species. We are studying the systematics and evolution of the BDC using mitochondrial and morphological characters. Last year, I and one of my students went on a collecting trip to southeast and south Asia. We had a lot of fun, but also learned first hand how much of a problem these flies can cause. This project is funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Evolution of Termites Termites are a large and diverse group of eusocial insects. Unlike the Hymenoptera, members of Isoptera are all eusocial and both males and females are diploid. They play a major role in the community ecology of various ecosystems such as rain forests and savannas. Because they are one of the few animals that can digest cellulose, they play a major role in its recycling. It is safe to say that without termites, rain forests as we know them probably would not exist. Despite their importance, termite evolution, especially their phylogenetics, has only recently begun to be studied. A recent review summarizes the outstanding issues (Kambhampati and Eggleton 2000). We published the first phylogenetic analysis of relationships among termite families (Kambhampati et al. 1996). We are now using mitochondrial genes to undertake an extensive family-level phylogenetic study. We are also studying the evolution of various morphological, behavioral and other traits in a phylogenetic context. Finally, we have just initiated a study on the population genetics of the dampwood termite, Zootermopsis spp. using microsatellite loci. This study was funded by the National Science Foundation. The picture of the termite queen is from Tim Myles' termite page.


Kambhampati, S. and A.T. Peterson. 2007. Ecological nich conservation and differentiation in the wood-feeding cocroaches, Cryptocercus, in the United States. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 90: 457-466

Aldrich, B.T. and S. Kambhampati. 2007. Population structure and colony composition of two Zootermopsis nevadensis subspecies. Heredity 99: 443-451

Aldrich, B.T., E.B. Maghirang, F.E. Dowell, and S. Kambhampati. 2007. Identification of termite species and subspecies of the genus Zootermopsis using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Journal of Insect Science 7: Art. No. 18

Sabater-Munoz B, F. Legeai, C. Rispe, J. Bonhomme, P. Dearden, C. Dossat, A. Duclert, J.P. Gauthier, D.G. Ducray , W. Hunter , P. Dang, S. Kambhampati, D. Martinez-Torres, T. Cortes, A. Moya, A. Nakabachi, C. Philippe, N. Prunier-Leterme, Y. Rahbe, J.C. Simon, D.L. Stern, P. Wincker, and D. Tagu. 2006. Large-scale gene discovery in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera). Genome Biology 7: Art. No. R21

Kambhampati, S. and B.T. Aldrich. 2006. Inexpensive molecular weight markers. Journal of Entomological Science 41: 412-415

Grace, T. S. Kambhampati, S. and B. Subramanyam. 2005. Characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers in the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hubner). Molecular Ecology Notes 5: 321-322

Aldrlich, B.T., S. Kambhampati, and E.S. Krafsur. 2005. Population genetics of wood-feeding cockroaches in the genus Cryptocercus. Journal of Heredity 96: 572-575.

Smith, P.T., S. Kambhampati, and K.A. Armstrong. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and character evolution among selected species of Bactrocera (Diptera : Tephritidae) based on multiple mitochondrial genes. Insect Systematics & Evolution 36: 343-359

Aldrich, B. T., G. Zolnerowich, and S. Kambhampati. 2004. Interspecific morphological variation in the wood-feeding cockroach, Cryptocercus (Dictyoptera: Cryptocercidae). Arthropod Structure & Development 33: 443-451.

Chakrabarti, S., S. Kambhampati, T. Grace, and L. Zurek. 2004. Characterization of microsatellite loci in the house fly, Musca domestica L. (Dipetera: Muscidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 4: 728-730

Aldrich, B.T. and S. Kambhampati. 2004. Microsatellite markers for three species of dampwood termites in the genus Zootermopsis (Isoptera: Termopsidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 4: 719-721.

Aldrich B.T., Krafsur E., and Kambhampati S.. 2004. Species-specific allozyme markers for Appalachian wood-feeding cockroaches (Dictyoptera: Cryptocercidae). Biochemical Genetics 2004 Jun;42(5-6):149-64

Smith P.T., Kambhampati S., and Armstrong K.A. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships among Bactrocera species (Diptera: Tephritidae) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2003 Jan;26(1):8-17.

Braendle, C., T. Miura, R. Bickel, A.S. Shingleton, S. Kambhampati, and D.L. Stern. Developmental origin and evolution of bacteriocytes in the aphid-Buchnera symbiosis. Plos Biology 1:70-76

Clark, J.W., and Kambhampati, S. 2003. Phylogenetic analysis of Blattabacterium, endosymbiotic bacteria from the wood roach, Cryptocercus (Blattodea: Cryptocercidae), including a description of three new species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2003 Jan;26(1):82-8.

Kambhampati, Srinivas, Clark, Jeffrey W., and Brock, Brent. 2002. Evolution of host and habitat association in a cockroach. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 75:163-172 (2002).

Gao, J.-R., S. Kambhampati, and K. Y. Zhu. 2002. Molecular cloning and characterization of a greenbug (Schizaphis graminum) cDNA encoding acetylcholinesterase possibly evolved from a duplicate gene lineage. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 32: 765-775.

Smith P.T., Krager K., Cronin J.T., and Kambhampati S. 2002. Mitochondrial DNA variation among host races of Eurosta solidaginis Fitch (Diptera: Tephritidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2002 Nov;25(2):372-6.

Smith, Paul T.; Mcpheron, Bruce A.; and Srini Kambhampati. 2002. Phylogenetic Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA Supports the Monophyly of Dacini Fruit Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 96: 658-664.

Hossain, Shaon and Srinivas Kambhampati. 2001. Variation in sequence of the nuclear ribosomal DNA of the wood roach, Cryptocercus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 21: 162-165.

Steinmiller, Brian;Kambhampati, Srinivas; and Brent L. Brock. 2001. Geographic distribution of, and genetic variation in the wood roach, Cryptocercus (Dictyoptera: Cryptocercidae) in the United States. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 94: 732-742.

Smith P.T., Kambhampati S., Volkl W., and Mackauer M. 1999. A phylogeny of aphid parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) inferred from mitochondrial NADH 1 dehydrogenase gene sequence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 1999 Mar;11(2):236-45.

Kambhampati, Srinivas and Ralph E. Charlton. 1999. Phylogenetic relationship among Libellula, Ladona and Plathemis (Odonata: Libellulidae) based on DNA sequence of mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene. Systematic Entomology 24(1):37-49

Guedes, R. N. C., K. Y. Zhu, and S. Kambhampati. 1998. Altered acetylcholinesterase associated with organophosphate resistance in Rhyzopertha dominica (F.) (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae) populations from Brazil and the United States. Journal of Applied Entomology 122: 269-273.

Rider, S.D., G.E. Wilde and S. Kambhampati. 1998. Genetics of esterase-mediated insecticide resistance in the aphid Schizaphis graminum. Heredity 81: 14-19

Guedes, R. N. C., K. Y. Zhu, S. Kambhampati, and B. A. Dover. 1998. Characterization of acetylcholinesterase purified from the lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 119C: 205-210.

Guedes, R. N. C., K. Y. Zhu, B. A. Dover, and S. Kambhampati. 1997. Partial characterization of phosphotriesterases from organophosphate-susceptible and resistant populations of Rhyzopertha dominica (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae). Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 57: 156-164.

Guedes, R. N. C., K. Y. Zhu, S. Kambhampati, and B. A. Dover. 1997. An altered acetylcholinesterase conferring negative cross-insensitivity to different insecticidal inhibitors in organophosphate resistant lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 58: 55-62.

Guedes, R. N. C., S. Kambhampati, B. A. Dover, and K. Y. Zhu. 1997. Biochemical mechanism of organophosphate resistance in Brazilian and U. S. populations of Rhyzopertha dominica (F.) (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 87: 581-586.

Kambhampati S., Kjer K.M., and Thorne B.L. 1996. Phylogenetic relationship among termite families based on DNA sequence of mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Insect Molecular Biology 1996 Nov;5(4):229-38.

Kambhampati, S. 1996. Phylogenetic relationship among cockroach families inferred from mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene seqence. Systematic Entomology 21: 89-98

Kambhampati, S. 1995. A Phylogeny of Cockroaches and Related Insects Based on DNA Sequences of Mitochondrial Ribosomal RNA Genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol 92, 2017-2020.