O'Neill, Kevin M. 1953-

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O'Neill, Kevin M. 1953-


Born 1953. Education: State University of New York, B.S., 1975; Colorado State University, M.S., 1978, Ph.D., 1981.


Office—Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717. E-mail—[email protected]


Biologist, entomologist, educator, and writer. Montana State University, Bozeman, professor in the department of land resources and environmental sciences.


(With Howard E. Evans) The Natural History and Behavior of North American Beewolves, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1988.

Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2001.

(With Howard E. Evans) The Sand Wasps: Natural History and Behavior, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.


Kevin M. O'Neill is a biologist and entomologist whose interest in insects and other animals include mating strategies and sexual selection, behavioral thermoregulation, foraging behavior, nesting and parental behavior, and pollination ecology. O'Neill has done extensive research into bees and wasps, and studied the effect of land management practices on insect communities, particularly on grasslands. He has also studied the biology and diversity of solitary cavity-nesting bees and wasps in both Montana and New York.

O'Neill is also the author or coauthor of several books, including The Natural History and Behavior of North American Beewolves, which he wrote with Howard E. Evans. This volume provides an in-depth examination of beewolves, which are a type of wasp that earned their name for their hunting of bees. The female of the species stings a bee and brings it back to a tunnel she has dug in the ground. She then stores the paralyzed bee there to provide fresh food for her offspring when they hatch.

In his book Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History, O'Neill provides a look at a group of wasps that are, unlike hornets and yellow jackets, solitary in nature. These include the digger wasps, spider wasps, and mud-daubers. The adult females of these species of wasp forage alone and build nests inhabited only by themselves and their offspring. The author provides a thorough account of these wasps' natural history and the current state of scientific research into these insects, which have fascinated naturalists and scientists for many years. In the course of his examination, the author discusses these wasps' natural enemies, their mating strategies, thermoregulation and sleeping, defensive strategies, the evolution of parental strategies, and directions for future research.

O'Neill has also completed and enlarged an unfinished manuscript of his former mentor, collaborator, and colleague at Colorado State University, Howard E. Evans, who died in 2002. In The Sand Wasps: Natural History and Behavior, O'Neill and Evans provide a tribe-by-tribe, species-by-species review of the studies of the Bembicinae that have appeared over the four decades leading up to the book's publication. (Bembicinae is a large subfamily of crabronid wasps that includes more than 1,800 species.) The book is considered an update of Evans's earlier classic study titled The Comparative Ethology and Evolution of the Sand Wasps.



Choice, June, 2001, R.C. Graves, review of Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History, p. 1816.

Quarterly Review of Biology, December, 2002, Robert L. Minckley, review of Solitary Wasps, p. 462; December, 2007, Joseph R. Coelho, review of The Sand Wasps: Natural History and Behavior, p. 424.

SciTech Book News, June, 2001, review of Solitary Wasps, p. 75.

Times Literary Supplement, August 3, 2001, J.L. Cloudsley Thompson, review of Solitary Wasps, p. 8.


Cornell University Press Web site,http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/ (February 23, 2006), overview of Solitary Wasps.

Harvard University Press Web site,http://www.hup.harvard.edu/ (February 23, 2008), overview of The Sand Wasps.

Montana State University Entomology Group Web site,http://entomology.montana.edu/ (February 23, 2008), faculty profile of author.

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