Picture of Christian Rabeling

Christian Rabeling

Postdoctoral Fellow

Office +1 (617) 496 4089

Christian Rabeling

Education and Employment

Junior Fellow Harvard Society of Fellows & Museum of Comparative Zoology 2011-2014
Postdoctoral Fellow Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of Natural History
Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin 2004-2010
Diploma in Biology Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany 2003-2004

Research Interests

Christian excavating an ant nest in Brazil
Christian excavating an ant nest in Brazil



Christian with a stick insect
Christian with a stick insect
  • Evolutionary biology of social insects
  • Genetic evolution and speciation of social parasites
  • Reproductive mechanisms and their consequences on the genetic structure of social insect populations
  • Systematics and natural history of ants


Rabeling C, & Kronauer DJC. 2013. Evolution of thelytokous parthenogenesis in eusocial Hymenoptera. Annual Review of Entomology 58: 273-292. [doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-120811-153710] [uncorrected proofs PDF]

Rabeling C, Verhaagh M, Garcia MVB. 2012. Observations on the specialized predatory behavior of the pitchfork-mandibled ponerine ant Thaumatomyrmex paludis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Breviora. In press.

Rabeling C, Gonzales O*, Schultz TR, Bacci M, Garcia MVB, Verhaagh M, Ishak HD, Mueller UG. 2011. Cryptic sexual populations account for genetic diversity and ecological success in a widely distributed, asexual fungus-growing ant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(30): 12366–12371 (From the Cover) [doi:10.1073/pnas.1105467108] [article PDF; supporting information PDF] *Undergraduate research assistant.

Rabeling C & Bacci M. 2010. A new workerless inquiline in the Lower Attini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a discussion of social parasitism in fungus-growing ants. Systematic Entomology 35: 379-392 [PDF]

Rabeling C. 2010. Diversity and evolution of reproductive systems in Mycocepurus fungus-gardening ants. Ph.D. Dissertation. The University of Texas at Austin

Rabeling C, Lino Neto J, Cappellari SC, Santos IA, Mueller UG & Bacci M. 2009. Thelytokous parthenogenesis in the fungus-gardening ant Mycocepurus smithii (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). PLoS ONE 4(8): e6781 [doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006781] [PDF]

Rabeling C, Brown JM & Verhaagh M. 2008. Newly discovered sister lineage sheds light on early ant evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(39): 14913-14917 [doi:10.1073/pnas.0806187105] [article PDF; supporting information PDF]

Mueller UG, Dash D*, Rabeling C & Rodrigues A. 2008. Coevolution between attine ants and actinomycete bacteria: a reevaluation. Evolution 62: 2894–2912 [doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2008.00501.x] [PDF] *Undergraduate research assistant

Mueller UG & Rabeling C. 2008. A breakthrough innovation in animal evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(14): 5287-5288 [doi:10.1073/pnas.0801464105] [PDF]

Rabeling C, Cover SP, Mueller UG & Johnson RA. 2007. A review of the North American species of the fungus-gardening ant genus Trachymyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1664: 1-54 [PDF]

Rabeling C, Verhaagh M & Engels W. 2007. Comparative study of nest architecture and colony structure of the fungus-growing ant species Mycocepurus goeldii and M. smithii (Formicidae: Attini). Journal of Insect Science 7: 40 [PDF]

Rabeling C, Verhaagh M & Mueller UG. 2006. Behavioral ecology and natural history of Blepharidatta brasiliensis (Formicidae: Blepharidattini). Insectes Sociaux 53: 300-307 [doi:10.1007/s00040-006-0872-y] [PDF]

Rabeling C. 2004. Nests, foraging ecology and symbiotic fungi of Amazonian fungus-growing ants. Diploma Thesis. Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen, Germany

Media Coverage of Research (selection)

Martialis heureka
Martialis heureka foraging in a subterranean tunnel.
Color pencil drawing by Barrett A. Klein.

Discovery of the most ancient living ant lineage
(a.k.a. the ant from Mars)

Jane Goodall 2009. Hope for animals and their world. Grand Central Publishing, New York, pp. 289-290: The ant from Mars. [Link]

The New York Times 18 Sept. 2008. Scientists Find One Specimen of Bizarre Primitive Ant. [Link]

Nature News (online) 15 Sept. 2008. The ant from Mars. [Link]

Nature 2008, Vol. 455: 275. Snapshot: Long-lost antcestor. [Link]

Wired Magazine 'Living Fossil' Ant Species Dates to Late Cretaceous. 15 Sept. 2008. [Link]

National Geographic News 16 Sept. 2008. Blind "Ant From Mars" Found in Amazon. [Link]

Discover Magazine 16 Sept. 2008. Bizarre "Ant From Mars" Offers Clues to Insect Evolution. [Link]

Süddeutsche Zeitung 19 Sept. 2008. Neue Ameisenart entdeckt: Wie vom Mars. [Link]

Microcepurus smithii
Worker of the asexual fungus-growing ant Mycocepurus
climbing on a piece of fungus garden.
Photograph: courtesy of Alex Wild.

Die Zeit 16 Sept. 2008. Marsianer aus dem Untergrund. [Link]

Spiegel Online 16 Sept. 2008. Sensationeller Fund: Forscher entdecken bizarre Raubameise [Link]

The Times 16 Sept. 2008. 'Ant from Mars' emerges from its 120 million-year anonymity. [Link]

The Telegraph 15 Sept. 2008. 'Ant from Mars' found in Amazon rainforest. [Link]

UK Daily Mail 16 Sept. 2008. Ancient 'ant from Mars' discovered in Amazon rainforest. [Link]

Folha de São Paulo 16 Sept. 2008. Biólogo encontra formiga que viveu com os dinossauros. [Link]

Veja 24 Sept. 2008. A formiga dinossauro. [Link]

Época 15 Sept. 2008. A avó de todas as formigas é brasileira. [Link]

Research on the evolution of asexual reproduction

Science NOW 18 July 2011. 'Asexual' Ants May Be Having Sex After All. [Link]

Current Biology 2009. Vol. 19, No. 17, pR738. Dispatch: No Male's Land for an Amazonian Ant. [Link]

GEO April 2010, p. 139, Geoskop: Leben ohne Männer. [Link]

UNESP Ciência Oct. 2011. A vida secreta das formigas assexuadas [Link]

UNESP Ciência Nov. 2009. Apelo assexual. [Link]



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Last modified 9 April 2014