Ansel Payne


PhD candidate


Richard Gilder Graduate School &

Division of Invertebrate Zoology

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West @ 79th Street

New York, NY 10024-5192

T +1 (212) 769-5085


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Research interests


My research focuses on the the behavioral evolution of apoid wasps and bees, with a special interest in nesting behaviors and nest architectures. Through a combination of field collections, experimental ethology, and molecular/morphological phylogenetic analyses, I’m working to reconstruct key events in this important group’s behavioral history.

“When newly-felted and not yet made sticky with honey, the wadded purse [of the wool carder bee] is quite the most elegant specimen of entomological nest- building... No bird’s-nest, however deserving of our admiration, can vie in fineness of flock, in gracefulness of form, in delicacy of felting with this wonderful bag...”


Jean Henri Fabre,

Bramble-bees and Others (1915)

Recent publications


  1. Payne A, Schildroth DA, Starks PT. 2010. Nest site selection in the European wool-carder bee,  Anthidium manicatum, with methods for an emerging model species. Apidologie 42: 181-191


  1. Payne A, Starks PT. 2010. Recognition systems in the social insects. In: Breed M, Moore J (eds.) The Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, vol. 3. p. 20-26. Oxford: Academic Press


  1. Payne A, Liebert AT, Starks PT. 2010. Kin recognition and genetics. In: Breed M, Moore J (eds.) The Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, vol. 2. p. 237-246. Oxford: Academic Press