Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith
  • Professor, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Contact Info

Haworth Hall, room 3038
Lawrence, KS 66045


Dr. Smith's research combines molecular systematics with the study of social arthropods. 


Ph.D., Cornell University, 1982, Ithaca, NY


Current Research Areas:

  • Population genetics of presocial and social spiders in the genus Stegodyphus (Eresidae): with Dr. Yael Lubin, University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, Israel
  • Population structure in the colonial orb-weaver, Cyrtophora citricola (Araneidae) with Dr. Yael Lubin, University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, Israel
  • Social behavior in group-living kleptopasasitic spiders (Araneae: Argyrodinae) with Yong-Chao Su, University of Kansas
  • Biogeography of Asian Apis
  • Coevolution of Apis and Varroa in Asia
  • Biology of Asian stingless bees

Selected Publications

Mayes, D. M., Bhatta, B. P., Shi, D., Brown, J. C., and Smith, D. R. 2019. Body size influences stingless bee (Apidae: Meliponini) community assemblages across a range of deforestation levels in Rondônia, BrazilJournal of Insect Science 19(2): 1-7.

Yip, E. C., Rao, D., Smith, D. R., and Lubin, Y. 2019. Interacting maternal and spatial cues influence natal – dispersal out of social groupsOikos 128: 1793–1804.

Bhatta, C. P., Gonzalez, V. H., Mayes, D., Simoes, M., and Smith, D. R. 2019. Nesting biology and niche modelling of Tetragonula iridipennis (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Meliponini) in NepalJournal of Apicultural Research 58(4): 501-511.

Su, Y.-C., Peng, P., Elgar, M. A. and Smith, D. R. 2018. Dual pathways in social evolution: population genetic structure of group-living and solitary species of kleptoparasitic spiders (Argyrodinae: Theridiidae) PLOS ONE 13(11): e0208123.

Chomphuphuang, N., Smith, D., Wongvilas, S., Sivayyapram, V., Songsangchote, C. and Warrit, N. 2017. New species of Southeast Asian Dwarf Tarantula from Thailand: Phlogiellus Pocock, 1897 (Theraphosidae, Selenocosmiinae). Zookeys 684: 57-73.

Sivayyapram, V., Smith, D. R., Weingdow, S. and Warrit, N. 2017. A new Liphistius species (Mesothelae: Liphistiidae: Liphistiinae) from Thailand, with notes on its natural history. Journal of Arachnology 45(3): 287-295

Ventura, L., Smith, D. R. and Lubin, Y. 2017. Crowding leads to fitness benefits and reduced dispersal in a colonial spiderBehavioral Ecology 28(5): 1384-1392.

Smith, D. R., Su, Y-C., Berger-Tal, R., and Lubin Y.D. 2016. Population genetic evidence for sex-specific dispersal in an inbred social spider. Ecology and Evolution 6 (15): 5479–5490.

Yip, E. C., Berner-Aharon, N., Smith, D. R., and Lubin, Y. 2016. Coy males and seductive females in the sexually cannibalistic colonial spider, Cyrtophora citricola. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0155433.

DeFelice, D. S., C. Ross, M. Simone-Finstrom, N. Warrit, D. R. Smith, M. Burgett, P. Sukumalanand, and O. Rueppell. 2015. Geographic variation in polyandry of the eastern honey bee, Apis cerana, in Thailand. Insectes Sociaux 62.

Su, Y.-C., and D. R. Smith. 2014. Evolution of host use, group-living, and foraging behaviors in kleptoparasitic spiders: Molecular phylogeny of the Argyrodinae (Araneae : Theridiidae)Invertebrate Systematics. 28: 415-431.

Berger-Tal, R., C. Tuni, Y. Lubin, D. Smith, and T. Bilde. 2014. Fitness consequences of outcrossing in a social spider with an inbreeding mating systemEvolution 68(2): 343-351.

DeFelice, D. S., C. Ross, M. Simone-Finstrom, N. Warrit, D. R. Smith, M. Burgett, P. Sukumalanand, and O. Rueppell. 2014. Geographic variation in polyandry of the eastern honey bee, Apis cerana, in ThailandInsectes Sociaux.

Dietemann, V. et al. 2012. "Joining forces against Varroa destructor - the major pest of the Western honeybee, Apis melliferaJournal of Apicultural Research. 51(1). 125-132.

Rueppell, O., A. M. Hayes, N. Warrit, and D. R. Smith. 2011. "Population structure of Apis cerana in Thailand reflects biogeography and current gene flow rather than Varroa mite association" Insectes Sociaux. 58. 445-452.

Koeniger, N., G. Koeniger, and D. R. Smith. 2011. "Phylogeny of honeybees" Honeybees of Asia. edited by Hepburn, H. R. and S. E. Radloff. 23-50.

Su, Y., Y. Chang, D. R. Smith, M. Zhu, M. Kuntner, and I. Tso. 2011. "Biogeography and speciation patterns of the golden orb spider genus Nephila (Araneae : Nephilidae) in Asia" Zoological Science. 28(1). 47-55.

Smith, D. R.. 2011. "Asian honey bees and mitochondrial DNA" Honeybees of Asia. edited by Hepburn, H. R. and S. E. Radloff. 69-93.

Smith, D. R., S. van Rijn, J. Henschel, T. Bilde, and Y. Lubin. 2009. "AFLP fingerprints support limited gene flow among social spider populations" Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 97. 235-246.

Thummajitsakul, S., S. Klinbunga, D. R. Smith, and S. Sittipraneed. 2008. "Genetic diversity and population structure of Trigona pagdeni Schwarz in Thailand" Apidologie. 39(4). 446-455.

Tan, K., N. Warrit, and D. R. Smith. 2007. "Mitochondrial DNA diversity of Chinese Apis ceranaApidologie. 38. 238-246.

Suppasat, T., D. R. Smith, S. Deowanish, and S. Wongsiri. 2007. "Matrilineal origins of Apis mellifera in Thailand" Apidologie. 38. 323-334.

Johannesen, J., Y. Lubin, D. R. Smith, and J. M. Schneider. 2007. "Age and evolution of sociality in Stegodyphus spiders: a molecular phylogenetic perspective" Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 274. 231-237.

Whitfield, C. W., S. K. Behura, S. Berlocher, A. G. Clark, S. Johnston, W. S. Sheppard, D. R. Smith, A. V. Suarez, D. Weaver, and N. D. Tsutsui. 2006. "Thrice out of Africa: ancient and modern expansions of the honey bee, Apis melliferaScience. 314. 642-649.

Savit, A. Z., D. R. Smith, and O. R. Taylor. 2006. "Mitochondrial DNA and allozyme frequencies in an Africanized Apis mellifera population in southern Oklahoma (short communication)" Journal of Apicultural Research. 45(3). 221-222.

Warrit, N., D. R. Smith, and C. Lekprayoon. 2006. "Genetic subpopulations of Varroa mites and their Apis cerana hosts in Thailand" Apidologie. 37. 19-30.

Cho, S., Z. Y. Huang, D. R. Green, D. R. Smith, and J. Zhang. 2006. "Evolution of the complementary sex-determination gene of honey bees: Balancing selection and trans-species polymorphisms" Genome Research. 16. 1366-1375.

Bilde, T., Y. Lubin, D. R. Smith, J. M. Schneider, and A. A. Maklakov. 2005. "The transition to social inbred mating systems in spiders: role of inbreeding tolerance in a subsocial predecessor" Evolution. 59(1). 160-174.

Smith, D. R., N. Warrit, G. W. Otis, P. H. Thai, and D. Q. Tam. 2005. "A Scientific Note on high variation in the non-coding mitochondrial sequences of Apis cerana F. from South East Asia" Journal of Apicultural Research. 44(4). 197-198.

Selected Presentations

Sivayyapram, V., Smith, D., & Warrit, N. (7/2/2016-7/9/2016). A new primitive trap door spider in Thailand. International Congress of Arachnology. Golden, CO, USA

Su, Y., & Smith, D. (7/2/2016-7/9/2016). Geographic structure and gene flow in a range expanding communal spider, Cyrtophora citricola (Araneidae) in Israel. International Congress of Arachnology. Golden, CO, USA

Smith, D. R. (5/31/2016). Why study abroad at the University of Kansas?. Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand