Prof. Dr. Michael S. Engel

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU Biodiversity Institute
Professor & Senior Curator
Primary office:
Public Safety Building
Room Suite 140
University of Kansas
1501 Crestline Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045

Dr. Engel focuses on the fossil record of insects and what it reveals about the past and present.


Morphological systematics of bees.

Research Interests

  • Systematics
  • Phylogenetics
  • Historical biogeography
  • Entomology
  • Taxonomy
  • Comparative morphology
  • Bees

Selected Publications

Engel, M. S., Alqarni, A. S., & Shebl, M. A. (2017). Discovery of the bee tribe Tarsaliini in Arabia (Hymenoptera: Apidae), with the description of a new species. American Museum Novitates,(3877), 1-28. DOI:10.1206/3877.1

Cai, C., Huang, D., Newton, A. F., Eldredge, K. T., & Engel, M. S. (2017). Early evolution of specialized termitophily in Cretaceous rove beetles. Current Biology, 27(8), 1229-1235. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.009

Prokop, J., Pecharová, M., Nel, A., Hörnschemeyer, T., Krzemińska, E., Krzemiński, W., & Engel, M. S. (2017). Paleozoic nymphal wing pads support dual model of insect wing origins. Current Biology, 27(2), 263-269. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2016.11.021

Gonzalez, V. H., Smith-Pardo, A. H., & Engel, M. S. (2017). Phylogenetic relationships of a new genus of calliopsine bees from Peru, with a review of Spinoliella Ashmead (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 412, 1-71. DOI:10.1206/0003-0090-412.1.1

Engel, M. S. (2016). Charles D. Michener (1918–2015): The compleat melittologist. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 89(1), 1-44. DOI:10.2317/0022-8567-89.1.1

Wang, B., Xia, F., Engel, M. S., Perrichot, V., Shi, G., Zhang, H., Chen, J., Jarzembowski, E. A., Wappler, T., & Rust, J. (2016). Debris-carrying camouflage among diverse lineages of Cretaceous insects. Science Advances, 2(6), e1501918. DOI:10.1126/sciadv.1501918

Perrichot, V., Wang, B., & Engel, M. S. (2016). Extreme morphogenesis and ecological specialization among Cretaceous basal ants. Current Biology, 26(11), 1468-1472. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.075

Wang, Y., Engel, M. S., Rafael, J. A., Wu, H., Rédei, D., Xie, Q., Wang, G., Liu, X., & Bu, W. (2016). Fossil record of stem groups employed in evaluating the chronogram of insects (Arthropoda: Hexapoda). Scientific Reports, 6, 38939. DOI:10.1038/srep38939

Engel, M. S. (2016). In memoriam: Charles D. Michener (1918-2015). Entomologist's Monthly Magazine, 152(1), 73-77.

Engel, M. S., Barden, P., Riccio, M. L., & Grimaldi, D. A. (2016). Morphologically specialized termite castes and advanced sociality in the Early Cretaceous. Current Biology, 26(4), 522-530. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.061

Prokop, J., Nel, A., Engel, M. S., Pecharová, M., & Hörnschemeyer, T. (2016). New Carboniferous fossils of Spilapteridae enlighten postembryonic wing development in Palaeodictyoptera. Systematic Entomology, 41(1), 178-190. DOI:10.1111/syen.12148

Huang, D., Bechly, G., Nel, P., Engel, M. S., Prokop, J., Azar, D., Cai, C., van de Kamp, T., Staniczek, A. H., Garrouste, R., Krogmann, L., dos Santos Rolo, T., Baumbach, T., Ohlhoff, R., Shmakov, A. S., Bourgoin, T., & Nel, A. (2016). New fossil insect order Permopsocida elucidates major radiation and evolution of suction feeding in hemimetabolous insects (Hexapoda: Acercaria). Scientific Reports, 6, 23004. DOI:10.1038/srep23004

Engel, M. S., Breitkreuz, L. C.V., Cai, C., Alvarado, M., Azar, D., & Huang, D. (2016). The first Mesozoic microwhip scorpion (Palpigradi): A new genus and species in mid-Cretaceous amber from Myanmar. The Science of Nature, 103(3-4), 19. DOI:10.1007/s00114-016-1345-4

Engel, M. S. (2015). Insect evolution. Current Biology, 25(19), R868-R872. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2015.07.059

Wappler, T., Labandeira, C. C., Engel, M. S., Zetter, R., & Grímsson, F. (2015). Specialized and generalized pollen-collection strategies in an ancient bee lineage. Current Biology, 25(23), 3092-3098. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.021

Engel, M. S. (2015). The bibliography of and taxa proposed by Charles D. Michener. Journal of Melittology, 54, 1-109. DOI://

Engel, M. S. (2014). Early Cretaceous insect camouflage. In . (Ed.), McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology 2015 (pp. 79-81). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Wang, B., Rust, J., Engel, M. S., Szwedo, J., Dutta, S., Nel, A., Fan, Y., Meng, F., Shi, G., Jarzembowski, E. A., Wappler, T., Stebner, F., Fang, Y., Mao, L., Zheng, D., & Zhang, H. (2014). A diverse paleobiota in Early Eocene Fushun amber from China. Current Biology, 24(14), 1606-1610. DOI://

Wappler, T., Dlussky, G. M., Engel, M. S., Prokop, J., & Knor, S. (2014). A new trap-jaw ant species of the genus Odontomachus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Poneriae) from the Early Miocene (Burdigalian) of the Czech Republic. Paläontologische Zeitschrift, 88(4), 495-502. DOI:10.1007/s12542-013-0212-2

Engel, M. S., Alqarni, A. S., Hannan, M. A., Hinojosa-Díaz, I. A., & Michener, C. D. (2014). Allodapine bees in the Arabian Peninsula (Hymenoptera: Apidae): A new species of Braunsapis from the Sarawat Mountains, with an overview of the Arabian fauna. American Museum Novitates, 3801, 1-15. DOI://

Wappler, T., Grimsson, F., Wang, B., Nel, A., Olafsson, E., Kotov, A. A., Davis, S. R., & Engel, M. S. (2014). Before the ‘Big Chill’: A preliminary overview of arthropods from the middle Miocene of Iceland (Insecta, Crustacea). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 401, 1-12. DOI://

Cai, C., Thayer, M. K., Engel, M. S., Newton, A. F., Ortega-Blanco, J., Wang, B., Wang, X., & Huang, D. (2014). Early origin of parental care in Mesozoic carrion beetles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 111(39), 14170-14174. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1412280111

Engel, M. S., & Grimaldi, D. A. (2014). Whipspiders (Arachnida: Amblypygi) in amber from the Early Eocene and mid-Cretaceous, including maternal care. Novitates Paleoentomologicae, 9, 1-17.

Engel, M. S., Davis, S. R., & Prokop, J. (2013). Insect wings: The evolutionary developmental origins of Nature’s first flyers. In . (Ed.), Arthropod Biology and Evolution: Molecules, Development, Morphology (pp. 269-298). Berlin, Germany: Springer Verlag.

Azar, D., Engel, M. S., Jarzembowski, E., Krogmann, L., Nel, A., & Santiago-Blay, J. (2013). Insect Evolution in an Amberiferous and Stone Alphabet (D. Azar, M. S. Engel, E. Jarzembowski, L. Krogmann, A. Nel, & J. Santiago-Blay). 201. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

Engel, M. S., & Kristensen, N. P. (2013). A history of entomological classification. Annual Review of Entomology, 58, 585-607.

Huang, D., Nel, A., Cai, C., Lin, Q., & Engel, M. S. (2013). Amphibious flies and paedomorphism in the Jurassic period. Nature, 495(7439), 94-97.

Garrouste, R., Clément, G., Nel, P., Engel, M. S., Grandcolas, P., D'Haese, C. A., Lagebro, L., Denayer, J., Gueriau, P., Lafaite, P., Olive, S., Prestianni, C., & Nel, A. (2013). Garrouste et al. reply. Nature, 494(7437), E4-E5.

Kotthoff, U., Wappler, T., & Engel, M. S. (2013). Greater past disparity and diversity hints at ancient migrations of European honey bee lineages into Africa and Asia. Journal of Biogeography, 40(10), 1832-1838.

Nel, A., Roques, P., Nel, P., Prokin, A. A., Bourgoin, T., Prokop, J., Szwedo, J., Azar, D., Desutter-Grandcolas, L., Wappler, T., Garrouste, R., Coty, D., Huang, D., Engel, M. S., & Kirejtshuk, A. G. (2013). The earliest known holometabolous insects. Nature, 503(7475), 257-261.

Krishna, K., Grimaldi, D. A., Krishna, V., & Engel, M. S. (2013). Treatise on the Isoptera of the world. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 377, 1-2704.

Michez, D., Vanderplanck, M., & Engel, M. S. (2012). Fossil bees and their plant associates. In S. Patiny (Ed.), Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Relationships (pp. 103-164). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Engel, M. S., & Krombein, K. V. (2012). Hymenoptera. In . (Ed.), McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology(11th ed.) (Vol. 8, pp. 787-798). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Garrouste, R., Clément, G., Nel, P., Engel, M. S., Grandcolas, P., D'Haese, C., Lagebro, L., Denayer, J., Gueriau, P., Lafaite, P., Olive, S., Prestianni, C., & Nel, A. (2012). A complete insect from the Late Devonian period. Nature, 488(7409), 82-85.

Huang, D., Engel, M. S., Cai, C., Wu, H., & Nel, A. (2012). Diverse transitional giant fleas from the Mesozoic era of China. Nature, 483(7388), 201-204.

Pérez-de la Fuente, R., Delclòs, X., Peñalver, E., Speranza, M., Wierzchos, J., Ascaso, C., & Engel, M. S. (2012). Early evolution and ecology of camouflage in insects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 109(52), 21414-21419.

McKellar, R. C., & Engel, M. S. (2012). Hymenoptera in Canadian Cretaceous amber (Insecta). Cretaceous Research, 35, 258-279.

Gu, J., Montealegre-Z, F., Robert, D., Engel, M. S., Qiao, G., & Ren, D. (2012). Wing stridulation in a Jurassic katydid (Insecta, Orthoptera) produced low-pitched musical calls to attract females. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 109(10), 3868-3873.

Radloff, S. E., Hepburn, H. R., & Engel, M. S. (2011). The Asian species of Apis. In . (Ed.), Honeybees of Asia (pp. 1-22). Berlin, Germany: Springer Verlag.

Shcherbakov, D. E., Engel, M. S., & Sharkey, M. J. (Eds.). (2011). Advances in the Systematics of Fossil and Modern Insects: Honouring Alexandr Rasnitsyn. ZooKeys 130 542.

Engel, M. S. (Ed.). (2011). Contributions Celebrating Kumar Krishna. ZooKeys 148 332.

McKellar, R. C., Wolfe, A. P., Muehlenbachs, K., Tappert, R., Engel, M. S., Cheng, T., & Sánchez-Azofeifa, G. A. (2011). Insect outbreaks produce distinctive carbon isotope signatures in defensive resins and fossiliferous ambers. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B, Biological Sciences, 278(1722), 3219-3224.

Knecht, R. J., Engel, M. S., & Benner, J. S. (2011). Late Carboniferous paleoichnology reveals the oldest full-body impression of a flying insect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 108(16), 6515-6519.

Engel, M. S. (2011). Systematic melittology: Where to from here? Systematic Entomology, 36(1), 2-15.

Beckemeyer, R. J., & Engel, M. S. (2011). Upper Carboniferous insects from the Pottsville Formation of northern Alabama (Insecta: Ephemeropterida, Palaeodictyopterida, Odonatoptera). Scientific Papers, Natural History Museum, University of Kansas, 44, 1-19.

Wang, Y., Liu, Z., Wang, X., Shih, C., Zhao, Y., Engel, M. S., & Ren, D. (2010). Ancient pinnate leaf mimesis among lacewings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 107(37), 16212-16215.

Rust, J., Singh, H., Rana, R. S., McCann, T., Singh, L., Anderson, K., Sarkar, N., Nascimbene, P. C., Stebner, F., Thomas, J. C., Solórzano-Kraemer, M., Williams, C. J., Engel, M. S., Sahni, A., & Grimaldi, D. (2010). Biogeographic and evolutionary implications of a diverse paleobiota in amber from the Early Eocene of India. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 107(43), 18360-18365.

Ware, J. L., Grimaldi, D. A., & Engel, M. S. (2010). The effects of fossil placement and calibration on divergence times and rates: An example from the termites (Insecta: Isoptera). Arthropod Structure and Development, 38(2-3), 204-219.

Grimaldi, D. & Engel, M. S. (Eds.). (2010). Fossil Record and Phylogeny of the Arthropoda. Arthropod Structure and Development, 38(2-3).

Engel, M. S., Hinojosa-Díaz, I. A., & Rasnitsyn, A. P. (2009). A honey bee from the Miocene of Nevada and the biogeography of Apis (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Apini). Proceedings of the California Academy of Science, Series 4, 60(3), 23-38.

Engel, M. S., Grimaldi, D. A., & Krishna, K. (2009). Termites (Isoptera): Their phylogeny, classification, and rise to ecological dominance. American Museum Novitates, 3650, 1-27.

Engel, M. S., & Grimaldi, D. A. (2008). Diverse Neuropterida in Cretaceous amber, with particular reference to the paleofauna of Myanmar (Insecta). Nova Supplementa Entomologica, 20, 1-86.

Ohl, M., & Engel, M. S. (2007). Die Fossilgeschichte der Bienen und ihrer nächsten Verwandten (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Denisia, 20, 687-700.

Liu, Z., Engel, M. S., & Grimaldi, D. A. (2007). Phylogeny and geological history of cynipoid wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipoidea). American Museum Novitates, 3583, 1-48.

Engel, M. S., & Grimaldi, D. A. (2007). The neuropterid fauna of Dominican and Mexican amber (Neuropterida: Megaloptera, Neuroptera). American Museum Novitates, 3587, 1-58.

Grimaldi, D., & Engel, M. S. (2007). Why descriptive science still matters. BioScience, 57(8), 646-647.

Grimaldi, D., & Engel, M. S. (2005). Evolution of the Insects, Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 755.

Engel, M. S. (2004). Geological history of the bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Revista de Tecnologia e Ambiente, 10(2), 9-33.

Engel, M. S., & Grimaldi, D. A. (2004). New light shed on the oldest insect. Nature, 427(6975), 627-630.

Grimaldi, D. A., Engel, M. S., & Nascimbene, P. C. (2002). Fossiliferous Cretaceous amber from Myanmar (Burma): Its rediscovery, biotic diversity, and paleontological significance. American Museum Novitates, 3361, 1-72.

Engel, M. S., & Grimaldi, D. A. (2002). The first Mesozoic Zoraptera (Insecta). American Museum Novitates, 3362, 1-20.

Engel, M. S. (2001). A monograph of the Baltic amber bees and evolution of the Apoidea (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 259, 1-192.

Anderson, G. J., Bernardello, G., & Engel, M. S. (2001). Conservation implications of a newly discovered bee species on Isla Robinson Crusoe, Chile. Conservation Biology, 15(3), 803-805.

Schultz, T. R., Engel, M. S., & Ascher, J. S. (2001). Evidence for the origin of eusociality in the corbiculate bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 74(1), 10-16.

Engel, M. S. (2001). Monophyly and extensive extinction of advanced eusocial bees: Insights from an unexpected Eocene diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 98(4), 1661-1664.

Engel, M. S. (2000). A new interpretation of the oldest fossil bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae). American Museum Novitates, 3296, 1-11.

Engel, M. S. (2000). Classification of the bee tribe Augochlorini (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 250, 1-89.

Schultz, T. R., Engel, M. S., & Prentice, M. (1999). Resolving conflict between morphological and molecular evidence for the origin of eusociality in the corbiculate bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae): A hypothesis-testing approach., 24, 125-138.

Engel, M. S. (1999). The first fossil Euglossa and phylogeny of the orchid bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae; Euglossini). American Museum Novitates, 3272, 1-14.

Engel, M. S. (1998). Fossil honey bees and evolution in the genus Apis (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Apidologie, 29(3), 265-381.

Engel, M. S., & Schultz, T. R. (1997). Phylogeny and behavior in honey bees (Hymenoptera:Apidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 90(1), 43-53.

Engel, M. S. & Alexander, B. A. (Eds.). (1996). Proceedings of the Eickwort Memorial Symposium. Special Publication Number 2, Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, Supplement 1997 406.

Engel, M. S. (1996). New augochlorine bees (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) in Dominican amber, with a brief review of fossil Halictidae. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, Supplement, 69(4), 334-345.

Wcislo, W. T., & Engel, M. S. (1996). Social behavior and nest architecture of nomiine bees (Hymenoptera: Halictidae; Nomiinae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, Supplement, 69(4), 158-167.

Engel, M. S. (1995). Neocorynura electra, a new fossil bee species from Dominican amber (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 103(3), 317-323.

Engel, M. S. (1995). A new fossil snake-fly species from Baltic amber (Raphidioptera: Inocelliidae). Psyche, 102(3-4), 187-193.

Smith, D. R., & Engel, M. S. (1994). Population structure in an Indian cooperative spider, Stegodyphus sarasinorum Karsch (Eresidae). Journal of Arachnology, 22(2), 108-113.


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