Michael S. Engel

Michael S. Engel

Senior Curator
Public Safety Building

Michael S. Engel presently works on entomological books and, time permitting, smaller projects in bee taxonomy.  His past work investigated long-dead bugs. By exploring the diversity of insects in the distant past he sought to gain an understanding of the episodes of origination, diversification, and extinction among the most diverse and one of the most ancient of terrestrial animal lineages.  His list of publications may be found at: http://publicationslist.org/m.s.engel


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

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

Dehon, M., D. Michez, A. Nel, M.S. Engel, & T. De Meulemeester. 2014. Wing shape of four new bee fossils (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) provides insights to bee evolution. PLoS ONE 9(1): 1-16.

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.

Engel, M.S. 1998. Fossil honey bees and evolution in the genus Apis (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Apidologie 29(3): 265–281.

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. 1999. The taxonomy of Recent and fossil honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae; Apis). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 8(2): 165–196.

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

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.

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. 2007. A lateral gynandromorph in the bee genus Thyreus and the sting mechanism in the Melectini (Hymenoptera: Apidae). American Museum Novitates 3553: 1–11.

Engel, M.S. 2009. The bee genus Chiasmognathus in the Arabian Peninsula (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Fauna of Arabia 24: 237–247.

Engel, M.S. 2010. Revision of the bee genus Chlerogella (Hymenoptera, Halictidae), part II: South American species and generic diagnosis. ZooKeys 47: 1–100.

Engel, M.S. 2014. An orchid bee of the genus Eulaema in Early Miocene Mexican amber (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Novitates Paleoentomologicae 7: 1–15.

Engel, M.S. 2015. Insect evolution. Current Biology 25(19): R868–R872.

Engel, M.S. 2016. Charles D. Michener (1918–2015): The compleat melittologist. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 89(1): 1–44.

Engel, M.S. 2016. Q&A: Michael Engel. Current Biology 26(20): R905–R907.

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

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

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

Engel, M.S., P. Barden, & D.A. Grimaldi. 2016. Morphologically specialized termite castes and advanced sociality in the Early Cretaceous. Current Biology 26(4): 522–530.

Engel, M.S., S.R. Davis, & J. Prokop. 2013. Insect wings: The evolutionary developmental origins of Nature’s first flyers. In: Minelli, A., G. Boxshall, & G. Fusco (eds.), Arthropod Biology and Evolution: Molecules, Development, Morphology: 269–298. Springer Verlag; Berlin, Germany; ix+532 pp.

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

Engel, M.S., A.S. Alqarni, M.A. Hannan, I.A. Hinojosa-Díaz, & C.D. Michener. 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.

Engel, M.S., J. Ortega-Blanco, C. Soriano, D.A. Grimaldi, & X. Delclòs. 2013. A new lineage of enigmatic diaprioid wasps in Cretaceous amber (Hymenoptera: Diaprioidea). American Museum Novitates 3771: 1–23.

Falin, Z.H., & M.S. Engel. 2014. Serendipity at the Smithsonian: The 107-year journey of Rhipidocyrtus muiri Falin & Engel, new genus and species (Ripidiinae, Ripidiini). ZooKeys 424: 101–116.

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

Gonzalez, V.H., T. Griswold, & M.S. Engel. 2013. Obtaining a better taxonomic understanding of native bees: Where do we start? Systematic Entomology 38(4): 645–653.

Grimaldi, D., & M.S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, United Kingdom; xv+755 pp.

Gu, J.-J., F. Montealegre-Z, D. Robert, M.S. Engel, G.-X. Qiao, & D. Ren. 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.

Hinojosa-Díaz, I.A., & M.S. Engel. 2014. Revision of the orchid bee subgenus Euglossella (Hymenoptera: Apidae), part II: The viridis and mandibularis species groups. Journal of Melittology 36: 1–108.

Hinojosa-Díaz, I.A., A.S. Alqarni, A. Lira-Noriega, & M.S. Engel. 2016. Ecological niche modeling of the rare bee Promelitta alboclypeata reveals possible cryptic differentiation across northern Africa and Arabia (Hymenoptera: Melittidae). Apidologie 47(4): 509–514.

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

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

Huang, D.-Y., G. Bechly, P. Nel, M.S. Engel, J. Prokop, D. Azar, C.-Y. Cai, T. van de Kamp, A.H. Staniczek, R. Garrouste, L. Krogmann, T. dos Santos Rolo, T. Baumbach, R. Ohlhoff, A.S. Shmakov, T. Bourgoin, & A. Nel. 2016. New fossil insect order Permopsocida elucidates major radiation and evolution of suction feeding in hemimetabolous insects (Hexapoda: Acercaria). Scientific Reports 6: 1–9 [23004].

Knecht, R.J., M.S. Engel, & J.S. Benner. 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.

Kotthoff, U., T. Wappler, & M.S. Engel. 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.

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

Liu, X.-Y., W.-W. Zhang, S.L. Winterton, L.C.V. Breitkreuz, & M.S. Engel. 2016. Early morphological specialization for insect-spider associations in Mesozoic lacewings. Current Biology 26(12): 1590–1594.

McKellar, R.C., A.P. Wolfe, K. Muehlenbachs, R. Tappert, M.S. Engel, T. Cheng, & G.A. Sánchez-Azofeifa. 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.

Michez, D., M. Vanderplanck, & M.S. Engel. 2012. Fossil bees and their plant associates. Pages 103–164. In Patiny, S. (ed.), Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Relationships. Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, UK; xv+477+[6] pp.

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

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

Perrichot, V., B. Wang, & M.S. Engel. 2016. Extreme morphogenesis and ecological specialization among Cretaceous basal ants. Current Biology 26(11): 1468–1472.

Rust, J., H. Singh, R.S. Rana, T. McCann, L. Singh, K. Anderson, N. Sarkar, P.C. Nascimbene, F. Stebner, J.C. Thomas, M. Solórzano-Kraemer, C.J. Williams, M.S. Engel, A. Sahni, & D. Grimaldi. 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.

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

Straka, J., & M.S. Engel. 2012. The apid cuckoo bees of the Cape Verde Islands (Hymenoptera, Apidae). ZooKeys 218: 77–109.

Tan, K., Y.-F. Qu, Z.-W. Wang, Z. Liu, & M.S. Engel. 2016. Haplotype diversity and genetic similarity among populations of the Eastern honey bee from Himalaya-Southwest China and Nepal (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Apidologie 47(2): 197–205.

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

Wang, B., F.-Y. Xia, M.S. Engel, V. Perrichot, G. Shi, H.-C. Zhang, J. Chen, E.A. Jarzembowski, T. Wappler, & J. Rust. 2016. Debris-carrying camouflage among diverse lineages of Cretaceous insects. Science Advances 2(6): 1–8. [e1501918]

Wang, Y.-H., M.S. Engel, J.A. Rafael, H.-Y. Wu, D. Rédei, Q. Xie, G. Wang, X.-G. Liu, & W.-J. Bu. 2016. Fossil record of stem groups employed in evaluating the chronogram of insects (Arthropoda: Hexapoda). Scientific Reports 6: 1–12 [38939]

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

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

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

Ware, J.L., D.A. Grimaldi, & M.S. Engel. 2010. The effects of fossil placement and calibration on divergence times and rates: An example from the termites (Insecta: Isoptera). Arthropod Structure and Development 39(2–3): 204–219.


BA 1993 Chemistry, University of Kansas
BSc 1993 Physiology & Cellular Biology, University of Kansas
PhD 1998 Entomology, Cornell University

Current Academic Appointments: 

Senior Curator, Division of Entomology

Courtesy Senior Curator, Division of Invertebrate Paleontology
Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Courtesy Professor, Department of Geology

Research Affiliate, American Museum of Natural History

Previous Academic Appointments: 

Research Scientist, American Museum of Natural History


2015 International Cooperation Award for Young Scientists, Chinese Academy of Sciences

2014 University Scholarly Achievement Award, University of Kansas
2009 Bicentenary Medal, The Linnean Society of London
2008 Charles Schuchert Award, The Paleontological Society
2008 Fellow, The Paleontological Society
2006 Guggenheim Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
2006 William T. Kemper Fellow
2000 Fellow, The Linnean Society of London

Major Field Experience: 
2011–2015 Saudi Arabia
2014 Ethiopia
2014 People’s Republic of China
2014 Colombia
2013 Lebanon
2013 Brazil
2013 Costa Rica
2011 Svalbard Archipelago, Norway
2009–2011 India
2008 South Africa
2007 Spain
2005 South Africa
2002 Turkey
2002 Russia
2000 Kyrgyzstan
2000 Brazil
1999 Australia
1997 Israel
1996 Panama