Kenneth HowardAssociate Professor
Biology & Health Sciences

105 Esteves Science Hall, Albany
109 Mueller Science Building, Troy
[email protected]


Dr. Ken Howard is an associate professor in the Department of Biology and Health Sciences. He completed his Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison studying ant social behavior. He was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Maryland for one year studying social evolution in termites. His current research interests include the evolution of sociality in insects, the role of a biting behavior in ants that may influence development (see biting and scars on larvae below), symbioses that potentially manipulate host behavior, and competitive interactions. Dr. Howard is currently the chair of the department.

“I like teaching at Sage because…”

….I get to work closely with students, both in the classroom and on research projects. The small classes we typically have at Sage allow me to teach the way I like best, engaging students through direct interaction, challenging students to think critically, and providing students opportunities to learn about science by doing science.


“Courses I like to teach include…”

General Biology 2 lecture and lab, Principles of Ecology, Explorations of Research Methods, Environmental Issues, Environmental Biology

(Above) Temnothorax longispinosus workers biting a female larva. (Below) Scars on ventral side of a T. curvispinosus prepupa and larva.

Bite scars on Temnothorax curvispinosus prepupa  

Selected Publications

Howard, K.J., P.M. Johns, N.L. Breisch, and B.L. Thorne. 2013. Frequent colony fusions provide opportunities for helpers to become reproductives in the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1575-1585.

Howard, K.J. and R.L. Jeanne. 2013. Developmental plasticity in response to queen presence in the queen-polymorphic ant Temnothorax longispinosus. Insectes Sociaux 60: 179-189.

Howard, K.J., Thorne, B.L. 2011. Eusocial evolution in termites and Hymenoptera. In: Bignell, Roisin, Lo (eds) Biology of Termites: A Modern Synthesis. Springer, Berlin.

Johns, P.M., K.J. Howard, N.L. Breisch, A. Rivera, and B.L. Thorne. 2009. Nonrelatives inherit colony resources in a primitive termite. PNAS 106: 17452-17456

Bouwma, A.M., K.J. Howard, and R.L. Jeanne. 2007. Rates of non-legionary ant predation on colonies of a swarm-founding social wasp. Biotropica 39: 719-724

Howard, K.J. and D. Kennedy. 2007. Alternative mating behaviors of the queen polymorphic antTemnothorax longispinosus. Naturwissenschaften. 94: 945-950

Howard, K.J.  2006. Three queen morphs with alternative nest-founding behaviors in the ant, Temnothorax longispinosus. Insectes Sociaux  53: 480-488

Howard, K.J. and R.L. Jeanne. 2005. Shifting foraging strategies in colonies of the social wasp Polybia occidentalisBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 57: 481-9

Selected Presentations

University at Albany, SUNY, Ecology and Evolution Seminar (invited talk). “Do Temnothorax ants bite their young to control queen-worker caste development.” K.J. Howard. Nov. 16, 2018.

International Union for the Study of Social Insects, International meeting (invited talk). Eusocial evolution in termites. K.J. Howard and B.L. Thorne. July 17, 2014.

University at Albany, SUNY, Ecology and Evolution Seminar (invited talk). Eusocial evolution: the role of competition, coercion, and parasites. K.J. Howard. Mar. 8, 2013.

Entomological Society of America National Meeting (invited talk).Eusocial evolution in Zootermopsis termites. K.J. Howard. Nov. 11, 2012.

Entomological Society of America National Meeting (submitted paper). Infection by Wolbachia correlates with social structure in the ant Temnothorax longispinosus. K.J. Howard, P.J. Johns, R.L. Jeanne. Nov. 15, 2011.

Entomological Society of America National Meeting (submitted paper).  Genetic analysis of  parentage of replacement reproductives and alates in a primitive termite, Zootermopsis  nevadensis. K.J. Howard, P.J. Johns, N.L. Breisch, and B.L. Thorne. Dec. 12, 2007

Bard College Biology Program Seminar Series (invited talk). Alternative reproductive tactics and worker attack in acorn ants. K.J. Howard. Sept. 27, 2007.

Entomological Society of America National Meeting (submitted paper).  Nest density correlates with queen size and queen founding behavior in the queen-polymorphic ant Temnothorax longispinosusK.J. Howardand R.L. Jeanne. Dec. 13, 2006

International Union for the Study of Social Insects – International meeting – (invited paper). Queen presence determines female alate size in the queen-size polymorphic ant Temnothorax longispinosusK.J. Howard.  July 30, 2006