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Elizabeth Murray

Assistant Professor



Why are insects so diverse? I reconstruct the evolutionary relationships of various groups within Hymenoptera (the insect order comprising the sawflies, wasps, ants, and bees) in order to study phylogenetic relationships and patterns of evolution. The Hymenoptera are one of the most speciose orders of insects, so systematists are continually describing new species, finding fossils, and uncovering new biological life histories. My current research centers on the relationships and evolution of Aculeata (the stinging hymenopterans — ants, bees and wasps). I do work with phylogenomic methods, molecular dating, diversification, historical biogeography, and comparative analyses.



Ph.D. University of California Riverside, Entomology, December 2014
M.S. Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, Entomology, December 2006
B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN, Biology, June 2004



  • Murray, E.A. & John Heraty (early view) Neotropical ant parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae): interpreting taxonomy, phylogeny, and divergent morphologies. Systematic Entomology.
  • Murray, E.A., Burand, J., Trikoz, N., Schnabel, J., Grab, H., and Danforth, B.N. 2019. Viral transmission across honey bees and native bees, with a worldwide phylogeny of black queen cell virus. Environmental Microbiology, 3, 972-983., free viewable pdf
  • Bossert, S., Murray, E.A., Almeida, E.A.B., Brady, S.G., Blaimer, B.B. & Danforth, B.N. (2019) Combining transcriptomes and ultraconserved elements to illuminate the phylogeny of Apidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 130, 121-131.
  • Murray, E.A. Bossert, S., Danforth, B.N. (2018) Pollinivory and the diversification dynamics of bees. Biology Letters, 14, 20180530. Murray and Bossert contributed equally. November cover image.
  • Pauw, A., Kahnt, B., Kuhlmann, M., Michez, D., Montgomery, G.A., Murray, E. & Danforth, B.N. (2017) Long-legged bees make adaptive leaps: linking adaptation to coevolution in a plant–pollinator network. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284, 20171707.
  • Kahnt, B., Montgomery, G.A., Murray, E., Kuhlmann, M., Pauw, A., Michez, D., Paxton, R.J. & Danforth, B.N. (2017) Playing with extremes: Origins and evolution of exaggerated female forelegs in South African Rediviva bees. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 115, 95-105.
  • Bossert, S., Murray, E.A., Blaimer, B.B. & Danforth, B.N. (2017) The impact of GC bias on phylogenetic accuracy using targeted enrichment phylogenomic data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 111, 149-157. editor’s choice award
  • Bisinotto, R.S., Filho, J.C., Narbus, C., Machado, V.S., Murray, E. & Bicalho, R.C. (2016) Identification of fimbrial subunits in the genome of Trueperella pyogenes and association between serum antibodies against fimbrial proteins and uterine conditions in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 99, 3765-76.
  • Murray, E.A. & Heraty, J.M. (2016) Invading Africa: a novel transoceanic dispersal by a New World ant parasitoid. Journal of Biogeography, 43, 1750-1761.
  • Torréns, J., Heraty, J.M., Murray, E. & Fidalgo, P. (2016) Biology and phylogenetic placement of a new species of Lasiokapala Ashmead from Argentina (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae). Systematic Entomology, 41, 596-606.
  • Heraty, J. & Murray, E. (2013) The life history of Pseudometagea schwarzii, with a discussion of the evolution of endoparasitism and koinobiosis in Eucharitidae and Perilampidae (Chalcidoidea). Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 35, 1-15.
  • Heraty, J.M., Burks, R.A., several authors incluiding Murray, E.(2013) A phylogenetic analysis of the megadiverse Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera). Cladistics, 29, 466-542.
  • Murray, E.A., Carmichael, A.E. & Heraty, J.M. (2013) Ancient host shifts followed by host conservatism in a group of ant parasitoids. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 280, 20130495.
  • Bhanu, B., Li, R., Heraty, J. & Murray, E. (2008) Automated classification of skippers based on parts representation. American Entomologist, 54, 228-231.


Department of Entomology
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6382