Jessica Purcell
Assistant Professor
Department of Entomology
University of California, Riverside



Avril A, Purcell J, Béniguel S, Chapuisat M (2020)
Maternal effect killing by a supergene controlling ant social organization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.. PNAS Latest Articles


West M, Purcell J (2020)
Task partitioning in ants lacking discrete morphological worker subcastes. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 74:66


de la Mora A*, Sankovitz M*, Purcell J (2020)
Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) as host and intruder: recent advances and future directions in the study of exploitative strategies. Myrmecological News. 30:53-71


Brelsford A, Purcell J, Avril A, Tran Van P, Zhang J, Brütsch T, Sundström L, Helanterä H, Chapuisat, M (2020)
An ancient and eroded social supergene is widespread across Formica ants. Current Biology. 30:304-311

resilient societies

Purcell J, Pruitt (2019)
Are personalities genetically determined? Inferences from subsocial spiders. BMC Genomics. 20:867
Read associated blog post for more information.


Hamideh J, West M, Purcell J (2019)
Head width is correlated with learning ability in Formica ants. UC Riverside Undergraduate Research Journal. 13:21-28

resilient societies

Fisher K*, West M*, Lomeli A, Woodard SH, Purcell J (2019)
Are societies resilient? Challenges faced by social insects in a changing world. Insectes Sociaux. 66(1):5-13
(* authors contributed equally)

asymmetric mating

Avril A, Purcell J, Brelsford A, Chapuisat M (2019)
Asymmetric assortative mating and queen polyandry are linked to a supergene controlling ant social organization Molecular Ecology. 28(6):1428-1438

spider envenomation

Hale A, Bougie T, Henderson E, Sankovitz M, West M, Purcell J (2018)
Notes on hunting behavior of the spider Euryopis californica, a novel predator of Veromessor pergandei harvester ants. Pan-Pacific Entomologist. 94(3):141-145


Ingley S, Pruitt J, Scharf I, Purcell J (2016)
Social context, but not individual personality, alters immigrant viability in a spider with mixed social structure. Animal Behaviour. 120: 153-161 Download raw data from Dryad (currently data are submitted, pending approval) Read associated blog post for more information.

Purcell J, Zahnd S, Athanasiades A, Türler R, Chapuisat M, Brelsford A (2016)
Ants exhibit asymmetric hybridization in a mosaic hybrid zone. Molecular Ecology. 25: 4866-4874


Avril A, Purcell J, Chapuisat M (2016)
Ant workers exhibit specialization and memory during raft formation. The Science of Nature. 103: 36.


Purcell J *, Pirogan D *, Avril A, Bouyarden F, Chapuisat M (2016)
Environmental influence on the phenotype of ant workers revealed by common garden experiment. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 70: 357-367
(* authors contributed equally)

Purcell J, Pellissier L, Chapuisat M (2015)
Social structure varies with elevation in an alpine ant. Molecular Ecology. 24: 498-507

Purcell J*, Brelsford A*, Wurm Y, Perrin N, Chapuisat M (2014)
Convergent genetic architecture underlies social organization in ants. Current Biology. 24: 2728-2732
(* authors contributed equally)

Purcell J, Chapuisat M (2014)
Foster carers influence brood pathogen resistance in ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 281: 20141338
Media coverage: 24Heures

Kocher SD, Pellissier L, Veller C, Purcell J, Nowak MA, Chapuisat M, Pierce NE (2014)
Transitions in social complexity along elevation gradients reveal a combined impact of season length and development time on social evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 281: 20140627

Rasmann S, Buri A, Gallot-Lavallée M, Joaquim J, Purcell J, Pellissier L (2014)
Differential allocation and deployment of direct and indirect defences by Vicia sepium along elevation gradients. Journal of Ecology. 102:930-938

Purcell J, Avril A, Jaffuel G, Bates S, Chapuisat M (2014)
Ant brood function as life preservers during floods. PLoS ONE. 9(2): e89211

Purcell J, Chapuisat M (2013)
Bidirectional shifts in colony queen number in a socially polymorphic ant population. Evolution. 67: 1169-1180

Reymond A, Purcell J, Cherix D, Guisan A, Pellissier L (2013)
Functional diversity decreases with temperature in high elevation ant fauna. Ecological Entomology. 38: 364-373

Adv Stud Behav 2012

Avilés L, Purcell J (2012)
The evolution of inbred social systems in spiders and other organisms: From short-term gains to long-term evolutionary dead-ends? Advances in the Study of Behavior. 44: 99-133

Purcell J, Chapuisat M (2012)
The influence of social structure on brood survival and development in a socially polymorphic ant: Insights from a cross-fostering experiment. J. Evolutionary Biology. 25: 2288-2297

Purcell J, Brelsford A, Avilés L (2012)
Co-evolution between sociality and dispersal: the role of synergistic cooperative benefits. J. Theoretical Biology. 312: 44-54

Purcell J, Vasconcellos-Neto J, Gonzaga MO, Fletcher JA, Avilés L. (2012)
Spatio-temporal differentiation and sociality in spiders. PLoS ONE. 7: e34592.

Purcell J, Brütsch T, Chapuisat M (2012)
Effects of the social environment on the survival and fungal resistance of ant brood. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 66: 467-474

Purcell J (2011)
Geographic patterns in the distribution of social systems in terrestrial arthropods. Biological Reviews. 86: 475-491

Reber A, Purcell J, Buechel SD, Buri P, Chapuisat M (2011)
The expression and impact of anti-fungal grooming in ants. J. Evolutionary Biology. 24: 954-964

Avilés L, Purcell J (2011)
Anelosimus oritoyacu, a cloud forest social spider with only slightly female-biased primary sex ratios. J. Arachnology. 39: 178-182

Purcell J, Avilés L (2008)
Gradients of precipitation and ant abundance may contribute to the altitudinal range limit of subsocial spiders: Insights from a transplant experiment. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 275: 2617-2625

Purcell J, Brodin A (2007)
Factors influencing route choice by avian migrants: A dynamic programming model of Pacific brant migration. J. Theoretical Biology. 249: 804-816

Avilés L, Agnarsson I, Salazar P, Purcell J, Iturralde G, Yip E, Powers KS, Bukowski T (2007)
Altitudinal patterns of spider sociality and the biology of a new mid-elevation social Anelosimus species in Ecuador. American Naturalist 170: 783-792

Purcell J, Avilés L (2007)
Smaller colonies and more solitary living mark higher elevation populations of a social spider. J. Animal Ecology. 76: 590-597

Purcell J, Brelsford A (2004)
Reassessing the causes of decline of Polylepis, a tropical subalpine forest. Ecotropica. 10: 155-158

Non-refereed contributions:


Purcell J, Brelsford A, Kessler M
The world’s highest forest: A better understanding of the properties of Andean quenua woodlands has major implications for their conservation. American Scientist. 92: 454-461