Judith X Becerra
Associate Professor, Entomology / Insect Science - GIDP
Associate Research Professor
Associate Research Scientist, BIO5 Institute
Associate Research Scientist, Biosphere 2
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 621-9397
Research Interest
Judith Becerra, PhD, is an evolutionary ecologist interested in insect-plant interactions. Her current research combines ecological, biogeographycal, and chemical information with molecular phylogenetics to identify macroevolutionary patterns of host shifts, co-adaptive forces shaping coevolution and evolutionary strategies of plant chemical defenses. She is also interested in plant and insect diversification and ecological chemical interactions between insects and plants. Extensive research has been pursued in the Mexican tropical dry forests with the plant genus Bursera and their herbivores, the beetle genus Blepharida. These two groups have interacted for the last 100 million years and are both highly diverse, with spectacular adaptations and counteradaptations.


Evans, P., Becerra, J., Venable, D., & Bowers, W. (1999). Chemical analysis of squirt-gun defense in Bursera and counterdefense by chrysomelid beetles. JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY, 26(3), 745-754.
Becerra, J. (2010). Evolution of Mexican Bursera (Burseraceae) inferred from ITS, ETS, and 5S nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences. MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION, 26(2), 300-309.
Becerra, J. X., Venable, D. L., & Gerst, K. L. (2017). Reproductive consequences of female biased sex ratios at the range edge in Bursera microphylla (Burseraceae). Botanical Sciences.
Horst, J. L., Kimball, S., Becerra, J. X., Noge, K., & Venable, D. L. (2015). Documenting the early stages of invasion of Matthiola parviflora and predicting its spread in North America.. The Southwestern Naturalist, 59, 47-55.
Oliver, K. M., Noge, K., Huang, E. M., Campos, J. M., Becerra, J. X., & Hunter, M. S. (2012). Parasitic wasp responses to symbiont-based defense in aphids. BMC BIOLOGY, 10.