Staff profile

Professor Karim Vahed

Professor of Entomology; Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences


College of Life and Natural Sciences


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



Professor of Entomology; Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences; Programme Leader for MSc Conservation Biology.


Teaching responsibilities

I am Programme Leader for Conservation Biology (MSc) and teach on BSc Hons Biology and Zoology programmes. My teaching covers the following areas:

Research interests

My main research interests include post-copulatory sexual selection and inter-sexual conflict in arthropods. I am particularly interested in strategies used by male orthopterans (crickets, bushcrickets and relatives) to secure copulations, to prolong the duration of copulation and ejaculate transfer, to protect the ejaculate within the female and to manipulate the reproductive behaviour of the female, cryptic female choice and polyandry.

My research is also concerned with the selective pressures responsible for the evolution and maintenance of nuptial feeding behaviour in arthropods. In a range of insects and spiders, males feed females during courtship and/or copulation. These food gifts take a variety of forms: prey items captured by the male, glandular secretions, or even parts of the male's body. I am interested in whether nuptial feeding is mutually beneficial for the two sexes, or whether it is actually a subtle way in which the male can manipulate the reproductive behaviour of the female against her evolutionary interests.

I also have more general interests in the ecology, natural history and conservation of terrestrial and freshwater arthropods.

Membership of professional bodies

Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Fellow of the Linnean Society, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Member of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour and the International Orthopterist's Society. Member of the International Orthopterist's Society's Grants Committee (2003 - 2013), member of the Royal Entomological Society's Membership Committee (2015-), member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission "Grasshopper" Specialist Group.



Undergraduate qualifications

Research qualifications

Recent conferences

Additional interests and activities

Research Students

In the media

Recent TV programmes: Interviewed about mating in spiders for the BBC4 documentary “Spider House” (October 2014); advised on the filming of mating in Tropical House Crickets for "Micromonsters 3-D" (Atlantic Productions), narrated by Sir David Attenborough; Research on testicle size in bushcrickets was featured as a fact on the BBC quiz show QI (September 2013).

Other recent examples of my research featured in the media include: Reduced nuptial gift size and long copulation is associated with female resistance in bushcrickets (e.g. Daily Mail, May 2014) and Tuberous bushcrickets have the largest testes (as a proportion of male body mass) of any animal, but transfer a relatively small amount of sperm per mating (global media coverage in November 2010).

Recent publications

Blog Posts

Karim Vahed, Professor of Entomology at the University of Derby, discusses why the scaly cricket should have its DNA sequenced.

Dr Karim Vahed, Professor of Entomology at the University of Derby, discusses pioneering research into the sex lives of dark bush-crickets.