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Kyle Gray

Sols Graduate Programs
Grad Teaching Associate
Graduate Assistant/Associate, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4601
Student Information:
Graduate Student
Evolutionary Biology
The College of Lib Arts & Sci


Kyle W. Gray began an Evolutionary Biology PhD in Fall 2017 as part of the Christian Rabeling Lab. Major interests of the Rabeling Lab include natural history and evolution of ants, particularly fungus-growing ants and socially parasitic ants.

Gray earned his B.S. in Animal Biology with an emphasis in insect-plant interactions from UC Davis and worked with the Phil Ward Lab. Gray’s research in the Ward lab included characterizing novel ant-plant associations in Madagascar. After completing his undergraduate degree, Gray was invited to participate in the NSF-funded project “ADMAC: Ant Diversity of the MesoAmerican Corridor” ( as a field researcher and assistant in southern Mexico. The objective of ADMAC is to elucidate the diversity, biogeography, and evolution of ants in Central America using systematic field sampling and phylogenomic approaches (target enrichment of ultra-conserved loci and NextGen Sequencing).

After ADMAC, Gray taught natural sciences to elementary school students in southern California at High Trails Outdoor Science School during the 2016–2017 academic year. During this time, Gray produced preliminary ant fauna surveys of the area and published outreach material designed for young audiences about the fascinating biology of the conspicuous “thatch-mound ant” Formica ravida.

Gray’s research as part of the Rabeling Lab began with studying symbioses involving fungus-growing ants in southwestern North America. Gray’s current research explores biogeographical patterns of socially parasitic ants and ants of the South Pacific. Gray’s dissertation research will test hypotheses about the diversity, distribution, and evolution of these fascinating ants.


B.S. Animal Biology, University of California Davis, 2016

Research Interests: 

Ant biology, biogeography, evolution

Research Group: 

Social Insect Research Group, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State Uiversity


1) Gray, K.W., Cover, S.P., Johnson, R.A., Rabeling, C. (2018) The dacetine ant Strumigenys arizonica, an apparent obligate commensal of the fungus-growing ant Trachymyrmex arizonensis in southwestern North America. Insect. Soc. 65: 401.

Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 345Evolution
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 345Evolution
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 181General Biology I
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 281ConceptualApproachBioMajors I
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 281ConceptualApproachBioMajors I
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 181General Biology I

Ants & Plants. K.W. Gray and J.P. Solves. Community Nature Series at Highlands Center for Natural History. 19 February 2019. Prescott, Arizona, USA.

Myrmecosymbiosis between Strumigenys and Trachymyrmex. K.W. Gray. Social Insect Research Group Seminar. 12 October 2018. Tempe, Arizona, USA.

Ant Diversity, Ecology, and Interactions. K.W. Gray. Insights to the Outdoors at
Highlands Center for Natural History. 23 May 2018. Prescott, Arizona, USA.

Ants, Ecology, and Blue Oak Rance Reserve. K.W. Gray. UC NRS California Ecology
and Conservation. 3 April 2017. Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, San Jose, California, USA.

Honors / Awards: 

"I-42" Teaching Excellence Award. Highlands Outdoor Science School. March 2017.

Work History: 

Outdoor science instructor for 5th and 6th grade students. August 2016-June 2017.
High Trails Outdoor Science School. Angelus Oaks, California, USA


Organizer and participant: Big Bugs! Earth Day at Phoenix Zoo. 13 April 2019. Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Live Insects Show N' Tell with the Social Insect Research Group. ASU Night of the Open Door.
23 February 2019, 24 February 2018. Arizona State University. Tempe, Arizona, USA.

High School Science Fair Judge. Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair.
23{24 February 2018. Hamilton High School. Chandler, Arizona, USA.

Contributor to ASU Ask-a-Biologist. November 2017-Current. Arizona State Univer-
sity. Tempe, Arizona, USA.

Volunteer Scholarship Reader. University of California Education Abroad Program.
October 2017.

Author of public science blog for elementary school students: Digging deep into the
world of the thatch-mound ant. High Trails Outdoor Science School. Angelus Oaks,
California, USA.