New study shows mosquito larvae feeding in slow motion, under a microscope, for the first time.
As an authority on mosquitoes, bedbugs and other blood-sucking insects, I have authored many scholarly articles on their behavior and physiology (see selected publications below). My current focus is on the relationships between larval and adult nutrition and adult “performance” of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitos (together, these species are the principle global vectors of Dengue, Yellow Fever, Chikungunya and Zika viruses). For females, performance is measured by their success in finding and successfully taking a reproductive blood meal that is used to develop eggs. For males, performance is measured by their success in finding and successfully inseminating females. The work is multifaceted as it involves mosquito rearing, microdissections, cage experiments, and olfactor/flight-tunnel studies.
Most of my MSU Denver research is conducted in an awesome “Mosquito Lab” in the Auraria Science Building where I maintain several different species of mosquitoes. During any given semester I typically have 6-10 MSU Denver students working in this lab. They raise mosquitoes and perform experiments and analyze data. Many Hancock lab students also work in Mosquito Control during the summer. All of them present their novel research findings at local (the MSU Denver Undergraduate Research Conference), regional, and/or national scientific conferences. Some have graduated and gone on to salaried jobs in Mosquito Control and others have gone to graduate/professional school.
I am a native to Scottsbluff, Nebraska. I graduated with a B.S. in both Biology and Chemistry from Hastings College (Nebraska) and M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Medical Entomology from Ohio State University.
I have filmed mosquitos and other blood sucking insects all over the world. My close-up footage has been featured on network and cable television programs worldwide and my documentary series “Mosquito Man” has won significant international awards. You can see my films at mosquitomanfilms.com. Perhaps the best things about my filmmaking is that my students are my crew (even in other countries): they operate cameras, sound equipment, grip, and even serve as researchers and “bug wranglers”.
I currently live in Denver with my blues/jazz/soul singer/songwriter wife, Diane Jobe. Outside of my professorial engagements, I play trumpet in the Diane Jobe Band, renovate a 1924 home, play in the Rocky Mountains, and travel.
Hancock Lab In Action
Current research student, Shawn Ward, researches the sexual behavior of adult male mosquitos.
Hancock Lab In Action
Robert G Hancock, Taylor Boyd*, Shannon MacFadden*, Aaron Sowders, W A Foster, L P Lounibos, Mosquitoes Eating Mosquitoes: How Toxorhynchites amboinensis, Psorophora ciliata, and Sabethes cyaneus (Diptera: Culicidae) Capture Prey, Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Volume 115, Issue 6, November 2022, Pages 461–471, https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/saac017
Borovsky D, Hancock RG, Rougé P, Powell CA, Shatters RG Jr. Juvenile hormone affects the splicing of Culex quinquefasciatus early trypsin messenger RNA. Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2018 Nov;99(3):e21506. doi: 10.1002/arch.21506. Epub 2018 Sep 3. PMID: 30176073.
Al-Shaer L*, Pierce AK, Larson D*, Hancock R. Notes on facultative predation in Prosimulium larvae (Diptera: Simuliidae) in alpine and subalpine streams in Colorado. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2015 Mar;31(1):113-6. doi: 10.2987/14-6460.1. PMID: 25843187.
*MSU Denver Biology research student
Zsemlye JL, Hancock RG, Foster WA. Analysis of a complex vertical copulatory-courtship display in the yellow fever vector Sabethes chloropterus. Med Vet Entomol. 2005 Sep;19(3):276-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.2005.00570.x. PMID: 16134976.
Hancock RG, Foster WA. Exogenous juvenile hormone and methoprene, but not male accessory gland substances or ovariectomy, affect the blood/nectar choice of female Culex nigripalpus mosquitoes. Med Vet Entomol. 2000 Dec;14(4):376-82. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2915.2000.00253.x. PMID: 11129701.