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Daniel Otte, Ph.D.

Daniel Otte, PhD

Professor Emeritus, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science
Senior Curator Emeritus, ANS
Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Office: Entomology, ANS
Phone: 215.299.1188


  • PhD, Zoology, University of Michigan

Research Interests:

I am a taxon scientist who specializes on the the taxonomy and biogeography of Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, katydids and their relatives), but I concentrate mainly on grasshoppers (Acridoidea) and crickets (Grylloidea). My principal interest, besides discovering new taxa, is in studying the origin of species.

Over my career I have worked mainly on large faunal treatments of crickets (crickets of Australia, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Fiji, and New Caledonia) and grasshoppers (North America and southern Africa). I have discovered and named approximately 1600 species and have discovered nearly 25% of the World’s 5000+ cricket species.

My main emphasis has been in studying the earliest stages of speciation. In crickets I use mainly the songs for initial recognition of species. This allowed me to discover large numbers of species that could not be distinguished by morphology alone.

I spent approximately 15 years assembling major online catalogs to the world’s species of Orthoptera, Mantodea, Phasmida and Blattodea. All told, the catalogs cover about 45,000 species. The databases are almost unique in biology in scope; they cover all known species and have begun to accumulate everything known about the world’s species (images, distribution, habitat, ecology, life cycles, etc). The Orthoptera Species File is now financially endowed and will be supported in perpetuity. No other taxonomic databases are as comprehensive.

I am currently attempting to complete two faunal treatments of grasshoppers: an all-species taxonomic treatment of North American grasshoppers, covering the entire continent (plus the Caribbean basin), plus an all-species treatment of the grasshoppers of Southern Africa (from the Zambezi southwards). Each volume will contain approximately 1000 species (of these about 20% of the species are expected to be new to science).

I spend much of my time working in museums that have good holdings of North American and southern African grasshoppers (Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, University of Michigan, California Academy of Sciences, and the National Insect Collection in Pretoria).


Daniel Otte, PhD is currently senior curator in the Division of Systematics and Evolutionary Biology at the Academy of Natural Sciences. He was a postdoctoral fellow of Richard Alexander, PhD of the University of Michigan for 15 months in Australia (1968-1969). He served as assistant professor of Zoology at the University of Texas at Austin from 1969 to 1975. He served as Associate Curator of Entomology from 1975 to 1980 and as Senior Curator of Entomology from 1980 to the present.

He has conducted research on crickets throughout the world, but especially in Hawaii, Australia, Africa, the Caribbean islands, and various Pacific islands. His research on grasshoppers has taken place throughout North America (Belize to Canada) and in Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botwana, and Lesotho).

During his career he has discovered more than 1500 new species.

He was recipient of the Leidy Medal at the Academy of Natural Sciences for his work on evolution and systematics of insects.

Selected Publications:

  • 2009. Crickets of the Caribbean (D. Otte and D. Perez-Gelabert). Publications on Orthopteran Diversity. The Orthopterists Society. 792 pp.
  • 1994. The Crickets of Hawaii: Origin, Systematics and Evolution. Academy of Natural Sciences. 400 pp.
  • 1984. The North American Grasshoppers. Vol. 2. Oedipodinae. Harvard University Press. 366 pp.
  • 1983. The Australian Crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Academy of Natural Sciences Monograph No. 22. 477 pp. (D. Otte and R. D. Alexander).
  • 1981. The North American Grasshoppers. Vol. 1. Acrididae: Gomphocerinae and Acridinae. Harvard University Press. 272 pp.