“However many ways there may be of being alive, there are vastly more ways of being dead.” — Richard Dawkins

Amy M. Worthington

Assistant Professor
Reproductive Physiology & Behavioral Ecology

Ph.D. – Iowa State University of Science and Technology, 2015
M.S. – University of South Dakota, 2009
B.S. – University of South Dakota, 2006

Department of Biology
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178-0103
Office: Hixson-Lied 418
Phone: 402-280-3863

Additional website: https://amymworthington.wordpress.com

Courses Offered

Research Interests

Reproducing consumes time and energy, can result in physical injuries, and drastically increases rates of parasitism, predation, and disease. Despite these costs, animals often risk mating at dangerously high rates and invest vast amounts of resources into the development of primary and secondary sexual traits, which can significantly reduce lifetime fitness. A central theme of my research is investigating how organisms mediate critical life history trade-offs between reproduction, growth, and survival. I am particularly interested in the environmental and physiological cues used by individuals to maximize reproductive fitness via selective investment in 1) offspring production, 2) immunocompetence, 3) primary and secondary sexual traits, and 4) somatic maintenance. I have experience working with a diverse array of invertebrate taxa (stalk- eyed flies, jumping spiders, dragonflies, crayfish, snails, and rhinoceros beetles) and I currently investigate the above concepts using two species of crickets: Gryllus texensis and G. firmus.

Scholarly Works


Worthington AM, Proctor HC, and Kelly CD. Parasites prevalence and intensity in wild populations field crickets, Gryllus texensis. In preparation

Hust JA, Lavine MD, Worthington AM, Zinna RA, Gotoh H, Lavine LC. The Fat signaling pathway regulates isometric growth of horns and appendages in Trypoxylus dichotomusIn preparation.

Worthington AM and Kelly CD. 2016. Females gain direct benefits from immune-boosting ejaculates. Evolution 70:928-933. PDF

Worthington AM and Kelly CD. 2016. Direct costs and benefits of multiple mating: Are high female mating rates due to ejaculate replenishment? Behavioural Processes 124:115-122. PDF

Worthington AM, Jurenka RA, and Kelly CD. 2015. Mating for male-derived prostaglandin: a functional explanation for the increased fecundity of mated female crickets? The Journal of Experimental Biology 218:2720-2727. PDF

Kelly CD, Tawes BR, and Worthington AM. 2014. Evaluating indices of body condition in two cricket species. Ecology and Evolution (doi: 10.1002/ece3.1257). PDF

Worthington AM, Gress BE, Neyer AA, and Kelly CD. 2013. Do male crickets strategically adjust the number and viability of their sperm under sperm competition? Animal Behaviour 86:55-60. PDF

Worthington AM, Berns CM, and Swallow JG. 2012. Size matters, but so does shape: quantifying complex shape changes in a sexually selected trait in stalk-eyed flies (Diptera:Diopsidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 106:104-113. PDF

Worthington AM and Swallow JG. 2011. Sequential analysis reveals behavioral differences underlying female-biased predation risk in stalk-eyed flies. Ethology 17: 829-837. PDF

Soluk DA, Zercher DS and Worthington AM. 2011. Influence of roadways on patterns of mortality and flight behavior of adult dragonflies in wetland areas. Biological Conservation 144: 1638-1643. PDF

Worthington AM and Swallow JG. 2010. Gender differences in survival and anti-predatory behavior in stalk-eyed flies. Behavioral Ecology 21: 759-766. PDF