John Abbott

Dr. John Abbott

Chief Curator & Director, Department of Museum Research & Collections
Affiliated Staff, Alabama Museum of Natural History


  • PhD, University of North Texas, 1999
  • MS, University of North Texas, 1998
  • BS, Texas A&M University, 1993


I grew up in Texas, falling in love at an early age with insects and natural history in general. In 2016 I moved to Tuscaloosa and joined the UA Museums team as the Director of Museum Research and Collections. My research career has focused around many aspects of entomology from the ecology of stoneflies to endangered beetles. My current interests include the biogeography, systematics, and conservation of dragonflies and damselflies throughout the New World. I have incorporated citizen science and crowd-sourcing initiatives as a way to help collect data on a variety of odonate topics from presence/absence of species to trying to unravel the mysteries of dragonfly migration.Some of my current projects include the conservation of two rare southeastern dragonflies using population genetics, conserving the endangered American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) by understanding its environmental constraints, using citizen science to promote education and generate otherwise unobtainable datasets, writing a field guide to the Common Insects of Texas, and creating a new Peterson Field to the Insects of North America. I serve as Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Odonatology and Associate Editor for Odonatologica. I enjoy engaging with others about nature and the topics in science that excite me. My wife and I are involved in numerous outreach activities and are nature photographers as well. Check out some of the websites below for more information.

Selected Publications

Selected Books

  • Abbott, J.C. & K.K. Abbott. Peterson Field Guide to the Insects of North America, Houghton-Mifflin Press; under contract.
  • Abbott, J.C. and K.K. Abbott. Field Guide to the Common Insects of Texas; under contract.
  • Abbott, J.C. 2015. Dragonflies of Texas: A field guide. Texas Natural History Guides. University of Texas Press. Austin, Texas. 451 pp.
  • Abbott, J.C. 2011. Damselflies of Texas: A field guide.  Texas Natural History Guides. University of Texas Press. Austin, Texas. 268 pp.
  • Abbott, J.C.  2005.  Dragonflies and damselflies of Texas and the south-central United States.  Princeton University Press, 344 pp.

Other Selected Publications

  • Abbott, K.K., J.C. Abbott, and J.D. Lozier. 2018. Development of polymorphic microsatellite markers for a rare dragonfly, Cordulegaster sarracenia (Odonata: Cordulegastridae), with notes on population structure and genetic diversity. International Journal of Odonatology. 21. https://doi.org/10.1080/13887890.2018.1498398
  • Tennessen, K.J. and J.C. Abbott. 2017. Description of the nymph of Gomphurus gonzalezi (Odonata: Gomphidae). International Journal of Odonatology. 20:1-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13887890.2017.1392905
  • Collins, S., J.C. Abbott, and N. McIntyre. 2017. Quantifying the degree of bias from using county-scale data in species distribution modeling: Can increasing sample size or using county-averaged environmental data reduce distributional overprediction. Ecology and Evolution. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3115.
  • Abbott, J.C. 2016. Freshwater and Terrestrial Invertebrates: Texas Natural Science Center, pp. 644-595, In The Collections: The University of Texas at Austin. University of Texas Press, 720pp.
  • Mazzacano, C., D. Paulson, and J.C. Abbott. 2015.  Backyard Ponds: Guidelines for creating & managing habitat for dragonflies & damselflies. Migratory Dragonfly Partnership. 22pp.
  • LeBrun, E., J.C. Abbott, L. Gilbert. 2013. Imported crazy ant displaces imported fire ant, reduces and homogenizes grassland ant and arthropod assemblages. Biological Invasions. 15: 2429-2442. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-013-0463-6
  • Fleenor, S.B., J.C. Abbott, E. Wang. 2011. Seasonal appearance, diel flight activity, and geographic distribution of male Telegeusis texensis Fleenor and Taber (Coleoptera: Telegeusidae). The Coleopterists Bulletin. 65: 345-349.
  • Abbott, J.C. 2011. The female of Leptobasis melinogaster González-Soriano (Odonata: Coenagrionidae). International Journal of Odonatology. 14: 171-174. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13887890.2011.576200
  • Abbott, J.C. and T.D. Hibbitts. 2011. Cordulegaster sarracenia n. sp. (Odonata: Cordulegastridae) from east Texas and western Louisiana, with a key to adult Cordulegastridae of the New World. Zootaxa. 2899: 60-68. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.277707
  • Bauer, K.K., J.C. Abbott, K. Quigley. 2010. Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu) in Bastrop County, Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 55: 141-142.
  • Abbott, J.C.  2009. Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies). In: Gene E. Likens, (Editor) Encyclopedia of Inland Waters. volume 2, pp. 394-404 Oxford: Elsevier.
  • Rundle, S.D., D.T. Bilton, J.C. Abbott, and A. Foggo. 2007. Range size in North American Enallagma damselflies correlates with wing size. Freshwater Biology. 52: 471-477.
  • Abbott, J.C. and G. Mynhard. 2007.  Description of the unknown larva of Somatochlora margarita (Odonata: Corduliidae).  International Journal of Odonatology 10: 129-136.
  • Abbott, J.C. and D. Broglie. 2005.  OdonataCentral.com: A model for the web-based delivery of natural history information and citizen science.  American Entomologist. Winter.  240-243.
  • Abbott, J.C.  2005.  New and notable records of Odonata from Texas.  Southwestern Entomologist.  30:169-174.
  • Abbott, J.C., R.A. Behrstock, and R.L. Larsen.  2003.  Notes on the distribution of Odonata in the Texas panhandle, with a summary of new state and county records.  Southwestern Naturalist  48(3): 444-448.
  • Abbott, J.C., R. Beckemeyer, T.W. Donnelly, E. Gonzales, and G. Harp.  2002.  Odonata collected in Nicaragua.  Notulae Odonatologica 5:125-128.
  • Abbott, J.C.  2001. Distribution of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) in Texas. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 127(2):189-228.
  • Abbott, J.C. and K.W. Stewart.  1998.  Odonata of the south central Nearctic Region, including northeastern Mexico.  Entomological News 109:201-212.
  • Abbott, J.C. and K.W. Stewart.  1997.  Drumming of three Mesocapnia species (Capniidae) and Soliperla thyra (Peltoperlidae) from California, USA, pp. 88-92.  In: Ephemeroptera and Plecoptera: Biology-Ecology-Systematics, Proc. XIII Int. Symp. Plec., eds. P.Landolt and M. Sartori.
  • Abbott, J.C., K.W. Stewart, and S.R. Moulton, II.  1997.  Aquatic insects of the Big Thicket Region of East Texas.  Texas Journal of Science, Supplement  49:35-50.
  • Stewart, K.W., J.C. Abbott, and R.L. Bottorff.  1995.  The drumming signals of two stonefly species Cosumnoperla hypocrena (Perlodidae) and Paraperla wilsoni (Chloroperlidae); A newly discovered duet pattern in Plecoptera.  Entomological News  106:13-18.
  • Stewart, K.W., J.C. Abbott, R.F. Kirchner, and S.R. Moulton.  1995. New descriptions of North American euholagnathan stonefly drumming (Plecoptera); First Nemouridae ancestral call discovered in Soyedina carolinensis.  Annals of the Entomological Society of America  88:234-39.
  • Abbott, J.C. & K.W. Stewart.  1993.  Male search behavior of the stonefly, Pteronarcella badia (Hagen) (Plecoptera: Pteronarcyidae), in relation to drumming.  Journal of Insect Behavior   6:467-81.

Selected Websites