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Skidmore College
Biology Department
Monica website first page

Monica Raveret Richter

Associate Professor of Biology

Biology Department - CIS 110J
Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

(518) 580-5083

(518) 580-5071



  • PhD, Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, 1988
    Behavioral Biology: Ethology
    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Population Biology
    Entomology: Insect Ecology
  • MS, Entomology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1981
  • BA, Botany and Zoology (Honors), University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1978

wasp on leaf


My research is on the behavioral ecology of foraging and the forces that shape food systems.  Studying subjects ranging from insects (particularly social insects) and birds in field and laboratory through college students filling their plates, my students and I investigate factors that influence food choice and explore the ecological consequences of these choices. 

Drawing upon my studies of the food choices of non-human animals, I am currently researching and writing An Ecology of Food, a broadly based book exploring the relationships, ecological and beyond, among eaters and their foods, and bringing a behavioral ecologists perspective to the discussion of human food systems. I contend that understanding who-eats-whom relationships from a comparative, ecologically and evolutionarily grounded point of view can inform how we understand the roots of our own choices in the present food environment, the consequences of these choices, and the possibilities for more sustainable food systems. 

Undergraduates collaborate with me on studies of food choice and food systems. I also guide students in designing and conducting research projects in the laboratory and in the field on a broad array of topics in animal behavior, ecology, food systems and conservation. Research areas have included insect and avian foraging behavior, social influences on food choice, energetics and food choice, pollination, predation, adaptations for defense in animals and plants, habitat characteristics and Karner Blue butterfly distribution, and analyses of how exhibit characteristics influence the behavior of animals in zoos. 

                                students at farm    Veggies


  • Animal Behavior (BI 316)
  • Tropical Ecology (BI 325)
  • Tropical Field Ecology and Conservation (TX 301) Travel seminar to Costa Rica
  • Conservation Ecology (BI 327)
  • Ecology (BI 241)
  • Ecology of Food (BI 115 Honors)
  • What to Eat? (SSP 010 First Year Seminar)
students on bridge
night hike

Wasp PUBLICATIONS (*indicates student co-author)

  • Raveret Richter, M. (2019). Love of Home Orion Magazine vol. Spring 2019, pp. 12-13. Great Barrington MA, USA: The Orion Society.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. 2008. To till or not to till? Conservation Magazine 9(4): 46-47.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. and *J. M. Keramaty. 2003. Honey bee foraging behavior. Chapter 11 in B. Ploger and K. Yasukawa, eds. Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, USA.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A., J. L. Halstead and *K. Savastano. 2003. Seed selection by foraging birds. Chapter 21 in B. Ploger and K. Yasukawa, eds. Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, USA.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. and *J. M. Keramaty. 2002. Bee handling and safety. Chapter 37 in B. Ploger and K. Yasukawa, eds.   Teaching Animal Behavior in laboratory and Field: An Instructor’s Manual to Accompany Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, USA.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. 2000. Social Wasp (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) foraging: life history, resource distribution, and behavior. Annual Review of Entomology 45: 121-150.
  • Raveret Richter, M. and *V. L. Tisch. 1999. Presence, size, and species of resident social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) influence resource choice by foragers. Insectes Sociaux 46: 131-136.  
  • Raveret Richter, M. A., and *C. L. Colvin. 1994. Vespula vidua wasps scavenge caterpillar baits. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 67: 426-428.
  • Waddington, K. D., P. K. Visscher, T.J. Herbert and M. A. Raveret Richter. 1994.   Comparisons of forager distributions from matched honey bee colonies in suburban environments. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 35:423-429.  
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. and K. D. Waddington. 1993. Increases and decreases in food quality: Effects of experience on honeybee perception and behavior. Animal Behavior 46: 123-128.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. and R. L. Jeanne. 1991. Hunting behavior, prey capture, and ant avoidance in the tropical social wasp Polybia sericea.Insectes Sociaux 38: 139-147.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. 1990. Hunting social wasp interactions: Influence of prey size, arrival order, and wasp species. Ecology 71: 1018-1030.
  • Kukuk, P. F., G. C. Eickwort, M. A. Raveret Richter, B. Alexander, R. Gibson, R. A. Morse, and F. Ratnieks. 1989. The importance of the sting in the evolution of sociality in the Hymenoptera. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 82: 1-5.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. 1987. Prey hunting and interactions among Polybia occidentalis and Polybia diguetana foragers (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). in H. Eder and J, Rembold, eds., Chemistry and Biology of Social Insects, Proceedings of the X International Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects, Munich, Germany. pp537-538.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A., H. A. Downing and W. Richter. 1987. A novel social wasp behavior: Worker rubbing and mouthing of teneral Polistes pacificus.Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 60: 347-349.
  • Raveret Richter, M. A. and R. L. Jeanne. 1985. Predatory behavior of Polybia sericea (Olivier), a tropical social wasp (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 16: 165-170.