Skip to main content

About Janice Edgerly-Rooks

I teach courses in entomology, ecology, behavior, and biodiversity at SCU. I investigate questions about the evolution, behavior and ecology of insects. I have studied treehole mosquitoes, embiids (webspinning insects) and tent caterpillars. Presently, my students and I are concentrating on the little known group of insects, the embiids (Order Embiidina or Embioptera). I have quantified, in collaboration with other scientists, silk spinning behavior as well as characteristics of silk glands and silk proteins. Embiopteran silk is the finest known silk, being less than 90 nanometers in diameter. In the field, their silk shows interesting waterproofing quality, a feature we are studying in more detail in collaboration with chemists and mechanical engineers who are interested in natural materials. Finally, we have ventured into looking at how they run backwards, which is their preferred direction when they are threatened. Their backwards gait is very fast, and quite unusual; seemingly related to the fact that their swollen front feet are dedicated for silk production and spinning (features that are incompatible with running in the forward direction). We are conducting this latter research project with a bio-inspiration lab at UC Berkeley. In all cases undergraduate students assist in the research, and often take the lead in testing particular hypotheses. One of my goals is to prepare students for careers in science by giving them opportunities to present their work at scientific conferences and to co-write scientific papers with me.


Present Professor, Santa Clara University Department of Biology

Enter a valid date range.

Enter a valid date range.

Honors and Awards

  • • President’s Special Recognition Award, Santa Clara University, 1995
  • • Distinguished Environmental Service Award, Santa Clara University, 2002
  • • Bernard Hubbard, S.J., Creative Collaboration Award, Santa Clara University, 2006
  • • Professor Joseph Bayma, S.J., Scholarship Award, Santa Clara University, 2015-2016


  • BIOL 7 Exploring Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 165 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 158 Biology of Insects
  • BIOL 22 Intro to Evolution & Ecology
  • BIOL 195 Independent Research


1986 - 1988 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Clark University ‐ Ecology
1986 Ph.D. in Entomology, Cornell University
1982 M.S. in Entomology, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and
1977 B.A. in Biology, State University of New York College at Cortland

Contact Information

Phone: 408-554-4149
Fax: 408-554-2710
Location: Alumni Science Hall
Room number: Alumni Science 244


Research Works (29)