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Zen Faulkes


Presentation_Tips_ebook_cover (566K)

Available in Kindle edition and free PDF.

Associated webpages



Better Posters


An appearance on Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour

An appearance on Breaking Bio

Writing workshop

Slipper lobster digging

Sand crab digging

Parasites in shrimp nervous system


The Open Laboratory 2009

Research Blogging Awards 2010

The Open Laboratory 2009

The Open Laboratory 2008


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Zen Faulkes’s home page

Connect and contact

Twitter: @DoctorZen
Google Plus:


I’ve put together a page of undergraduate research opportunities.

Science at work!

This video was done as part of the #SciFund Challenge.

Research Interests

I’m interested in the evolution of behaviour and nervous systems, particularly the origin of new behaviours. I work mostly with decapod crustaceans, with a particular emphasis on the unusual crayfish Marmorkrebs (also known as marbled crayfish).

What’s on this page


Academic email:

Department of Biology
The University of Texas-Pan American
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, TX 78539

Office: Science 2.364
Phone: (956) 665-2614 or (956) 587-ZENF (i.e., (956) 587-9363)
Fax: (956) 665-3657

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-4049-7034
ResearcherID: A-5777-2009

Yahoo! Messenger ID, AOL / AIM: utpazen
MSN Messenger ID:
Google Talk ID:
ICQ: 194419434

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Related Pages

Mostly serious

Mostly social

  • Sunday Matinee: Movie reviews. I used to work as a projectionist, and still love movies. I try to see a new one every week.
  • MySpace: Inactive. Was used mostly for movie reviews.
  • Facebook: Random stuff.


Articles in journals and books

Open access indicates Open Access papers.


New Carreon N, Faulkes Z. Position of larval tapeworms, Polypocephalus sp., in the ganglia of shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus. Integrative and Comparative Biology: in press.

NewOpen access Weinersmith KL, Faulkes Z. Parasitic manipulation of host phenotype, or how to make a zombie - an introduction to the symposium. Integrative and Comparative Biology: in press.


New Faulkes Z. 2014. The vacuum shouts back: post-publication peer-review on social media. Neuron 82(2): 258-260.


Faulkes Z. 2013. How much is that crayfish in the window? Online monitoring of Marmorkrebs, Procambarus fallax f. virginalis (Hagen, 1870) in the North American pet trade. Freshwater Crayfish 19(1): 39-44.

New Murph JH, Faulkes Z. 2013. Abundance and size of sand crabs, Lepidopa benedicti (Decapoda: Albuneidae), in South Texas. The Southwestern Naturalist 58(4): 431-434. DOI to be assigned.


New Faulkes Z. 2012. Morphological adaptations for digging and burrowing. In: Watling L, Thiel M (eds.), The Natural History of Crustacea, Volume 1: Functional Morphology and Diversity, pp. 276-295. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
US website:
UK website:

Faulkes Z. 2012. Presentation Tips (ebook). Kindle Direct Publishing.

Open access Faulkes Z, Feria TP, Muńoz J. 2012. Do Marmorkrebs, Procambarus fallax f. virginalis, threaten freshwater Japanese ecosystems? Aquatic Biosystems 8: 13.


Carreon N, Faulkes Z, Fredensborg BL. 2011. Polypocephalus sp. infects the nervous system and increases activity of commercially harvested white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus). Journal of Parasitology 97(5): 755-759.

Espinoza SY, Faulkes Z. 2011. Escaping while defenseless or blind: effects of sensory input on tailflipping in crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852). Freshwater Crayfish 18(1): 13-17.

Open access Faulkes Z. 2011. Can brain imaging replace interrogation and torture? Global Virtue Ethics Review 6(2): 55-78.

Faulkes Z. 2011. The decade the clones came. In: Goldman J (ed.), Zivkovic B (series ed.), The Open Laboratory: The Best of Science Writing on the Web 2010, pp. 151-156. Coturnix: Chapel Hill.
[Read the original blog post here.]

Open access Feria TP, Faulkes Z. 2011. Forecasting the distribution of Marmorkrebs, a parthenogenetic crayfish with high invasive potential, in Madagascar, Europe, and North America. Aquatic Invasions 6(1): 55-67.
Supplement: Google Spreadsheet of locations used to train models.

Jimenez SA, Faulkes Z. 2011. Can the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish Marmorkrebs compete with other crayfish species in fights? Journal of Ethology 29(1): 115-120.

Nasir U, Faulkes Z. 2011. Color polymorphism of sand crabs, Lepidopa benedicti (Decapoda, Albuneidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology 31(2): 240-245.


Faulkes Z. 2010. The decade the clones came: Beware the mighty Marmorkrebs! In: Zivcovic B (ed.), Scientific American Guest Blog. 29 November 2010.

Open access Faulkes Z. 2010. The spread of the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish, Marmorkrebs (Procambarus sp.), in the North American pet trade. Aquatic Invasions 5(4): 447-450.
Supplements: Google Map and Google Spreadsheet of data in Figure 1.

Faulkes Z. 2010. Taking a cue from the silver screen. Science 327: 523. [Letter responding to: Alberts B. 2010. Promoting scientific standards. Science 327: 12. 10.1126/science.1185983]

Faulkes Z. 2010. I want to be Carl Sagan, but can’t. In: Scicurious (ed.), Zivkovic B (series ed.), The Open Laboratory: The Best in Science Writing On Blogs 2009, pp. 45-46. Coturnix: Chapel Hill.
[Read the original blog post here.]

Open access Jimenez SA, Faulkes Z. 2010. Establishment and care of a laboratory colony of parthenogenetic marbled crayfish, Marmorkrebs. Invertebrate Rearing 1(1): 10-18.

Open access Puri S, Faulkes Z. 2010. Do decapod crustaceans have nociceptors for extreme pH? PLoS ONE 5(4): e10244.


Faulkes Z. 2009. How Marmorkrebs can make the world a better place. In: Rohn J (ed.), Grant RP (deputy ed.), Zivkovic B (series ed.), The Open Laboratory: The Best In Science Writing On Blogs 2008, pp. 86-87. Coturnix: Chapel Hill.
[Read the original blog post here.]


Faulkes Z. 2008. Turning loss into opportunity: The key deletion of an escape circuit in decapod crustaceans. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 72(4): 251-261.

Flores AR, Faulkes Z. 2008. Texture preferences of ascidian tadpole larvae during settlement. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 41(3): 155-159.


Faulkes Z, Davelos Baines A. 2007. Evolutionary string theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30(4): 369-370.


Espinoza SY, Breen L, Varghese N, Faulkes Z. 2006. Loss of escape-related giant neurons in a spiny lobster, Panulirus argus. The Biological Bulletin 211(3): 223-231.
Abstract and reprint

Faulkes Z. 2006. The locomotor toolbox of spanner crabs, Ranina ranina (brachyura, Raninidae). Crustaceana 79(2): 143-155.

Faulkes Z. 2006. Digging mechanisms and substrate preferences of shovel nosed lobsters, Ibacus peronii (Decapoda: Scyllaridae). Journal of Crustacean Biology 26(1): 69-72.
Supplement: Video of digging behaviour.


Lambert G, Faulkes Z, Lambert CC, Scofield VL. 2005. Ascidians of South Padre Island, Texas, with a key to species. The Texas Journal of Science 57(3): 251-262.


Faulkes Z. 2004. Mechanisms of behavioral switching. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 191(3): 197-199.

Faulkes Z. 2004. Loss of escape responses and giant neurons in the tailflipping circuits of slipper lobsters, Ibacus spp. (Decapoda, Palinura, Scyllaridae). Arthropod Structure & Development 33(2): 113-123.


Faulkes Z, Macmillan DL. 2002. Effects of removal of muscle receptor organ input on the temporal structure of non-giant swimming cycles in the crayfish, Cherax destructor. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology: 35(3): 149-155.

Paul DH, Faulkes Z, Antonsen BL. 2002. Synergies between disparate motor systems: loci for behavioral evolution. In: Crustacean Experimental Systems in Neurobiology (K Wiese, ed.), pp. 263-282. Springer Verlag: Heidelberg. [Click here for U.S. branch of publisher's website.]


Faulkes Z, Pollack GS. 2001. Mechanisms of frequency-specific responses of omega neuron 1 in crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus): a polysynaptic pathway for song? The Journal of Experimental Biology 204(7): 1295-1305.
Abstract and reprint

Patullo BP, Faulkes Z, Macmillan DL. 2001. Muscle receptor organs do not mediate load compensation during body roll and defense response extensions in the crayfish Cherax destructor. The Journal of Experimental Zoology 290(7): 783-790.


Faulkes Z, Pollack GS. 2000. The effects of inhibitory timing on contrast enhancement in auditory circuits in crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus). Journal of Neurophysiology 84(3): 1247-1255.
Abstract and reprint


Faulkes Z, Paul DH. 1998. Digging in sand crabs: coordination of joints in individual legs. The Journal of Experimental Biology 201(14): 2139-2149.
Abstract and reprint

Pollack G, Faulkes Z. 1998. Representation of behaviorally relevant sound frequencies by auditory receptors in the cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. The Journal of Experimental Biology 201(1): 155-163.
Abstract and reprint


Faulkes Z, Paul DH. 1997. A map of the distal leg motor neurons in the thoracic ganglia of four decapod crustacean species. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 49(3): 162-178.

Faulkes Z, Paul DH. 1997. Coordination between the legs and tail during digging and swimming in sand crabs. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 180(2): 161-169.

Faulkes Z, Paul DH. 1997. Digging in sand crabs (Decapoda, Anomura, Hippoidea): interleg coordination. The Journal of Experimental Biology 200(4): 793-805.
Erratum: The Journal of Experimental Biology 200(9)
Abstract and reprint

Faulkes Z. 1997. Is intelligence inevitable? In: The UFO Invasion: The Roswell Incident, Alien Abductions, and Government Cover-Ups (eds. K. Frazier, B. Karr, J. Nickell), pp. 303-312. Prometheus Books (US website | UK website): Amherst.


Faulkes Z, Paul DH. 1992. Connecting invertebrate behavior, physiology and evolution with Eshkol-Wachman movement notation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15(2): 276-277.


Faulkes Z. 1991. Getting smart about getting smarts. The Skeptical Inquirer 15(3): 263-268.


Non peer-reviewed papers

NewOpen access Faulkes Z. 2012. The distal leg motor neurons of slipper lobsters, Ibacus spp. (Decapoda, Scyllaridae). NeuroDojo (blog):
[PDF version for printing]


Selected conference abstracts

New Puri S, Faulkes Z. 2012. Crayfish avoid noxious high, but not low, temperatures. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience: 00416.

New Faulkes Z, Feria TP. 2012. Size differences in sand crabs living in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Poster PS 109-238 at 97th Ecological Society of America meeting, 5-10 August 2011, Portland, Oregon USA.

Faulkes Z, Feria TP. 2011. Risk assessment of a mysterious invader: Marbled crayfish in Japan. Presentation given at 96th Ecological Society of America meeting, 7-12 August 2011, Austin, Texas.

Jimenez SA, Faulkes Z. 2009. Assessing threat of introduction of the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish Marmorkrebs into North American waters. Poster #20891 presented at the 94th Ecology Society of America annual meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2-7 August 2009.

Jimenez S, Faulkes Z. 2009. Establishment of a research colony of Marmorkrebs, a parthenogenetic crayfish species. Integrative and Comparative Biology 49(Supplement 1): e249.

Puri S, Faulkes Z. 2009. Do crayfish like spicy foods? and other tests of crustacean nociception. Integrative and Comparative Biology 49(Supplement 1): e139.

Faulkes Z. 2007. Motor neurons involved in escape responses in white shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus. Integrative and Comparative Biology 47(Supplement 1): e178.

Espinoza SY, Faulkes Z. 2007. Compromised weaponry enhances crayfish tailflipping. Integrative and Comparative Biology 47(Supplement 1): e176.

Faulkes Z. 2007. The key deletion of an adaptive neural circuit in decapod crustaceans. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 70(3): 207.

Faulkes Z. 2005. Do shovel-nosed lobsters shovel with their noses? Integrative and Comparative Biology 45(6): 994.

Espinoza SY, Breen A, Varghese N, Faulkes Z. 2005. Loss of escape-related neurons in spiny lobster (Panulirus argus). Integrative and Comparative Biology 45(6): 1129.

Faulkes Z, Varghese N. 2004. No escape: loss of escape-related giant neurons in spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus). Program No. 89.4. 2004 Abstract Viewer / Itinerary Planner. Washington, DC: Society for Neuroscience, 2004.

Faulkes Z. 2001. Parallelism in digging behaviour in two distantly related decapod crustaceans. American Zoologist 41(6): 1642.

Faulkes Z, Macmillan DL. 2000. Losing speed to gain control? The influence of muscle receptor organs on tailflipping in crayfish (Cherax destructor). Proceedings of the Australian Physiological and Pharmacological Society 31(2): 44P.

Faulkes Z, Pollack G. 1997. Sound frequency specific responses of cricket omega neuron. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 23(2): 1570.

Faulkes Z, Paul DH. 1995. Sand crab digging: an evolutionary mosaic of disparate ancestral locomotor modules? In: Burrows M, Matheson T, Newland PL, Schuppe H (eds.), Nervous Systems and Behaviour. Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress of Neuroethology, pp. 483. Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag.

Faulkes Z, Paul DH, Pellis SM. 1991. Digging by the sand crab Blepharipoda occidentalis. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 17(2): 1245.


Datasets and figures

Faulkes Z. 2012. Ibacus leg motor neurons Figure 3.


. (Published 6 September 2012; retrieved 03:19, Sep 06, 2012 GMT. Figure.)

Faulkes Z. 2012. Ibacus leg motor neurons Figure 4. Figshare. (Published 6 September 2012; retrieved 03:21, Sep 06, 2012 GMT. Figure.).

New Faulkes Z. 2012. #SciFund Round 2 success and social media. Figshare. (Dataset.)

Open Science Foundation, Byrnes J, Faulkes Z, Ranganathan J, Open Science. 2012. SciFund success and social media. Figshare. (Dataset.)

Other articles

Faulkes Z. 2009. Crustacean connectomes. (Response to Lu J, Tapia JC, White OL, Lichtman JW. 2009. The interscutularis muscle connectome. PLoS Biology 7(2): e32.
10.1371/journal.pbio.1000032). PLoS Biology

Faulkes Z. 1994. [Review of Anatomy of a Controversy: The Question of a “Language” Among Bees by Adrian M. Wenner & Patrick H. Wells, Columbia University Press.] Animal Behaviour 47(5): 1241-1242.

Faulkes Z. 1993. Who watches the watchmen? Our animals and ourselves. [Review of The Inevitable Bond by H. Davis & A.D. Balfour (Eds.), Cambridge University Press.] PSYCOLOQUY 4(40): human-animal-bond.4.faulkes. [Click here for text | Click here for response from Davis & Balfour]

Education and Training

My academic heritage can be seen at the NeuronTree website.

Professional Affiliations


I regularly teach General Biology (BIOL1401), Biological Writing (BIOL3302), Neurobiology (BIOL3310) and Evolutionary Theory (BIOL 6324). I maintain class websites for my UTPA classes here (password protected, for student use).

Selected Awards

  • Finalist in The Open Laboratory: The Best In Science Writing On Blogs 2009 (Scicurious, ed.; Zivkovic B, series ed.). One of 50 selections from 760 submissions.
  • Finalist in The Open Laboratory: The Best In Science Writing On Blogs 2008 (Rohn J, ed.; Grant RP, deputy ed.; Zivkovic B, series ed.). One of 50 selections from over 800 submissions.
  • Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Post-doctoral Fellowship. 1999-2000.
  • Honorable Mention in the Warder Clyde Allee Award, Best Student Paper Session of the Animal Behaviour Society for talk titled, “Sand crab digging: a neuroethological study of the evolution of a ‘new’ behavior.” 25 July 1994.

Miscellany and Trivia

I was the first graduate student at UVic to defend my dissertation using videoconferencing. Consequently, my Ph.D. defense went down as the first in UVic history to be interrupted by a French janitor... who was in France at the time.

I did some lettering for Time City, an independent comic book, in 1992. I lettered Time City #5, and a back-up feature in #4. The creator of that book, Adrie van Viersen, relaunched the series with a new title: Technopolis (published by Caliber Comics).

I was an extra in Eastern Condors (1986, Boho Films), a Hong Kong film directed by Sammo Hung. No, I didn’t get to go to Hong Kong. They were doing location filming in an old jailhouse in Lethbridge. Alas, pretty much all the footage shot during the days I worked on the film wound up on the cutting room floor. It was described on the set as “a kung fu comedy version of The Dirty Dozen,” but Eastern Condors wound up being more than that. It’s widely considered to be a classic of its genre.

Some of my articles concern the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence. If the search for aliens interest you, I recommend the SETI Institute and the SETI@Home project.

This page was last modified 16 April 2014.
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