I am an associate professor in the Doctoral Program in Biological Sciences at the University of Tsukuba, where I teach ecology, theoretical biology, biometry, and computer programming. I specialize in population biology using a wide range of materials, including natural communities of egrets and herons in the eastern region of the Kanto Plain; laboratory populations of bean weevils collected from all over the world; natural populations of bumble bees in urban and rural regions, and the in silico digital bugs that occupy gigabytes on the hard disks attached to my computers. I am using these materials to question, in an evolutionary sense, why some organisms live in groups but others tend to live solitarily. My speciation philosophy was converted to Wrightian from Fisherian when I studied evolution and ecology under Prof. Michael Wade in 1995–1996. I believe that Wright’s shifting balance scheme is realistic. I’m often described as a theoretician, but I consider myself primarily to be an ecological field worker. Somehow I have become good at capturing wild egrets and herons by hand!
The photographs (clockwise from the top left panel) show a larva of Callosobruchus maculatus, a notorious bean-weevil pest of legume seeds, constructing a rough wall inside a bean when it happened to break into the cavity of another larva. The larva has used feces and a secreted substance to form the wall. The C. maculatus larvae are of the scramble type, so multiple adults can emerge from a bean, but if the wall structure is artificially removed the larva will fight with the other larva in the cavity and one or both of them will die as a result. The rough wall acts as a kind of language that prevents fights between inherently quarrelsome larvae.