Yu Zeng


Hi, I’m Yu Zeng 曾昱. I’m a biologist based in the University of South Florida at Tampa, Florida.


Biomechanics, architecture and evolution of organismal designs.

The majority of my work involves wings, legs and other appendicular systems used for flying, maneuvering and feeding, including a diversity of behaviors in air, on land or at the liquid-air interfaces. Arthropods and amphibians are my favorite groups.

Main porjects include:

  • Evolution and biomechancis of flight in insects, which also involves aerial maneuvers and gliding without wings. The model systems include stick insects (Phasmatodea) and other arthropods.
  • Mechanisms of appendage-mediated rapid performances, especially in feeding and predator-prey interactions.


I received my Ph.D. in Integrative Biology, University of California at Berkeley, and I was co-advised by Robert Dudley & David Wake.

Reviewed for

  • Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
  • eLife
  • Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution
  • Integrative and Comparative Biology
  • Integrative Zoology
  • iScience
  • Journal of Experimental Biology
  • Journal of Insect Sciences
  • Journal of Comparative Physiology
  • PeerJ
  • Physical Review Letters
  • Scientific Reports
  • Zoomorphology


yuzeng {at} usf.edu / zeng {at} berkeley.edu / dreavoniz {at} berkeley.edu / (yzeng7 {at} ucmerced is no longer working)

selected publications

  1. movie_s1_original-size-1.gif
    Biomechanics of omnidirectional strikes in flat spiders
    Yu Zeng ,  and  Sarah Crews
    Journal of Experimental Biology, 2018
  2. right_tracrop.gif
    Biomechanics of aerial righting in wingless nymphal stick insects
    Yu Zeng ,  Kenrick Lam ,  Yuexiang Chen ,  Mengsha Gong ,  Zheyuan Xu ,  and  Robert Dudley
    Interface Focus, 2017
  3. oxyartes-small.jpg
    A tale of winglets: evolution of flight morphology in stick insects
    Yu Zeng ,  Connor O’Malley ,  Sonal Singhal ,  Faszly Rahim ,  Sehoon Park ,  Xin Chen ,  and  Robert Dudley
    Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 2020
  4. rosette_tiny.gif
    Self-propelling and rolling of a sessile-motile aggregate of the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus
    Yu Zeng ,  and  Bin Liu
    Communications Biology, 2020
  5. Myxine-small.png
    Evolution of a remarkable intracellular polymer and extreme cell allometry in hagfishes
    Yu Zeng ,  Skylar Petrichko ,  Kristen Nieders ,  David Plachetzki ,  and  Douglas Fudge
    Current Biology, 2021
  6. etc-small.png
    Epidermal threads reveal the origin of hagfish slime
    Yu Zeng ,  David C Plachetzki ,  Kristen Nieders ,  Hannah Campbell ,  Marissa Cartee ,  M Sabrina Pankey ,  Kennedy Guillen ,  and  Douglas Fudge
    Elife, 2023
  7. et-wing_smallcrop.jpg
    Beyond winglets: evolutionary scaling of flight-related morphology in stick insects (Phasmatodea)
    Yu Zeng ,  Sehoon Park ,  Camille Gonzales ,  Stephanie Yom ,  Faszly Rahim ,  and  Robert Dudley
    Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2023
  8. mantis-small.png
    Petal-shaped femoral lobes facilitate gliding in orchid mantises
    Xin Zhao ,  Jing-Xin Liu ,  Tristan Charles-Dominique ,  Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz ,  Bing Dong ,  Lin Yan ,  James C O’Hanlon ,  Yu Zeng ,  and  Zhanqi Chen
    Current Biology, 2023