Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, entomology professor at the University of California, Davis, and internationally known for his pioneering and innovative work in insect communication, is a newly selected Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA).

“This is a highly prestigious honor and richly deserved,” said Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and one of 10 other UC Davis entomologists named ESA Fellows since 1947.

The 6,000-member organization selects up to 10 members each year as a Fellow, recognizing outstanding contributions in research, teaching, extension, and administration.

This year’s 10 Fellows will be recognized at the ESA annual meeting set Dec. 13-16, in Indianapolis.

“Dr. Leal is an acknowledged leader nationally and internationally in the field of insect chemical ecology,” said May Berenbaum, professor and head of the Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Lauding his research, publications and leadership, she praised him as a “trail blazer” and “world authority on chemical communication.”

As chair of the Department of Entomology, he shepherded the department to the number one status in the nation (Chronicle of Higher Education).

Among his other leadership activities include past president of the International Society of Chemical Ecology and the first chair of the ESA’s section on Integrative Physiological and Molecular Insect Systems.

Leal is the 11th UC Davis entomologist to be named a Fellow of ESA. Richard Bohart (1917-2007), for whom the Bohart Museum of Entomology is named, was the first UC Davis entomologist to be selected an ESA Fellow (1947).

Ten others followed: Donald McLean, 1990; Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003), 1991; John Edman, 1994; Robert Washino, 1996; Bruce Eldridge, 2001; William Reisen, 2003; Harry Kaya, 2007; Michael Parrella and Frank Zalom, 2008; and Walter Leal, 2009.