Faculty/Staff Directory

Alex Orfinger, Ph.D.

Alex Orfinger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

Sequoya Hall
Room 228
650 College Dr. Dalton, GA 30720


2023: Ph.D. in Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida / Florida A&M University

2017: M.S. in Biology, University of Central Florida

2013: B.S. in Biology with University Honors, University of Central Florida


Originally from Ormond Beach, Florida, I completed my Ph.D. in entomology and nematology at the University of Florida. Previously, I received my Bachelor of Science in biology with Honors followed by my Master of Science in biology from the University of Central Florida. I have broad scientific interests and experience in natural history, taxonomy, ecology, evolutionary biology, and invasion biology of a wide range of taxa, but especially aquatic insects and fishes, as well as science education.

Though my scientific background is varied, my greatest expertise lies in caddisfly (Trichoptera) systematics and aquatic entomology in general, in which I use a variety of molecular, morphological, and ecological methods to study some fascinating freshwater animals. If you are interested in collaborating with me on any aspect of entomology or natural history, please reach out! I am always happy to consider new projects and to discuss all things biology!

Outside of the classroom and lab, you'll typically find me watching or playing soccer, hiking, traveling, and/or spending time with my wife and pups. 

Course Name/Overview

Course Name Course Overview
BIOL 1224 – Entomology
BIOL 1107K – Principles of Biology I



Recent Publications (July 2023)

*signifies high school student

31. Orfinger, A.B., Hix, R.L., &  Rasmussen, A.K. (2023). Larval taxonomy of eastern Nearctic Polycentropus sensu stricto (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae). Freshwater Science, 42(2): 176–189. https://doi.org/10.1086/725339 Featured on Issue Cover.

30. Metcalf, A.N., Kurthen, A.L., Freedman, J., & Orfinger, A.B. (2022). The Grand Caddis Hatch Of JASM 2022: Trichoptera Natural History Observations At The Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting In Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA). Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1002/lob.10521

29. Orfinger, A.B., Hix, R.L., Gerth, W.J., &  Rasmussen, A.K. (2022). Larval Taxonomy Of Western Nearctic Polycentropus sensu stricto (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae), With Comments On The Identification Of Immature Nearctic Polycentropus sensu lato. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 98(4): 225-261. 10.3956/2022-98.4.245

28. Lai, Q.T., Tuan, V.A., Dieu, D.K., Orfinger, A.B., Ly, N.M., Ha, N.T., & T.T., Giang, T.T. (2022). Reproductive And Growth Parameters Of The Razor Clam, Cultellus maximus (Gmelin, 1791), In Southern Vietnam. Ocean Science Journal, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12601-022-00089-5

27. Orfinger, A.B. (2022). Redescription And Transfer Of Holocentropus timesis (Denning) New Combination (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 124(1): 98-107. https://doi.org/10.4289/0013-8797.124.1.98

26. Zamani, A., Dal Pos, D., Fric,, T., Orfinger, A.B., Scherz, M.D., Bartoňová, A.S., & Gante, Z.F. (2022). The Future Of Zoological Taxonomy Is Integrative, Not Minimalist. Systematics and Biodiversity, 20(1): 1-14. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14772000.2022.2063964

25. Orfinger, A. B., Morse, J.C., & Hix, R.L. (2022). Associating Life Stages and Sexes of Nearctic Polycentropus Curtis, 1835 (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae) Using Mitochondrial DNA Barcoding. Ecology and Evolution, 12(e8741): 1-18. doi:  https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8741

24. Etnier, D.A., Bauer, B.H., Green, M.W., & Orfinger, A.B. (2022). Larval Description of the Northern Caddisfly, Limnephilus sackeni Banks, 1930 (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae). Aquatic Insects, 1-11. doi: 10.1080/01650424.2022.2046780

23. Zamani, A., Fric, Z.F., Gante, H.F., Hokins, T., Orfinger, A.B., Scherz, M.D., Bartoňová, A.S., & Dal Pos, D. (2022). DNA Barcodes On Their Own Are Not Enough to Describe a Species. Systematic Entomology, 1-5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/syen.12538

22. Orfinger, A.B., De Jong, G.D. (2021). The First Record of the Jumping Bristletail Pedetontus gershneri Allen 1995 (Microcoryphia: Machilidae) from Alabama, USA Significantly Extends its Known Range. Insecta Mundi, 0894: 1-4.

21. Orfinger, A.B., Moulton, J.K. (2021). Polycentropus aileenae n. sp. (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae), a Caddisfly Species From The Eastern Nearctic, With New State Records for Members Of The Polycentropus confusus Species Group. Zootaxa, 4996(2): 353–362. doi: https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4996.2.9

20. Orfinger, A.B., Rasmussen, A.K. & Hix, R.L. (2021). Sternotherus minor (Loggerhead Musk Turtle): Mortality. Herpetological Review, 52(1): 132.

19. Orfinger, A.B., Rasmussen, A.K. & Hix, R.L. (2021). Multilocus BOLD Dataset for Nearctic Polycentropodidae (Trichoptera): Metadata. Freshwater Metadata Journal, 51: 1-6. doi: https://doi.org/10.15504/fmj.2021.51

18. Orfinger, A.B. (2020) A Preliminary Molecular Assessment Of The Taxonomic Validity Of Hexagenia orlando Traver, 1931 (Ephemeroptera: Ephemeridae). Genetics & Applications, 4(2): 30-37. doi: 10.31383/ga.vol4iss1pp30-37

17. Orfinger, A.B. (2020) Diversity Beyond Insects in Entomology and Allied Disciplines. Journal of Insect Science, 20(5): 4; 1–2. doi: 10.1093/jisesa/ieaa093

16. Orfinger, A.B., Etnier, D.A. (2020). Polycentropus dinkinsorum (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae), A Newly Described Caddisfly Species From The Southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Zootaxa, 4853(1): 126–132. doi: https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4853.1.8

15. Lai, Q.T., Orfinger, A.B., Tran, T.T., & Nguyen, K.L. (2020). Distribution Of Suckermouth Armored Catfishes (Pterygoplichthys spp.) Along A Salinity Gradient In Co Chien and Ham Luong Rivers, Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Asian Fisheries Science, 30(2020): 300–306. doi: https://doi.org/10.33997/j.afs.2020.33.3.011

14. Samways, M.J., Barton, P.S., Birkhofer, K., Chichorro, F., Deacon, C., Fartmann, T., Fukushima, C.S., Gaigher, R., Habel, J.C., Hallmann, C.A., Hill, M.J., Hochkirch, A., Kaila, L., Kwak, M.L., Maes, D., Mammola, S., Ari Noriega, J., Orfinger, A.B., Pedraza, F., Pryke, J.S., Roque, F.O., Settele, J., Simaika, J.P., Stork, N.E., Suhling, F., Vorster, C. & Cardoso, P. (2020) Solutions For Humanity On How To Conserve Insects. Biological Conservation, 242: doi: https:/doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108427  Featured in numerous major news outlets.

13. Cardoso, P., Barton, P.S., Birkhofer, K., Chichorro, F., Deacon, C., Fartmann, T., Fukushima, C.S., Gaigher, R., Habel, J.C., Hallmann, C.A., Hill, M.J., Hochkirch, A., Kwak, M.L., Mammola, S., Ari Noriega, J., Orfinger, A.B., Pedraza, F., Pryke, J.S., Roque, F.O., Settele, J., Simaika, J.P., Stork, N.E., Suhling, F., Vorster, C., Samways, M.J. (2020) Scientists’ Warning To Humanity On Insect Extinctions. Biological Conservation, 242:  doi: https:/doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108426  Featured in numerous major news outlets.

12. Orfinger, A.B. (2019). Transfer Of Polycentropus harpi Moulton and Stewart To Plectrocnemia harpi (Moulton and Stewart) New Combination (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae). Insecta Mundi, 0718: 1-2.

11. Orfinger, A.B., Lai, Q.T., & Chabot, R.M. (2019). Effects Of Nonnative Fishes On Commercial Seine Fisheries: Evidence From A Long-Term Data Set. Water, 11(6): 1-11. doi: 10.3390/w11061165

10. Orfinger, A.B., & Lucky, A. (2019). Giant Burrowing Mayfly, Hexagenia limbata (Serville, 1829) (Insecta: Ephemeroptera: Ephemeroidea: Ephemeridae), UF/IFAS Extension, EDIS Featured Creatures, EENY-726: 1-4.

9. Orfinger, A.B., Helsel, D., & Breeding, S.F. (2018). Longevity Of The Barred Owl, Strix varia Barton, 1799 In Captivity. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 130(4): 1009-1010. https://doi.org/10.1676/17-00014.1 Featured in Audubon Magazine.

8. Orfinger, A.B., Kelly, S.L. & Woller, D.A. (2018). Flower-Feeding By Two Species Of Mydas Fly (Diptera: Mydidae) In Florida, With Notes On Tree-Form Licania michauxii (Gopher Apple). Southeastern Naturalist, 17(2): N19-N27. Featured on Issue Cover.

7. Orfinger, A.B. (2018). Anolis sagrei (Brown Anole): Ophiophagy. Herpetological Review, 49(1): 116.

6. Bernt, M.J., Crampton, W.G.R., Orfinger, A.B., & Albert, J.S. (2018). Melanosternarchus amaru, A New Genus And Species Of Deep-Channel Electric Knifefish (Apteronotidae, Gymnotiformes) From The Amazon Basin. Zootaxa, 4378(4): 451-479.  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4378.4.1

5. Orfinger, A.B., & Goodding, D.D. (2018). The Global Invasion Of The Suckermouth Armored Catfish Genus Pterygoplichthys (Siluriformes: Loricariidae): Annotated List Of Species, Distributional Summary, And Assessment Of Impacts. Zoological Studies, 57(7): 1-16. doi:10.6620/ ZS.2018.57-07. Featured in Amazonas Magazine.

4. Orfinger, A.B., & Kelly, S.L. (2017). Tachyporus nitidulus (Fabricius, 1781) (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae, Tachyporinae): First Record From The State Of Florida, USA. Check List, 13(6): 921–923.  https://doi.org/10.15560/13.6.921

3. Orfinger, A.B., Cogen, T.B.*, Irons, G.R.*, Kabilan, K.V.*, Molligoda, B.*, Moody, A.L.*, Wisdo, J.F.*, & Phillips, K.F. (2017). Preliminary Study Of Pan Trapping In Longleaf Pine Flatwoods In Central Florida, USA. Midsouth Entomologist, 10(1): 24-27.

2. Orfinger, A.B. (2015). Evolution As Opinion Versus Fact: A False Dichotomy With True Consequences. The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 7(1): 13-20.

1. Orfinger, A.B. (2015). Selected Population Characteristics Of The Non-Native Catfish Hoplosternum littorale (Hancock, 1828) In Central Florida, USA. International Journal of Aquatic Biology, 3(4): 258-262.