John K. Moulton (Committee Member), James E. O'Hara (Committee Member), Jeffrey L. Peters (Committee Member), Thomas P. Rooney (Committee Member), John O. Stireman (Committee Chair)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
1. The large Diptera family Tachinidae is a diverse and recent group of koinobiont endoparasitoids feeding on a wide range of insects and some other arthropods. 2. Unfortunately, taxonomic confusion and poor understanding of tropical faunas has made difficulties for both basic and derived ecological research on tachinid flies. 3. Here I present evolutionary and ecological hypotheses for tachinid flies, with focus on the large tribe Blondeliini. Chapter 2 summarizes evidence for a latitudinal gradient in tachinid fly species richness within the Americas, using 7 survey data sets within both the temperate zone and tropics. In Chapter 3, I use several nuclear genes to construct a phylogenic framework for the tribe Blondeliini. Despite overall low support values, it was possible to infer several genus groups as well as describe overall evolutionary trends in host use and biogeography in the tribe. Chapter 4 is a conspectus of the Blondelia group of genera, which are distinctive for the female "keel and piercer" oviposition device. Both genetic and morphological evidence were used to delimit the included genera and species groups of Eucelatoria. Chapter 5 is a revision of the Eucelatoria ferox species group, the females of which are distinctive for their elongate piercers. Total ecological, morphological, and genetic evidence were used to describe previously named species as well as 17 species new to science.
Department or Program
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Year Degree Awarded
Copyright 2017, all rights reserved. My ETD will be available under the "Fair Use" terms of copyright law.