SYSTEMATIC ANALYSIS OF APHIDS, MITES, SCALES, THRIPS, AND TERMITES WITH EMPHASIS ON INVASIVE SPECIES
Project Number: 1275-22000-230-00
Start Date: Mar 16, 2005
End Date: Feb 18, 2010
Develop and deliver new tools and analyses of plant pests, invasive insects, and mites. Using morphological and molecular characters of aphids, plant-feeding mites, scale insects, termites, and thrips, evaluate, characterize, and synthesize systematic information to discover and delimit new and previously described species and formulate hypotheses of relationship at higher taxonomic levels to predict invasiveness and other important biological characteristics. Provide detailed syntheses of information pertinent to safeguarding against new invasions or implementing strategies for controlling them. Deliver identification services to customers and maintain and grow the U.S. National Collections of insects. Develop comprehensive identification and classification systems and predictive phylogenies for each of the following groups (specifically Dysmicoccus bispinosus group of mealybugs of scale insects, Diuraphis and Hyalopterus aphids, invasive aphids of America, North of Mexico, Leptothrips and related genera, thrips commonly encounted at U.S. ports of entry, and mites in the genus Brevipalpus.)
This project will use a combination of light and scanning electron microscopy, computer aided character analysis and phylogeny estimation, molecular characterization of ribosomal and nuclear genes, digital imaging and photography. New specimens for analysis will be acquired through exporation and field work and via cooperation with colleagues and collaborators worldwide. More “traditional” illustration methods will be used when warranted and most cost effective. Morphological data will be incorporated into a number of web-based tools and sites coupled with the most up-to-date informatics programs.