SYSTEMATICS OF FLIES OF AGRICULTURAL IMPORTANCE
Project Number: 1275-22000-233-00
Start Date: Mar 18, 2005
End Date: Mar 17, 2010
Advance systematic knowledge of flies damaging crops or beneficial as predators or biocontrol agents of weeds or pest insects, by generating morphological and molecular character data to test species limits and phylogenetic hypotheses, diagnose populations and species, and create identification tools. Develop online systematic resources on agriculturally important flies to provide data and images for use in pest management, quarantine, conservation and other activities. Provide expert identifications of agriculturally important flies as urgently required by ARS, other state and federal researchers, and action agencies and curation and management of the flies in the National Collection of Insects.
The morphology and DNA of agriculturally important groups of flies will be studied to discover characters useful for the diagnosis and identification of pests and beneficial species, and to test competing hypotheses of their relationships and improve their classification. The following methods will be used as appropriate: study morphology by light and scanning microscopy; extract and sequence DNA from both nuclear and mitochondrial genes; compile character matrices to produce descriptions, phylogenetic analyses, and identification tools (keys); illustrate diagnostic characters; study type specimens to correctly assign names to species and higher groups; field research to obtain samples and discover host relationships; and database specimen data to compile and analyze distribution and host information. Specimens submitted by ARS and other researchers and APHIS and other action agencies will be identified using available literature and comparison with specimens in the National Collection.