SYSTEMATICS OF BEETLES IMPORTANT TO AGRICULTURE, LANDSCAPE PLANTS, AND BIOLOGICAL CONTROL
Project Number: 1245-22000-263-00
Start Date: Oct 01, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2015
ARS is interested in performing research to increase and enhance the understanding of the systematics of beetles (Coleoptera) important to agriculture, landscape plants, and the environment, especially flea beetles, wood-boring beetles, and lady beetles. Our Project Plan has four main objectives: 1) Analyze morphological characters of Neotropical flea beetle genera and assemble those of value for accurately identifying adults; 2) Discover new identification features of Neotropical longhorned woodboring beetle genera and develop new definitions based on these discoveries; 3) Conduct generic revisions, investigate species boundaries, and analyze the higher classification of lady beetles using input from contemporary molecular and morphological based studies; 4) Provide identifications of plant-feeding, woodboring, and predatory beetles, and other beetles of agricultural, economic and environmental importance.
ARS will undertake the taxonomic research on agriculturally and economically important beetles by initially making use of many microscopic and imaging techniques. This information is used to assess homology and variation in their structural characteristics. New diagnostic tools such as descriptions, illustrations, and dichotomous and electronic identification keys will be developed using the latest software and imaging equipment available. These products will be made available to the public as hardcopy books, research papers, websites, and electronic identification systems. Timely, accurate identifications of beetles intercepted at ports-of-entry by APHIS-PPQ or submitted by scientists and regulatory agencies will be provided and relevant portions of the National Insect Collection at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) will be curated and expanded.