Reduviidae

 Our lab focuses on all aspects of systematic and evolutionary research on Reduviidae. Projects range from species descriptions and taxonomic revisions of genera or entire subfamilies, to teasing apart phylogenetic relationships of various clades and the entire superfamily Reduvioidea (Reduviidae and Pachynomidae), using both morphological and molecular (Sanger, NGS) data. We are also interested in the natural history of assassin bugs, including the blood-feeding kissing bugs, and use a range of methods to gain insights into predatory biology and the switch from predatory to blood-feeding life styles. Prey specializations and adaptations to different predatory behaviors are pervasive across Reduviidae, and using this group as a model, we are aiming on understanding how a predacious group of organisms has become as diverse as Reduviidae are today.

Recent taxonomic research has focused on Ectrichodiinae of Madagascar, the speciose New World genus Zelus Fabricius ("in press" at BDJ), and Southeast Asian Physoderinae, among other projects. Ongoing research revises the subfamily Salyavatinae and uses integrative taxonomy to reveal species boundaries in a clade of North American ambush bugs, genus Phymata Latreille.

Read more about phylogenetic projects, metabarcoding of gut contents of pollinator predators, and various projects focusing on Triatominae, the kissing bugs. 

During the summer 2016, we are also collaborating with Michael Widmann, an intern with DLiA, who is surveying the assassin bug fauna in the Great Smokey Mountains NP. Follow his blog here