Parasitoid Flies (Diptera: Tachinidae) in a Biodiversity Restoratiion Initiative
: Elucidating Tachinid Diversity in Area de Conservación Guanacaste

  • Alan Jose Fleming

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

A selection of five peer-reviewed papers are presented as a thesis for PhD by Publication. These papers demonstrate a portion of the author’s contribution towards the global knowledge-base on the systematics of parasitoid flies (Diptera: Tachindae). The included papers describe a total of 134 species spread over five separate genera (Houghia Coquillet, Calolydella Townsed, Hyphantrophaga Townsend, Telothyria Van der Wulp, and Belvosia Robineau-Desvoidy), often resolving cryptic species complexes. In addition to nomenclature, the included papers provide species analyses in the form of dichotomous identification keys. The author's contributions provide a baseline for future research, providing an understanding of Costa Rican tachinid biology and behavior. The resolution of cryptic species complexes using molecular markers, morphology, and life history provide foundational data for ecological analysis. The discussion section uses these data produced in my original research to explore the implications of cryptic species on the ideas of specialism and generalism, and the structure of the parasitoid-host networks. Using life history, host-parasitoid interactions, and molecular delimitation of species, my analysis provides a proof of concept for further research and an example of the impact alpha-taxonomy such as that presented in my papers can have on the wider knowledgebase. These papers reveal the importance of understanding biodiversity even in an area of study as small as the Area de Conservacíon Guanacaste (ACG).
Date of Award17 Jan 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorLena Grinsted (Supervisor) & Scott Armbruster (Supervisor)

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