Building the systematic framework for research on biodiversity, biogeography, and evolutionary biology of ensign wasps (Hymenoptera: Evaniidae)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Ensign wasps (Hymenoptera: Evaniidae) develop as larvae and eat eggs within the egg cases of cockroaches. These wasps exhibit many fascinating biological attributes, including extreme variability in wing venation, the existence of unrelated forms that mimic one another in appearance, variable egg-laying behaviors, possible impacts on cockroach evolution, and the possible use as biocontrol agents of cockroach pests. Yet, until recently, Evaniidae have largely been neglected by biologists, due to an inadequate classification system and the absence of a robust phylogeny necessary to address evolutionary questions. This research is designed to tackle these problems by using data from DNA, morphology, and fossils to test species concepts, explore ensign wasp biodiversity, and to estimate relationships between taxa and divergence times of major lineages. At least four researchers will be trained as part of this project and the results will produce a revised taxonomic infrastructure, a robust phylogenetic framework, and the revised and well documented species concepts that are required for deeper exploration of evolutionary questions. The species descriptions and phylogenies will also be available on the World Wide Web using the latest biodiversity information standards and tools such that scientists and non-scientists alike can share in this ongoing discovery.

Effective start/end date6/30/122/28/14


  • National Science Foundation: $95,823.00


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