Press Releases

Database Documents Names for More Than 150,000 Diptera Species

From USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD USA, 29 August 2008

FLYTREE major collaborator and United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist F. Chris Thompson headed up efforts to accurately identify and name almost 157,000 flies, gnats, maggots, midges, mosquitoes and related species in the order Diptera.”…

Fruit Fly Diversity is in the Details

From USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD USA, 16 May 2008

USDA-ARS molecular biologist and FLYTREE collaborator, Sonja Scheffer, and her colleagues show that using plant niche diversity alone to estimate species diversity of the related insect fauna, using tropical fruit flies in the genusBlepharoneura as an example, can result in an underestimate of real diversity of the system. …

On the Fly: The Interactive Atlas and Key to Australian Fly Families wins Whitley Book Award

From CSIRO, Canberra, Australia, 17 Sept. 2007

Dr. David Yeates (Australian Biological Resources Study Center for Biological Information Technology) proudly accepted the 2007 Whitley Book Awards Certificate of Commendation from the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales for On The Fly, judged by the Society to be the best book in the category, “Interactive Atlas and Key.” …

Mighty Midges

From the Antarctic Sun, 22 Jan. 2006

Is it any wonder that the only free-living insect on Antarctica is a fly? Richard Lee and David Denlinger and their graduate students are studying Belgica antarctica, a flightless chironomid fly endemic to this continent, and the only species in the genus Belgica. Hear more about their studies from their website.

Scientist Heads $2.4 Million Project to Map Flies’ Family Tree

From North Carolina State University, 11 Dec. 2003

An international research team headed by a North Carolina State University entomologist has won a $2.4 million grant to fill a tall order – the order Diptera, that is.

As part of a massive National Science Foundation-funded effort called Assembling the Tree of Life, the team is creating a better picture of the evolutionary and genetic ties that link some 125,000 fly species that make up the order. The Tree of Life project – rooted in Charles Darwin’s concept that all of life, from the smallest microorganism to the largest vertebrate, is genetically connected – aims to pull together a family tree for all 1.7 million known living species. …

Flyodiversity under world-wide scrutiny

From CSIRO in Canberra, Australia, 4 Nov. 2003:

Australian researchers are to join a major international research project into the evolutionary history of flies.

“A big part of biodiversity is actually ‘flyodiversity’,” says Dr David Yeates. “Of nearly two million living species known to science – and there are many more yet to be discovered – around 10% are flies ( Diptera ) of some sort.”  …

Flies key to evolution study

From the Taipei Times and The Observer, London, 16 November 2003:

A major study of man’s constant companion could have important implications for the development of evolutionary theory.

Flies have been around for at least 250 million years, surviving global warming and freezing and major “extinction events” such as that which wiped out the dinosaurs. Yet we know surprisingly little about this constant and frequently irritating companion to man and animal life.

In an attempt to rectify this, Australian scientists have joined a global effort to map the genetic structure and evolutionary history of the fly which could also entail a major rethink of Darwinian principles. One of them, David Yeates, an entomologist, describes the task as “an incredibly important project considering flies comprise about 10 percent of animal life forms on the planet.” …