Fly Taxonomy and Ecology
This page describes research that I completed as an undergraduate at McGill University.
Systematics and Ecology of Nearctic Neophyllomyza
I revised the Nearctic species of Neophyllomyza and provided updated descriptions, illustrations and an identification key for the two included species: N. quadricornis Melander and N. gaulti n. sp. Large numbers of both species were reared from decaying logs of Sugar Maple and American Beech in eastern Canada, indicating that larvae of both species are saproxylic, although the exact larval food source is unknown. Although the two species are sympatric over much of their range and apparently use the same resources for larval development, their habits differ: N. quadricornis was collected in both early and advanced decay stage logs from late May until September, with a peak of emergence in late June, while N. gaulti was reared almost exclusively from advanced decay stage logs and from mid-July to mid-August. This suggests that N. gaulti is more specialized in its larval habits, which may reduce competition between the two species.
Brochu and Wheeler 2009. Systematics and ecology of the Nearctic species of Neophyllomyza (Diptera: Milichiidae)
Lyman Entomological Museum Blog. “New species under our noses”
Vertical Stratification of Insects in Temperate Forest Canopies
Forest canopies support high arthropod biodiversity, but in temperate canopies, little is known about the spatial distribution of these arthropods. This is an important first step toward understanding ecological roles of insects in temperate canopies. The objective of this study was to assess differences in the species composition of two dominant and diverse taxa (Diptera and Coleoptera) along a vertical gradient in temperate deciduous forest canopies. Five sugar maple trees from each of three deciduous forest sites in southern Quebec were sampled using a combination of window and trunk traps placed in three vertical strata (understory, mid-canopy, and upper-canopy) for three sampling periods throughout the summer. Coleoptera species richness and abundance did not differ between canopy heights, but more specimens and species of Diptera were collected in the upper canopy. Community composition of Coleoptera and Diptera varied significantly by trap height. Window traps collected more specimens and species of Coleoptera than trunk traps, although both trap types should be used to maximize representation of the entire Coleoptera community. There were no differences in abundance, diversity, or composition of Diptera collected between trap types. Our data confirm the relevance of sampling all strata in a forest when studying canopy arthropod biodiversity.