Antlion Systematics: Building Global Expertise In the Myrmeleon- Tidae (insecta: Neuroptera)
- View All
Antlions constitute a large group of neuropteran insects that play important ecological roles in arid-land habitats as a dominant class of small, soil-based predators. Our knowledge of the diversity, evolutionary history, and ecology of antlions is still very incomplete. Only half of the estimated 3000 world species have been scientifically described, and the historical relationships among these species remain poorly known. This project will address two high-priority areas: first, the development of a new global framework for antlion classification based on a rigorous phylogenetic analysis of molecular data from a large number of selected species; and second, the description of new species and completion of comprehensive monographs and identification keys. To address the recent precipitous decline in the global expertise-base of antlion taxonomists, this project will provide education and training opportunities for multiple graduate and undergraduate students in the fields of antlion systematics and informatics. Project results will include the production of new print works that address the identification, diversity and interrelationships of antlion species, and the development of new on-line resources that will integrate information on antlions into the global digital infrastructure of biodiversity informatics.