Because fleas are such a highly derived group, phylogenetic relationships among the species have never been established using formal character analysis. We are sequencing multiple molecular markers for a wide range of flea taxa, and beginning to compile a morphological matrix for phylogenetic analysis. In addition, we have established a flea website for the photo documentation of flea species, and the dissemination of flea related data. Preliminary results suggest that the majority of flea families are paraphyletic, and that the group is going to require major revision.
This research is supported by NSF CAREER grant # DEB-9983195.
Please visit our Fleas of the World website.
Lab personnel involved in research:
Katharina Dittmar de la Cruz
Michael Hastriter, Brigham Young University