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Plant Pest Diagnostics Center

Entomology Laboratory Overview

The primary objectives of the Entomology Laboratory are to:

  1. Provide identification services to the Division's pest prevention programs, other government agencies, and the public in an accurate and timely fashion.
  2. Act as a reference repository for insect specimens and any associated data available for arthropods and other invertebrates of the State and region.
  3. Conduct research in biosystematics.
  4. Assist personnel in other agencies with problems related to insects and other arthropods and invertebrates.

The laboratory evaluates and identifies insects and related arthropods and mollusks submitted by a variety of agency representatives. The most frequent clients are county agricultural commissioners, pest prevention Branches, agricultural extension representatives, industry, universities, federal agencies and the public. Communication with scientists worldwide is essential to ensure a cooperative exchange of information and services.

Identifications under routine conditions are usually made within two and one-half days of receipt and processing. Samples submitted as "RUSH" are normally processed in less than four hours. During periods when large numbers of samples are being processed, priority is given to samples that involve quarantine shipments likely to be held for inspection. In recent years, the Insect Biosystematics Laboratory have averaged about 50,000 identifications per year.

This laboratory is the primary support unit for the state's eradication, control, survey, and biological programs involving injurious pests, including (but certainly not limited to) exotic fruit flies (Mediterranean, Oriental, Mexican, Guava, West Indian, Carribean, Olive, Melon, Western cherry fruit flies, and apple maggot), leaf-miner and other flies, Glassy-winged sharpshooterand other leaf- and planthoppers, Africanized honey bee, Red Imported fire ants and other ants, Asian longhorn beetle and other wood-boring beetles, sweet potato weevil, cotton boll weevil, Japanese beetle, seven-spotted lady beetle, European and Asian spongy moths, light brown apple moth, European grapevine moth, European corn borer, European pine shoot moth, pink bollworm, Pink Hibiscus mealybug, sweet potato whitefly, giant whitefly, nesting whitefly, ash whitefly, green shield scale, euonymus scale, magnolia white scale, and numerous other scales, mealybugs, and whiteflies, Asian citrus psyllid, bluegum psyllid, ticks, mites, spiders, snails, and many other domestic and exotic pests.

Identifications and services to agencies other than the county and state include: universities; other state departments of agriculture; USDA (ARS/APHIS/NAPIS), U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and other federal agencies; museums; faunal inventories and surveys; private industry and the general public

Diagnostics Responsibilities Summary:

Scientist Diagnostic Responsibilities Common Names
Dr. Marc Epstein Lepidoptera moths, butterflies
Dr. Michael Forthman Hemiptera: Heteroptera true bugs
Thysanoptera thrips
Dr. Steve Gaimari Diptera flies
Mecoptera scorpion flies
Phthiraptera lice
Siphonaptera fleas
Dr. Martin Hauser Diptera flies
Crustacea amphipods, ostracods, shrimp
Dr. Peter Kerr Myriapoda centipedes, millipedes
Arachnida mites, ticks, spiders, scorpions
Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha aphidoids
Molecular topics various
Dr. Alessandra Rung Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha leafhoppers, planthoppers
Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha psyllids
Dr. Alexey Tishechkin Coleoptera beetles
Dr. Natalia von Ellenrieder Gastropoda snails, slugs
Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha scales, mealybugs, whiteflies
Dr. Kevin Williams Hymenoptera ants, wasps, bees
Gastropoda snails, slugs
Crustacea amphipods, ostracods, shrimp
Collembola springtails
Thysanura silverfish
Blattodea cockroaches
Orthoptera crickets, grasshoppers
Phasmatodea walking sticks
Psocoptera bark lice, book lice
Isoptera termites
Dermaptera earwigs
Trichoptera caddisflies
Dr. Shaun Winterton Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha psyllids
Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha leaf hoppers, plant hoppers
Lepidoptera moths, butterflies
Neuroptera lacewings