“Plant eavesdropping in multitrophic interactions”
Our colony of triatomine bugs, a resource many years in development, presents a unique opportunity to explore understudied aspects of North American triatomine biology, especially those related to transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi, causative agent of Chagas disease. We have found key differences in wing morphology between T. cruzi infected and uninfected triatomines, with implications for human and animal disease risk. Ongoing projects include comparing diel activity patterns in infected and uninfected triatomines, estimating vector competence using experimental infections with local strains of T. cruzi, and indirect xenodiagnosis using domestic dog and non-human primate blood.
Hosted by EEB
Spence Behmer is a professor in the Department of Entomology at TAMU, and the outgoing chair of EEB.
Dr. Behmer heads the Insect Physiology & Behavior Research Group (IPBRG), which studies insect physiology and behavior, including their ecological and evolutionary bases with an emphasis on using individual behavior as a tool to understand physiological and higher-level processes. The group uses a number of different insects in their research, including grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, Drosophila, and insects with sucking mouthparts (hemipterans).
Learn more about Dr. Behmer and the Behmer Lab at https://behmerlab.tamu.edu/