Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jennifer M. Zaspel

Committee Chair

Jennifer M. Zaspel

Committee Member 1

Stephen L. Cameron

Committee Member 2

Catherine A. Hill


The seventeen species and two subspecies described in the genus Calyptra are known to be obligate fruit piercers, with some species being of economic importance. Males within the genus have not only been observed piercing their fruit hosts, but have also been documented to occasionally feed on mammalian blood. The genetic and ecological mechanisms contributing to host preference for either plant or vertebrate hosts in this lineage are unknown. Thus, the focus of this study was to investigate the chemosensory systems between and among Calyptra species exhibiting differential feeding strategies. Before investigating the chemosensory systems within Calyptra, the taxonomy and biology of all species used were reviewed. This examination resulted in the synonymy of the subspecies complex of C. minuticornis (Guenée) and provided novel life history information about the species C. canadensis (Bethune). In addition, the study of chemosensory genes in Calyptra provided evidence for the presence of 83 candidate genes and revealed no significant difference in chemosensory transcript expression patterns between blood and non blood-feeding Calyptra species.