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Carl W. Dick, Ph.D. Texas Tech University
Carl W. Dick, Ph.D. Texas Tech University
- Professor

My research interests center on the inter-relationships of ectoparasites and mammalian hosts. Most of my work has been with a highly specialized group of Diptera (true flies) called bat flies. Bat flies are obligate, blood-feeding parasites of bats worldwide, and are found nowhere else. These flies have evolved numerous morphological, physiological, and behavioral adaptations to their parasitic life on the bat’s bodies. These adaptations include a reduction of eye complexity and structure, a reduction of wing structure and functionality, the development of specialized setae and ctenidea (combs) to help keep them on the host, and a specialized reproductive strategy where females nourish the larval stages internally and give single births to "prepupae." Because of their intimate relationships with bats, bat flies provide a model system for studies in evolution and ecology.  Recently, I have also begun research at WKU’s Green River Preserve, in order to understand relationships between wild rodents, ectoparasites, and Borellia burgdorferi, a symbiotic bacteria that sometimes causes Lyme Disease in humans.


Brown Postdoctoral Fellow (2005-2009), Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL

PhD in Zoology (2005), Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX.

MS in Biology (1998), University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR.

BA in Biology/Environmental Science (1992), Tabor College, Hillsboro, KS.

Selected Publications

Dittmar, K., S. F. Morse, C. W. Dick, and B. D. Patterson. 2015 (In Press; invited paper). Bat fly evolution from the Eocene to the Present (Hippoboscoidea, Streblidae and Nycteribiidae ). Pages 246-264 In: S. Morand, B. R. Krasnov and    T. Littlewood (Editors) Parasite Diversity and Diversification: Evolutionary Ecology Meets Phylogenetics. Cambridge University Press.

Dick, C. W., G. Graciolli, and R. Guerrero. 2014 (In Press). Streblidae in Catalogue of Colombian Diptera (M. Wolff, C.J.B. de Carvalho, S.P.P. Pareja, and J.R.P Luz, eds). Special Publications, Zootaxa.

Graciolli, G. and C. W. Dick, and R. Guerrero. 2014 (In Press). Nycteribiidae in Catalogue of Colombian Diptera (M. Wolff, C.J.B. de Carvalho, S.P.P. Pareja, and J.R.P Luz, eds). Special Publications, Zootaxa.

Camacho, M. A., D. G. Tirira, C. W. Dick, and S. F. Burneo. 2014. Lophostoma carrikeri (Allen, 1910) (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae): First confirmed records in Ecuador. Check List 10: 217-220.

Dick, C. W. and K. Dittmar. 2014. (Invited Paper). Parasitic bat flies (Diptera: Streblidae and Nycteribiidae): host specificity and potential as vectors. Pages 131-155 In: S. Klimpel and H. Melhorn (Editors). Parasitology Research Monographs (Vol. 5): Bats (Chiroptera) as Vectors of Diseases and Parasites. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 187p.

Tortosa, P., N. Dsouli, Y. Gomard, B. Ramasindrazana, C. W. Dick and S. M. Goodman. 2013. Evolutionary history of Indian Ocean nycteribiid bat flies mirroring the ecology of their hosts. PLoS One 8: e75215.

Olival, K. J., C. W. Dick, N. B. Simmons, J. C. Morales, D. J Melnick, K. Dittmar, S. L. Perkins, P. Daszak and R. DeSalle. 2013. Lack of population genetic structure and host specificity in the bat fly, Cyclopodia horsfieldi, across species of Pteropus bats in Southeast Asia. Parasites and Vectors 6:231 (18 pp.).

Dick, C. W. 2013. Review of the bat flies of Honduras, Central America (Diptera: Streblidae). Journal of Parasitology Research Vol. 2013, Article ID 437696, 17 pp. doi:10.1155/2013/437696

Morse, S.F., S. Bush, B.D. Patterson, C.W. Dick, M. Gruwell, and K. Dittmar. 2013.  Evolution, multiple acquisition, and localization of endosymbionts in bat flies (Hippoboscoidea, Streblidae, Nycteribiidae). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 79: 2952-2961.

Morse, S., C. W. Dick, B. D. Patterson, and K. Dittmar. 2012. Some like it hot: Evolution and ecology of novel endosymbionts in bat flies of cave-roosting bats (Hippoboscoidea, Nycterophiliinae, Nycterophilia). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78: 8639-8649.

Morse, S., K. Olival, M. Kosoy, S. Billeter, B. D. Patterson, C. W. Dick, and K. Dittmar. 2012. Global distribution and genetic diversity of Bartonella in bat flies (Hippoboscoidea, Streblidae, Nycteribiidae). Infection, Genetics and Evolution 12: 1717-1723.

Pilosof, S., C. W. Dick, C. Corine, B. D. Patterson, and B. Krasnov. 2012. Effects of anthropogenic disturbance and climate on patterns of bat fly parasitism on bats. PLoS One 7: 1-7.

Graciolli, G., and C. W. Dick. 2012. Description of a second species of Joblingia Dybas & Wenzel, 1947 (Diptera: Streblidae). Systematic Parasitology 81: 187-193.

Dick, C. W. and J. A. Miller. 2010. Streblidae. Pp. 1249-1260 In: Manual of Central American Diptera (Vol II). Brown, B.V., A. Borkent, J.M. Cumming, D.M. Wood, N.E. Woodley, and M. Zumbado (Editors). National Research Council Press, Ottawa.

Dick, C. W., C. E. L., Esbérard, G. Graciolli, H. G. Bergallo, and D. Gettinger. 2009. Assessing host specificity of obligate ectoparasites in the absence of dispersal barriers. Parasitology Research 105: 1345-1349.

Patterson, B. D., C. W. Dick, and K. Dittmar. 2009. Nested distributions of bat flies (Diptera: Streblidae) on Neotropical bats: artifact and specificity in host-parasite studies. Ecography 32: 481-487.

Dittmar, K., C. W. Dick, B. D. Patterson, M. F. Whiting, and M. Gruwell. 2009. Pupal deposition and ecology of bat flies (Diptera: Streblidae): Trichobius sp. (caecus group) in a Mexican cave habitat. Journal of Parasitology 95: 308-314.

Dick, C. W., and B. D. Patterson. 2008. An excess of males: skewed sex ratios in bat flies (Diptera: Streblidae). Evolutionary Ecology 22: 757-769.

Tello, J. S., R. D. Stevens, and C. W. Dick. 2008. Patterns of species co-occurrence and density compensation: a test for interspecific competition in bat ectoparasite infracommunities. Oikos 117: 693-702.

Dick, C. W. 2007. High host specificity of obligate ectoparasites. Ecological Entomology 32: 446-450.

Dick, C. W., and B. D. Patterson. 2007. Against all odds: explaining high host specificity in dispersal-prone parasites. International Journal for Parasitology 37: 871-876.

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 Last Modified 4/29/22