Vincent S. Smith

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Parasites can be used as unique markers to investigate host evolutionary history, independent of host data. Here we show that modern human head lice, Pediculus humanus, are composed of two ancient lineages, whose origin predates modern Homo sapiens by an order of magnitude (ca. 1.18 million years). One of the two louse lineages has a worldwide distribution(More)
To assess the coextinction of species (the loss of a species upon the loss of another), we present a probabilistic model, scaled with empirical data. The model examines the relationship between coextinction levels (proportion of species extinct) of affiliates and their hosts across a wide range of coevolved interspecific systems: pollinating Ficus wasps and(More)
Few estimates of relative substitution rates, and the underlying mutation rates, exist between mitochondrial and nuclear genes in insects. Previous estimates for insects indicate a 2-9 times faster substitution rate in mitochondrial genes relative to nuclear genes. Here we use novel methods for estimating relative rates of substitution, which incorporate(More)
As a first attempt to use molecular data to resolve the relationships between the four suborders of lice and within the suborder Ischnocera, we sequenced a 347-bp fragment of the elongation factor 1alpha gene of 127 lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) as well as outgroup taxa from the order Psocoptera. A number of well-supported monophyletic groups were found but(More)
A major fraction of the diversity of insects is parasitic, as herbivores, parasitoids or vertebrate ectopara sites. Understanding this diversity requires information on the origin of parasitism in various insect groups. Parasitic lice (Phthiraptera) are the only major group of insects in which all members are permanent parasites of birds or mammals. Lice(More)
Two premature infants whose clinical picture initially was that of necrotizing enterocolitis eventually developed intussusception. The symptomatology of these two conditions is similar, and when they coexist, recognition of a complicating intussusception is difficult. The pathogenic relationship between necrotizing enterocolitis and intussusception remains(More)
For modern lineages of birds and mammals, few fossils have been found that predate the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) boundary. However, molecular studies using fossil calibrations have shown that many of these lineages existed at that time. Both birds and mammals are parasitized by obligate ectoparasitic lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera), which have shared a long(More)
no free-living stage and of all the insects are the most As a first attempt to use molecular data to resolve the relationships between the four suborders of lice and within the suborder Ischnocera, we sequenced a 347-bp fragment of the elongation factor 1a gene of 127 lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) as well as outgroup taxa from the order Psocoptera. A number(More)
Sucking lice (Phthiraptera: Anoplura) are obligate, permanent ectoparasites of eutherian mammals, parasitizing members of 12 of the 29 recognized mammalian orders and approximately 20% of all mammalian species. These host specific, blood-sucking insects are morphologically adapted for life on mammals: they are wingless, dorso-ventrally flattened, possess(More)
Natural History science is characterised by a single immense goal (to document, describe and synthesise all facets pertaining to the diversity of life) that can only be addressed through a seemingly infinite series of smaller studies. The discipline's failure to meaningfully connect these small studies with natural history's goal has made it hard to(More)