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Internship: Flies of Peru

DESCRIPTION: Besides being a significant portion of world biodiversity (one of every ten named organisms in the world is a fly) Diptera are extremely diverse in appearance and habits. Many species are important to humans as plant pests, vectors of disease, or pollinators. Numerous species remain unnamed or undiscovered and the distribution and habits of the majority are poorly documented. Interns will assist in surveys of the fauna of Peru (and other tropical countries), by sorting trap samples (part of the process of discovering new species), databasing information, and/or capturing data from the specimens in the collection. Interns will receive training on identification of flies, techniques for processing samples, and methods for preparing flies to study their morphological features. Specimens prepared through this internship will be included as a part of the permanent holdings at the NMNH and museums in Peru. Scientists worldwide will use the specimens to study fly biodiversity and evolutionary relationships.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Interns will learn how systematics research is done and be exposed to a museum environment. They will learn fly morphology (i.e., the parts of the fly), particularly the characters most important for distinguishing fly families. They may be exposed to other techniques and methods of systematic entomology.


QUALIFICATIONS: A minimum two-month commitment is required. Hours are flexible. Background in the biological sciences and familiarity with the use of a microscope are preferred. Knowledge of entomology, taxonomy, or how to use an identification key are desirable. Attention to detail and manual dexterity to small handle tools (i.e., forceps, small paint brushes) for manipulating small or fragile specimens are required.

TIMETABLE: Indefinite


Project Contact Name: Allen Norrbom

Phone: 202-633-4564