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Brian Wiegmann

William Neal Reynolds Professor of Entomology

Systematics, Phylogenomics, Evolutionary Biology

3114 Gardner Hall Box 7613, NCSU, Raleigh, NC USA 27695-7613


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Our research in molecular biosystematics is focused on inferring phylogenetic relationships and testing hypotheses about the evolution and diversification of insects.

A major focus is reconstruction of the family-level phylogeny of the insect order Diptera (true flies). A major component of these studies is uncovering patterns and processes of DNA sequence evolution, interpreting of morphological and developmental evolutionary pathways, and testing hypotheses about the origin and evolutionary effects of specific adaptations in morphology, behavior, and physiology of flies.

The need for new, large, comprehensive datasets for discovering Diptera phylogeny and interpreting their biological diversity motivates our projects through funding from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and US Department of Agriculture. For example, we are using data generated in large comparative genome projects, to investigate evolutionary questions surrounding the adaptations and consequences of blood feeding, disease transmission, and habitat use in mosquitoes (Culicidae), the evolution of mammal and bird parasitism in blow flies (Calliphoridae), and the use of living plants has larval food resources in leafmining flies (Agromyzidae ) and true fruit flies (Tephritidae).  We also study the use of alternative workflows, sampling strategies, and analysis protocols for effective phylogenomic studies in insect systematics.

As part of the NCSU Entomology Graduate Program, we provide training in all aspects of modern biosystematic research with an emphasis on applied and basic uses of biodiversity information. Our goal is to prepare students with scientific training, scholarship, and intellectual framework they will need as future researchers, educators, or administrators who will use comparative methods and biodiversity information to address issues in basic and applied entomology.


Wiegmann’s research focuses on the evolutionary history and biology of flies and other insects using comparative genomics and genetic data analysis. Flies (Diptera) include many diverse blood-feeding species that are important vectors of disease to humans, pets, and livestock. His current work uses transcriptomes and exon capture methods to understand the history of major events in fly evolution. New genomic data provide insight into the variability and evolution of genes in key functional groups. A major goal of Wiegmann’s research program is to reconstruct the evolutionary ‘tree of life’ for all fly species, one of the largest groups of metazoan life on earth.

Selected Publications:

  • Bayless, K. M., Trautwein, M. D., Meusemann, K., Shin, S., Petersen, M., Donath, A., Podsiadlowski, L., Mayer, C., Niehuis, O., Peters, R. S., Meier, R., Kutty, S. N., Liu, S., Zhou, X., Misof, B., Yeates, D. K., Wiegmann, B. M. 2021. Beyond Drosophila: resolving the rapid radiation of schizophoran flies with phylotranscriptomics. BMC Biology, 19:1-17; DOI: 10.1186/s12915-020-00944-8.
  • Wiegmann, B. M. & Richards, S. 2018. Genomes of Diptera. Current Opinion in Insect Science, 25:116-124; DOI: 10.1016/j.cois.2018.01.007.
  • Morita, S., K. M. Bayless, D. K. Yeates and B. M. Wiegmann. 2015. Molecular phylogeny of the horse flies: a framework for renewing tabanid taxonomy. Systematic Entomology, 41: 56-72; DOI: 10.1111/syen.12145.
  • Misof, B., et al. 2014.  Phylogenomics resolves the timing and pattern of insect evolution. Science 346: 763-767. DOI: 10.1126/science.1257570
  • Wiegmann, B. M., et al. 2011. Episodic radiations in the fly tree of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 108(14): 5690-5695; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1012675108.


ENT 502 Insect Diversity

ENT 591/791 Principles of Biosystematics

ENT 590 Insect Natural History

ENT 690U Advanced Systematics Seminar


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BS, Loyola College (1985)
MS, University of Maryland (1989)
Ph.D, University of Maryland (1994)