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Western Kentucky University

Biology Faculty and Staff - Carl W. Dick

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

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

Assistant Professor

Office:  TCCW 340
Phone:  270-745-2043


BIOL 122 Evolution, Ecology, and Diversity

BIOL 430 Evolution

BIOL 523 Symbioses and Parasite-Host Associations

BIOL 598 Graduate Seminar


My academic interests center on the inter-relationships of ectoparasites and mammal hosts. In particular, I work on a 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.


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

Dick, C. W. and K. Dittmar. 2013 (In Press; invited paper). Parasitic bat flies (Diptera: Streblidae and Nycteribiidae): host specificity and potential as vectors In: A. Werblow and C. Melaun (Editors). Parasitology Research Monographs: Bats as vectors of parasites and other agents of diseases. Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Medical Biodiversity and Parasitology, Frankfurt, Germany. Springer-Verlag Publishing.

Dittmar, K., S. F. Morse, C. W. Dick, and B. D. Patterson. 2013 (In Press; invited paper). Bat fly evolution from the Eocene to the Present (Hippoboscoidea, Streblidae and Nycteribiidae ) in Morand, S., B. Krasnov and T. Littlewood (Editors) Parasite Diversity and Diversification: Evolutionary Ecology Meets Phylogenetics. Cambridge University Press.

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.

Patterson, B. D. and C. W. Dick, and K. Dittmar. 2008. Parasitism by bat flies (Diptera: Streblidae) on Neotropical bats: effects of host body size, distribution and abundance. Parasitology Research 103: 1091-1100.

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 9/25/14