Fiona Hunter

Department of Biological Sciences

Fiona Hunter


Office: F227
Phone: ext 3394

There are currently four major Research Foci in the lab: 

Behavioural ecology of black flies

We look at a broad range of black fly behaviours including blood-feeding preferences and sugar-feeding preferences. Recent emphasis has been on the effects of honeydew vs. vectar as sugar meals with regards to longevity, fecundity, parasite transmission and flight performance.

Chromosomal systematics of black flies and mosquitoes

The banding patterns of larval salivary gland polytene chromosomes are used to examine both intraspecific and interspecific relationships among black flies and mosquitoes. We are currently the only active lab in Canada studying the cytogenetics of biting flies.

Molecular systematics of biting flies

We examine both intra- and inter-specific relationships using DNA sequence analyses. Recently completed projects have included the mosquitoes of Canada and the tabanids (deer flies and horse flies) of Canada. Genes used routinely in our lab include ITS1, ITS2 and COI. Current PhD students are using molecular techniques to identify Anopheles mosquitoes from Canada and from Ecuador.

Pollination of Umbelliferae by dipterans

A newly funded project will look at the relative importance of dipterans as pollinators in Daucus carota (edible carrot and Queen Anne’s Lace). An MSc studentship opportunity is available for this project. More information is available at here.


1990 Ph.D. (Biology) Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.

1987 M.Sc. (Botany) University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.

1985 Special Student (Tropical Medicine) University of Tübingen, Germany.

1983 B.Sc. Hon. (Zoology) University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.

Recent Refereed Publications (2002 to present):

Cywinska, A., Hannan, A., Kevan, P.G., Roughley, R., and F.F. Hunter. 2010. DNA barcode testing of Canadian deer flies and horse flies: new haplomorphs discovered. Medical and Veterinary Entomology (Oxford) (in press)

Russell, C., and F.F. Hunter. 2010. A modified Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gravid trap for easier mosquito collection (Operational Note). Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. (in press) 26(1):

Russell, C., and F.F. Hunter. 2010. Factors affecting the attraction of Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae) to bird and mammal hosts. The Canadian Entomologist. (in press)

Stanfield, T.K. and F.F. Hunter. 2010. Honeydew and nectar sugars differentially affect flight performance in female black flies. Canadian Journal of Zoology. (in press) 88:

Sharp, A.L., and F.F. Hunter. 2008. Chiasmate meiosis in male black fly (Diptera: Simuliidae) larvae associated with mermithid infections (Nematoda: Mermithidae) Canadian Journal of Zoology. 86: 1198-1202.

Thielman, A.C., and F.F. Hunter, F.F. 2007. Photographic Key to the Adult Female Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) of Canada. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification No. 4, 14 December 2007, available online at here, doi: 10.3752/cjai.2007.04.

Cywinska, A., F.F. Hunter and P.D.N. Hebert. 2007. Identifying Canadian mosquito species through DNA barcodes. Medical and Veterinary Entomology (Oxford) 20: 413-424.

Craig, D.A., D.C. Currie, F.F. Hunter and M. Spironello. 2006. Hebridosimulium (Diptera: Simuliidae): taxonomic revision, cytology and key to larvae. Zootaxa. 1380:1-90

Thielman, A., and F.F. Hunter. 2006. Establishment of Ochlerotatus japonicus in Ontario, Canada. Journal of Medical Entomology. 43: 138-142

Spironello, M. and F.F. Hunter. 2005. Polytene chromosomes of an archipelagic subgenus, Inseliellum (Diptera: Simuliidae) Genetica 123:  217 - 226

Russell, C., and F.F. Hunter. 2005. Attraction of Culex pipiens/restuans (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes to bird uropygial gland odors at two elevations in the Niagara Region of Ontario. Journal of Medical Entomology. 42: 301-305.

Rafael, M.S., Tadei, W.P., and F.F. Hunter. 2004. The physical gene Hsp70 map on polytene chromosomes of Anopheles darlingi from the Brazilian Amazon. Genetica 121: 89-94.

Condotta, S., F.F. Hunter and M.J. Bidochka. 2004. West Nile Virus Infection Rates in Pooled and Individual Mosquito Samples. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 4: 198-203.

Spironello, M. and F.F. Hunter. 2004. An intra- and interisland study of the polytene chromosomes of Simulium exasperans (Diptera: Simuliidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 82: 808-816.

Drebot, M.A., R. Lindsay, I.K. Barker, P.A. Buck, M. Fearon, F. Hunter, P. Sockett and H. Artsob. 2003. West Nile virus surveillance and diagnostics: A Canadian perspective. Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases 14: 105-114.

Currie, D.C. and F.F. Hunter. 2003. A new species of Stegopterna Enderlein, and its relationship to the allotriploid species St. mutata (Malloch, 1914) (Diptera: Simuliidae). Zootaxa 214: 1-11.

Spironello, M., F.F. Hunter and D.A.Craig. 2002. Polytene chromosomes of Simulium cataractarum. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 80: 1810-1816.

Hunter, F.F. 2002. Polytene chromosomes of Simulium craigi (Diptera: Simuliidae). Genetica. 114: 207-215.

Stuart, A.E., F.F. Hunter and D.C. Currie. 2002. Using behavioural characters in phylogeny reconstruction. Ethology, Ecology and Evolution. 14: 129-139.

Russell, C.B and F.F. Hunter. 2002. Analysis of nectar and honeydew feeding in Aedes and Ochlerotatus mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 18: 86-90.

Brooker, R.J., E.P. Widmaier, L.E. Graham, P.D. Stiling, C. Hasenkampf, F.F. Hunter, M.J. Bidochka, C.D. Riggs. 2010. Biology, Canadian Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-074175-1. McGraw-Hill Publishing.

Recent M.Sc. Graduate student theses(2002 to present)

Russell, Curtis. 2007. Role of Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae) in the transmission of West Nile virus in Ontario. PhD Thesis; Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Sharp, Amy. 2007. Mermithid (Nematoda: Mermithidae) infections of black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae): infection and developmental characteristics.. M.Sc. thesis; Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Condotta, Stephanie. 2005. Epidemiology and phylogenetic analysis of West Nile virus in Ontario, Canada, 2002-2003. M.Sc. thesis (Biotechnology) (co-supervised with Dr. M.J. Bidochka); Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Stanfield, Trudy. 2003. Role of honeydew and nectar sugars in black fly flight performance. M.Sc. thesis; Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Hazzard, Christie-Lee. 2003. Effect of black fly sugar meal on transmission of Leucocytozoan. M.Sc. thesis; Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Spironello, Michael. 2002. A cytophylogenetic study of Pacific black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae). M.Sc. thesis; Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Ossowski, Anne. 2002. Coevolution of Heliconius spp. and Passiflora spp.: A phylogenetic comparison. M.Sc. thesis; Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Current Graduate student theses

Antwi-Amoabeng, Daniel. Effect of honeydew meals on Leucocytozoon transmission by black flies. MSc thesis; (May 2008 – present); Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Pinault, Lauren. Suitability of Anopheles breeding sites in the present and future Andes. PhD thesis; (January 2008 -present); Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Thielman, Aynsley. Systematic revision of genus Anopheles (Culicidae) in Canada: ecological, morphological, cytological and molecular analyses. PhD thesis; (January 2005 -present); Brock University, St. Catharines, ON

Abraham, Ben. Effect of honeydew meals on male accessory glands in Anopheles stephensi. MSc thesis; (September 2009 – present); Brock University, St. Catharines, ON