Price Institute of Parasite Research (PIPeR)

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The Price Institute for Parasite Research (PIPeR) is largely focused on the study of ectoparasitic insects (but we also work on vertebrate endoparasites, including avian malaria). The centerpiece of PIPeR is a collection of 1200+ species of slide-mounted lice, representing about two thirds of the 301 recognized genera, making it the fourth most diverse collection in North America (top 10 worldwide). The collection is invaluable because of the consistent quality of its specimens, most of which were prepared by Dr. Roger Price, a leading authority on the systematics of lice. PIPeR also contains an extensive collection of 40,000 slides of fleas and lice assembled by the late Robert Elbel. It houses equipment for microscopy and the creation and analysis of digital images. This facility, in conjunction with the University's SEM unit, allows for rapid recording of morphometric data on a variety of scales. PIPeR has facilities for preparing new slide-mounts and remounting slides. It houses one of the largest frozen ectoparasite tissue collections in the world, consisting of 7,000+ specimens from 250+ host species. PIPeR also has an associated molecular lab with full capabilities for DNA extraction, PCR, and the preparation of material for the University of Utah's central automated sequencing facility. PIPeR will serve as a base for research and training in ectoparasitology well into the new century.

PIPeR is one of 26 institutions funded by NSF's Thematic Collection Network program for a project called "Terrestrial Parasite Tracker". The Terrestrial Parasite Tracker project, lead by Purdue University, will digitize more than 1.3 million arthropod specimens including 80,000+ specimens of lice, fleas, flies, mites, etc. in the PIPeR collection.  Read more about this project here.


Useful Resources

7th International Conference on Phthiraptera - here

Citizen Science project- help digitize data - here

International Society of Phthirapterists - here

American Society of Parasitologists - here

Field Guide to Collecting Parasites - PDF


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Related publications

Please note that the PDFs are for personal use only, definitive versions are available from the publishers.

Price, R. D., R. A. Hellenthal, R. L. Palma, K. P. Johnson and D. H. Clayton. 2003. The Chewing Lice: World Checklist and Biological Overview. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Publication 24. 501pp. Available online  - here

Durden, L.A. and Musser, G.G., 1994. The Sucking Lice (Insecta, Anoplura) of the World: a Taxonomic Checklist with Records of Mammalian Hosts and Geographical Distributions. Bulletin of the AMNH; no. 218. PDF

Gustafsson, D. R., and S. E. Bush. 2017. Zootaxa. Morphological revision of the hyperdiverse Brueelia-complex (Insecta: Phthiraptera: Ischnocera: Philopteridae) with new taxa, checklists and generic key. Zootaxa 4313: 1-443. PDF.

PIPeR Specimen database - Excel File

Publications on Phthiraptera -