My research focuses on the taxonomy and systematics of moths in the family Erebinae. This subfamily is distributed globally and is most diverse in the tropics. Outside of the holarctic , these moths are poorly studied and few resources exist to identify them. Those resources that do are often cumbersome for non-experts to use. A recent phylogeny by Zahri et al. (2012) established strong support for relationships between the subfamilies of the Erebidae. Although this study is comprehensive, many of the relationships below the subfamily level are not well supported. I am exploring next generation sequencing techniques, specifically anchored hybrid enrichment to develop a robust tribal level phylogeny of this subfamily. Erebine moths possess some of the most sophisticated tympana (ears) within the lepidoptera, and many possess wing patterns hypothesized to startle predators when displayed. A well-supported phylogeny will facilitate future studies of the evolution and taxonomy of this interesting group of moths.
I graduated from the University of New Mexico in May of 2013 with a B.S. in Biology, a B.A. in Spanish, and an Economics minor. For my undergraduate honors thesis, I revised the erebine genus Heteranassa, which is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Although these moths are commonly encountered in desert habitats in this region, species-level identifications still require the use of vague original descriptions, which many specimens do not cleanly fit. The aim of this revision was to assess relationships and validity of the species in the genus, and provide improved means of identifying Heteranassa specimens. The findings of this study are currently being submitted for publication.
Homziak, N.T., and J. Homziak. 2006. Papilio demoleus (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae): A New Record for the United States, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Florida Entomologist, 89, 485-488.
Homziak, J. and N. T. Homziak. 2010. Two potential food plants and notes on the habitat of the Haitian tailed blue, Pseudochrysops bornoi (Comstock and Huntington 1943) (Lycaenidae) in Guánica, Puerto Rico, USA. Caribbean Journal of Science. 46, 324-328.
I study the evolution of elaborated traits, focusing on Lepidoptera. I am interested in understanding the evolutionary route and process by which traits emerge and how they are maintained by multi-predator communities and sexual selection. In Dr. Kawahara’s lab I am using behavioral and phylogenetic approaches to further explore specialized wing traits in Saturniidae, especially focusing on the Actias clade.
I’m a full-time bug enthusiast interested in conservation genetics, population ecology, and evolution. I’m currently managing lab personnel for the Kawahara Lab and helping with molecular projects pertaining to phylogenetics, community ecology, and biogeography. Outside of my research, I am interested in science outreach in the context of museums, diversity in STEM and open access to science.
I graduated from New College of Florida with a B.A in Biology in the spring of 2019. My previous research involved the conservation of an imperiled South Florida butterfly, the Florida Duskywing skipper, using molecular markers as a genetic tool for assessing three known populations. Another research project I previously worked on involved a taxonomic revision of a rare genus of assassin fly, Microphontes (Londt, 1994), in which we described four new species from Namibia and South Africa.