I joined the Entomology and Plant Pathology Department in January 2003. I came to UTIA from North Carolina State University where I was working with Brian Wiegmann as a Postdoctoral Associate (2001-2002) studying Eremoneuran molecular phylogenetics. My primary teaching responsibilities are Insect Morphology and Taxonomy of Adult Insects. Prior to my postdoc at NCSU I served as Extension Associate with Timothy Dennehy at the University of Arizona. I received my Ph.D. at the University of Arizona under the direction of David Maddison in the Department of Entomology. I received my M.S. at Clemson University under the supervision of Peter Adler in the Department of Entomology. My research program has largely focused on traditional and molecular systematics of black flies (Simuliidae) and meniscus midges (Dixidae), although I have worked with other dipteran families (Blephariceridae, Psychodidae, Tachinidae, &Thaumaleidae) through graduate student researchers I have mentored. Thus far I have mentored one postdoctoral associate, nine graduate students (4 M.S., 5 Ph.D.), one undergraduate student, and have served on numerous graduate student committees.

Research Focus

My research focuses on the systematics and evolution of Diptera, or true flies, with emphasis on aquatic Culicomorpha, particularly Dixiae (meniscus midges) and Simuliidae (black flies). Additionally, students under my direction have published studies on Blephariceridae (net-winged midges), Psychodidae (sand and moth flies), Tachinidae (tachinids), Thaumaleidae (seepage midges), and Buprestidae (jewel beetles). During my postdoctorate, I studied evolutionary relationships within the Eremoneura, with emphasis on the Empidoidea (dance flies, dolichopodids, and relatives). Typically, all of our research projects, which are often collaborations with colleagues, have strong phylogenetic underpinnings, with morphological and/or molecular data being brought to bear to infer both intra- and interspecific relationships, the latter spanning species groups to infraorders.

I have a keen interest in understanding how nuclear genes inately differ in their ability to convey phylogenetic signal across evolutionary time and through the years have developed several new markers for use in my projects. These include 5intG (Senatore et al. 2014), BZF (Senatore et al. 2014), CAD (Moulton & Wiegmann, 2004), ECP1 (Senatore et al. 2014), LGL (Winkler et al. 2015), MAC (Winkler et al. 2015), and MCS (Winkler et al. 2015). Our latest initiative in marker discovery and implementation involves moving away from PCR-/Sanger-based methods to NextGen sequencing platforms in order to identify and sample portions of dozens, if not hundreds, of nuclear markers.


Teaching focus

My philosophy of instruction rests on fostering engagement, promoting self-instruction, and establishing high expectations. I believe teachers have limited ability to actually teach students anything. Rather, we can only motivate students to teach themselves. My teaching goals, in addition to presenting students with the basic principles of course topics, are to stimulate students’ interest, encourage them to synthesize information from multiple sources simultaneously (i.e., from insect morphology, ecology, and behavior in the case of Insect Taxonomy), and to increase their ability to solve scientific problems. Therefore, I see my primary pedagogical role as assisting students to learn how to search for and construct a complete answer as we work through subject matter by stimulating active learning, appreciation for the art of questioning, and comfort with the idea that being wrong is a part of learning. In short, I seek to move students beyond the occupation where the question is provided (student) to one where they ask and answer questions (self-directed learner). Eventually perhaps, given suitable dedication and perfection of these skills, they can attain mastery of the subject matter.


EPP 548–Taxonomy of Adult Insects
EPP 552 – Insect Morphology

Kevin Moulton

Associate Professor
office (865) 974-8411
mobile (865) 235-4931
fax (865) 974-4744

432 Plant Biotechnology Building
2505 EJ Chapman Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4560

Current CV

B.S., Entomology, Clemson University
M.S., Entomology, Clemson University
Ph.D., Entomology, University of Arizona

professional appointment
85% Research, 15% Teaching

Graduate program concentrations
Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Molecular Interactions
Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Systematics

Areas of expertise
Systematics and evolution of Diptera (True Flies)

key words
evolution, systematics, taxonomy, aquatic flies, new species, phylogenetics, phylogenomics

Creative Art Microscope image

Research questions in our laboratory

  • Should Dixa and Dixella remain genera or should they be considered tribes, i.e., what are the limits of generic concepts within the Dixidae?
  • Which types of nuclear genes convey the greatest phylogenetic signal across a wide swath of evolutionary time?
  • Is DNA fingerprinting using nuclear genes consistently more accurate than using mitochondrial markers, including CoxI?

Current lab members

  • none

Selected Publications

Craig, D.A.,D.C. Currie, J.K. Moulton. 2017.Reassignment of Western Australia Paracnephia gladiator Moulton & Adler to a new genus, Bunyipellum (Diptera: Simuliidae). Zootaxa (in press).

*Blaschke, J.D., J.O. Stireman III, P. Cerretti, J.E. O’Hara, J.K. Moulton. 2017. Molecular Phylogenetics and Piercer Evolution in the Bug-Killing Flies (Diptera: Tachinidae: Phasiinae). Systematic Entomology (in press).

Craig, D.A., J.K. Moulton, D.C. Currie. 2017. Taxonomic revision of Paraustrosimulium Wygodzinsly & Coscaron: reassignment of Austrosimulium colboi and description of P. obcidens from Western Australia. Zootaxa 4337(4): 451-492.

Moulton, J.K. 2017. The true identity of Dixamodesta Johannsen (Diptera: Dixidae) resolved: synonymy of Dixasimilis Johannsen, designation of the Dixa ubiquita species group, and description of three new eastern Nearctic species. Zootaxa 4216(3): 247–260.

*Pivar, R.J., J.K. Moulton, B.J. Sinclair. 2017. Revision of the western Nearctic Androprosopa (Diptera: Thaumaleidae) and descriptions of three new species. Insect Systematics and Evolution (in press).

Flint, O.S., M.A. Floyd, J.K. Moulton. 2016. A new species of Oecetis McLachlan (Trichoptera: Leptoceridae) from the Sandhills region of South Carolina, USA. Zoosymposia 10: 188–192.

Greenwalt, D.E., J.K. Moulton. 2016. The first fossil New World Dixidae with a critical discussion of generic definitions. Palaeontologia Electronica 19.3.55A: 1–32.

Hajek, A.E.,A. Gryganskyi, T. Bittner, J.K. Liebherr, J.H. Liebherr, A.B. Jensen, J.K. Moulton, R.A. Humber. 2016. Phylogenetic placement of two species known only from resting spores: Zoophthora independentia sp. nov.and Z. porteri comb nov. (Entomophthorales: Entomophthoraceae). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 140: 68–74.

Moulton, J.K. 2016. The Dixa inextricata Dyar & Shannon (Diptera: Dixidae) species group, with two new cryptic species from the eastern Nearctic Region. Zootaxa 4121(4): 458–472.

Phillips, G.J., E.C. Bernard, R.J. Pivar, J.K. Moulton, R.M. Shelley. 2016. Coronostoma claireae n. sp. (Rhabditida: Oxyuridomorpha: Coronostomatidae) from Narceus gordanus (Chamberlain, 1943) (Diplopoda: Spirobolida) in Ocala National Forest, Florida. Journal of Nematology 48(3): 159–169.

*Pivar, R.J., J.K. Moulton, B.J. Sinclair. 2016. A new species of Austrothaumalea Tonnoir from Australia (Diptera: Thaumaleidae). Zootaxa 4132(4): 594–597.

Curler, G.R., J.K. Moulton, R.I. Madriz. 2015. Redescription of Aposycorax chilensis (Tonnoir) (Diptera, Psychodidae, Sycoracinae) with the first identification of a blood meal host for the species. Zootaxa 4048(1): 114–126.

*Hansen, J.A., J.K. Moulton, W.E. Klingeman, J.B. Oliver, M.T. Windham, R.N. Trigiano, M.E. Reding. 2015. Molecular systematics of the Chrysobothris femorata species group (Coleoptera: Buprestidae).Annals of the Entomological Society of America 108(3): 1–14.

*Smith, C., J.K. Moulton, E.C. Bernard. 2015. Multiple invasions of the Nearctic Region by the springtail Orchesella cincta (Entomobryidae). The Great Lakes Entomologist 48(3-4): 103–110.

Winkler, I.S., J.D. Blaschke, D.J. Davis, J.O. Stireman, J.E. O’Hara, P. Cerretti, J.K. Moulton. 2015. Explosive radiation or uninformative genes? Origin and early diversification of tachinid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 88: 38–54.

Hadziabdic, D., P.A. Wadl, M.E. Staton, W.E. Klingeman, J.K. Moulton, J.W. Pscheidt, G.J. Wiggins, J.F. Grant, P.L. Lambdin, M.T. Windham, M. Faccoli, P. Marten, R.N. Trigiano. 2015. Development of microsatellite loci in Pityophthorus juglandis, a vector of thousand cankers disease in Juglans spp. Conservation Genetics Resources. DOI: 10.1007/s12686-014-0388-0.

*Senatore, G.L., E.A. Alexander, P.H. Adler, J.K. Moulton. 2014. Molecular systematics of the Simulium jenningsi species group (Diptera: Simuliidae), with three new fast-evolving nuclear genes for phylogenetic inference. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 75: 138–48.

Baumann, A.A., J.B. Benoit, V. Michalkova, P. Mireji, G.M. Attardo, J.K. Moulton, T.G. Wilson,S. Aksoy. 2013. Juvenile hormone and insulin suppress lipolysis between periods of lactation during tsetse fly pregnancy. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 372(1-2): 30–41.

*Curler, G.R., J.K. Moulton. 2012. A review of Nearctic Clytocerus (Diptera, Psychodidae, Psychodinae). Canadian Entomologist 144: 186–195.

*Curler, G.R., J.K. Moulton. 2012. Phylogeny of psychodid subfamilies (Diptera: Psychodidae) inferred from nuclear DNA sequences with a review of morphological evidence for relationships. Systematic Entomology 37: 603–616.

Floyd, M.A., J.K. Moulton, G.A. Schuster, C.R. Parker, J. Robinson. 2012. An annotated checklist of the caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera) of Kentucky. Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science 73(1): 4–40.

Haddow, A.D., J.K. Moulton. 2012. Horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 114(1): 125–141.

*Hansen, J.A., W.E. Klingeman, J.K. Moulton, J.B. Oliver, M.T. Windham, A. Zhang, R.N. Trigiano. 2012. DNA fingerprinting of the Synanthedonini (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. Volume 105(4): 520–528.

*Hansen, J.A., W.E. Klingeman, J.K. Moulton, J.B. Oliver, M.T. Windham, A. Zhang. 2012. New state and host plant records for metallic wood boring beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) in Tennessee, USA. Coleopterists Bulletin 66(4): 1–7.

*Jacobson, A.J., G.R. Curler, G.W. Courtney, J.K. Moulton. 2011.New species of net-winged midges of the genus Blepharicera Macquart (Diptera: Blephariceridae) from eastern North America. Systematic Entomology 36: 768–800.

For complete list of publications please visit my