My research focuses on taxonomic survey of eugregarine parasites of insects and includes problems of host-parasite relationships, eugregarine population and community structure, and host specificity. Eugregarines are a diverse group of small, intestinal parasites of insects and other invertebrates. Conservative estimates place their diversity at over 1 million species. Insect/gregarine systems should be excellent models for investigating questions of parasite effects on host fitness, competitive ability and behavior, and biogeographical and coevolutionary studies of arthropods and their parasites. However, despite the predicted diversity in the group, <1600 species have been described and no developed knowledge base exists for these extremely common parasites. Our primary field sites are in the Big Thicket of East Texas, although we include other sites (such as Belize and west Texas) when time and money permit. Our projects primarily use field survey and morphometric analysis to identify taxic diversity and host range and to investigate patterns of eugregarine infection across space and time.
Selected Publications (* indicates student coauthors):
Smith, A. J. and T. J. Cook. 2012. Revision of the Genus Prismatospora and description of Prismatospora cloptoni n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Actinocephalidae: Acanthosporinae) from naiads of the Green Darner, Anax junius (Odonata: Anisoptera: Aeshnidae), in East Texas, U.S.A. Comparative Parasitology 79: 9-14.
*Cielocha, J. J., T. J. Cook, and R. E. Clopton. 2011. Host utilization and distribution of nubenocephalid gregarines (Eugregarinorida: Actinocephalidae) parasitizing Argia spp. (Odonata: Zygoptera) in the central United States. Comparative Parasitology 78: 152-160.
Cook, T. J., R. E. Clopton, and J. L. Cook. 2011. Neoasterophora megasilvestrensis n. gen., n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Eugregarinida: Actinocephalidae: Pileocephalinae) parasitizing Cheumatopsyche analis (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae) in the Texas Big Thicket. Comparative Parasitology 78: 56-62.
Clopton, R. E., T. J. Cook, and *J. J. Cielocha. 2010. Nubenocephalus nickoli n. sp. and Nubenocephalus xunantunichensis n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Eugregarinida: Actinocephalidae) parasitizing damselflies (Odonata: Zygoptera) in Belize, Central America. Comparative Parasitology 77: 125-136.
*Smith, A. J. and T. J. Cook. 2008. Host specificity of five species of Eugregarinida among six speices of cockroaches (Order: Blattodea). Comparative Parasitology 75: 288-291
*Lowery, M. B. and T. J. Cook. 2008. Oviposition site preference of Corydalus cornutus (Megaloptera: Corydalidae) in east Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 53: 208-213.
*Realzola, E., J. L. Cook, T. J. Cook, and R. E. Clopton. 2007. Composition of Gyrinid Aggregations in the East Texas Primitive Big Thicket (Coleoptera: Gyrinidae). Coleopterist’s Bulletin 61:495-592.
*Hays, J. J., R. E. Clopton, T. J. Cook and J. L. Cook. 2007. Revision of the Genus Nubenocephalus and Description of Nubenocephalus secundus N. Sp. (Apicomplexa: Actinocephalidae) Parasitizing Adults of Argia sedula (Odonata: Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae) in the Primitive Texas Big Thicket, U.S.A. Comparative Parasitology 74: 286-293.
*Smith, A. J. and T. J. Cook, and W. I. Lutterschmidt. 2007. Effects of temperature on the development of Gregarina cubensis(Apicomplexa: Eugregarinida) parasitizing Blaberus discoidalis (Blattaria: Blaberidae). Journal of Parasitology 93: 583-588.