deciphering their diversity and evolutionary history

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Asiloid Flies
deciphering their diversity and evolutionary history

Sample of Asiloid Flies

News - July 2011

17 August, 2011 - 10:24 -- DikowT

Brazilian collections: Torsten Dikow travelled to Brazil (26 July - August 7) in order to visit three collections and study Mydidae and Asilidae specimens important for the NSF REVSYS project.

The Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo (MZSP) in São Paulo, the insect collection at the Universidade de São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto, and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Aamazônia (INPA) in Manaus were visited. The most interesting Asilidae species studied is the enigmatic Carebaricus rionegrensis (Lamas, 1971) from central Argentina of which the only specimens ever collected are deposited at MZSP and which is the closest relative of the diverse Australian genus Bathypogon. A preliminary analysis of adding Carebaricus rionegrensis to the morphological matrix published in 2009 (Dikow 2009) confirms the sister-group relationship of the two genera. Several interesting Mydidae species were studied at MZSP and INPA and the discovery of a yet unstudied specimen of Messiasia wilcoxi Papavero, 1976, which was collected just a month before the sole holotype (deposited at MZSP) had been collected, is of great significance.

Torsten also joint four dipterists from INPA for a day in the field at three nature reserves north of Manaus. Although no Mydidae were collected, some 11 species of Asilidae were collected, i.e., Lampria bicolor, Smeryngolaphria sp., Andrenosoma sp., Ommatius dentatus Scarbrough, 1993, Ommatius costatus Rondani, 1850, Ommatius neotropicus Curran, 1928, Mallophora sp., Leptogaster sp., Anarmostus iopterus (Wiedemann, 1828), and two Atomosiini sp. (identifications of Asilinae and Ommatiinae by Rodrigo Vieira).

Torsten also attended the 30th annual meeting of the Willi Hennig Society in São José do Rio Preto where he was an invited speaker and presented a talk entitled, “Molecules and morphology: insights from phylogenetic analyses of insect taxa.”