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 - October 2010

28 October, 2010 - 17:00 -- DikowT

As part of the NSF REVSYS grant, Torsten Dikow travelled to Germany (October 18–20) to visit the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart (SMNS) and the Messel Research Station, near Frankfurt, to study the Senckenberg Research Institute fossil collection housed there. The aim of these museum visits was on the one hand to study type specimens and other specimens of extant species of Apioceridae, Asilidae, and Mydidae flies and on the other hand to study fossil specimens of Asilidae and Mydidae from the Cretaceous and Tertiary: Eocene deposited in these museums. The oldest known Mydidae (Cretomydas santanensis), described recently from the Crato Formation of Brazil (112 myo), was examined and morphological characters added to a phylogenetic matrix of this family that Torsten is currently working on. Three new fossil species of Asilidae were identified from the Messel Oil Shale (48–51 myo) of which two can be placed in existing taxa, i.e., Leptogastrinae and Ommatiinae, and another one needs additional study.
The SMNS Diptera collection was also extensively studied and the female of Vespiodes phaios was discovered. This species had just been described from a single male from south-eastern Kenya (see this previous news item) and this female comes from north-eastern Tanzania.