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Phylogeny of Syrphidae (Diptera) inferred from combined analysis of molecular and morphological characters

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Syrphidae (Diptera) commonly called hoverflies, includes more than 5000 species world-wide. The aim of this study was to address the systematic position of the disputed elements in the intrafamilial classification of Syrphidae, namely the monophyly of Eristalinae and the placement of Microdontini and Pipizini, as well as the position of particular genera (Nausigaster, Alipumilio, Spheginobaccha). Sequence data from nuclear 28S rRNA and mitochondrial COI genes in conjunction with larval and adult morphological characters of fifty-one syrphid taxa were analysed using optimization alignment to explore phylogenetic relationships among included taxa. A species of Platypezidae, Agathomyia unicolor, was used as outgroup, and also including one representative (Jassidophaga villosa) of the sister-group of Syrphidae, Pipunculidae. Sensitivity of the data was assessed under six different parameter values. A stability tree summarized the results. Microdontini, including Spheginobaccha, was placed basally, and Pipizini appeared as the sister-group to subfamily Syrphinae. The monophyly of subfamily Eristalinae was supported. The results support at least two independent origins of entomophagy in syrphids, and frequent shifts between larval feeding habitats within the saprophagous eristalines.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2: Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden, 3: National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, U.K. and 4: School of Biological Sciences, Nottingham University, Nottingham, U.K.

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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