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Title: Hennig’s orphans revisited: Testing morphological hypotheses in the “Opomyzoidea”

item Scheffer, Sonja

Submitted to: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2009
Publication Date: 3/15/2010
Citation: Winkler, I., Rung, A., Scheffer, S.J. 2010. Hennig’s orphans revisited: Testing morphological hypotheses in the “Opomyzoidea”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 54:746-762.

Interpretive Summary: Flies are important components of agricultural and natural ecosystems in their various roles as crop pests, predators, biocontrol agents, and nuisance species. The phylogenetic relationships among many groups of flies are unclear and the resulting taxonomy has been unstable, leading to controversy and confusion. This research uses DNA sequence data to assess phylogenetic relationships among a large group of difficult flies, including a number of crop pests and biocontrol agents. This research is a step towards greater taxonomic stability in these flies and an increased understanding of the evolution of plant-feeding in flies. This work will be used by other scientists, particularly systematists and evolutionary biologists.

Technical Abstract: The acalyptrate superfamily Opomyzoidea, as currently recognized, is a poorly-known group of fifteen families. The composition of this group and relationships among included families have been controversial. The delimitation of two opomyzoid families, Aulacigastridae and Periscelididae, has been unstable with respect to placement of the genera Stenomicra, Cyamops, and Planinasus. In order to test the monophyly of Opomyzoidea, proposed relationships between families, and the position of the three problematic genera, we sequenced over 3,300 base pairs of nucleotide sequence data from the 28S ribosomal DNA and CAD (rudimentary) genes from 29 taxa representing all opomyzoid families, as well as thirteen outgroup taxa. Relationships recovered differed between analyses, and only branches supporting known monophyletic families were recovered with high support, with a few exceptions. Opomyzoidea and its included subgroup Asteioinea are were found to be non-monophyletic. Stenomicra, Cyamops, and Planinasus group consistently and with moderate support with Aulacigastridae, contrary to recent classifications. Xenasteiidae and Australimyzidae, two small, monotypic families placed in separate superfamilies, were strongly supported as sister groups.