Monday, December 10, 2007 - 10:17 AM

Multigene phylogenetics of the dipteran superfamily Asiloidea

Michelle Trautwein, and Brian Wiegmann, North Carolina State University, Entomology, Box 7613, Raleigh, NC

The superfamily Asiloidea is considered the putative sister-group to the large majority of higher Diptera, the Eremoneura. However, because asiloid monophyly is not well established, it is unclear if the Eremoneura and the Asiloidea share a recent common ancestor, or if a lineage within the asiloid flies gave rise to the successful eremoneuran radiation. Previous morphological and molecular work present an obscure picture of these relationships. In this molecular study, we examined the use of multiple nuclear genes to further resolve the relationships among the asiloid diptera, to test the monophyly of the superfamily, and to determine the sister-group to the Eremoneura. As our results lack high support values, we have relied on the stability and congruence of topologies amongst analysis methods and treatments of data in presenting our current best estimate of Asiloid relationships. We find that this region of the Diptera tree is resistant to highly supported resolution using standard phylogenetic methods. We review current evidence that suggests the relationship between the heterogeneous Bombyliidae, the remaining asiloid flies and the Eremoneura is an ancient, rapid radiation.