Systematic Entomology (2016) 41, 56-72
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Molecular phylogeny of the horse flies: a framework for renewing tabanid taxonomy
Systematic Entomology 41 (1), 56-72
Abstract: Horse flies, family Tabanidae, are the most diverse family-level clade of bloodsucking insects, but their phylogeny has never been thoroughly explored using molecular data. Most adult female Tabanidae feed on nectar and on the blood of various mammals. Traditional horse fly classification tends towards large heterogeneous taxa, which impede much-needed taxonomic work. To guide renewed efforts in the systematics of horse flies and their relatives, we assembled a dataset of 110 exemplar species using nucleotide data from four genes—mitochondrial CO1, and nuclear 28S, CAD and AATS. All commonly recognized tribes in Tabanidae are represented, along with outgroups in Tabanomorpha. The phylogeny is reconstructed using Bayesian inference, and divergence times are estimated using Bayesian relaxed clock methods with time constraints from tabanid fossils. Our results show Athericidae strongly supported as the lineage most closely related to Tabanidae, and Pangoniinae and Tabaninae as monophyletic lineages. However, Chrysopsinae is nonmonophyletic, with strong support for both a nonmonophyletic Bouvieromyiini and for Rhinomyzini as sister to Tabaninae. Only the tribes Philolichini, Chrysopsini, Rhinomyzini and Haematopotini are recovered as monophyletic, although Scionini is monophyletic with exclusion of the peculiar genus Goniops Aldrich. Mycteromyia Philippi and Adersia Austen, two enigmatic genera sometimes placed in separate family-level groups, are recovered inside Pangoniini and Chrysopsini, respectively. Several species-rich genera are not recovered as monophyletic, including Esenbeckia Rondani, Silvius Meigen, Dasybasis Macquart and Tabanus L. Tabanidae likely originated in the Cretaceous, and all major extant groups were present by the early Palaeogene. This newly revised phylogenetic framework for Tabanidae forms the basis for a new assessment of tabanid diversification and provides context for understanding the evolution of trophic specialization in horse flies.
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