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Phylogeny and species-group classification of the mega-diverse genus Megaselia (Diptera, Phoridae)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9294-3078
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3929-251X
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The genus Megaselia is one of the largest in the animal kingdom, with 1,600 described species and many more remaining to be discovered according to most experts. The biology is poorly known; some well-studied species have been shown to be parasitoids or extreme omnivores but it is suspected that larvae are mostly decomposers or fungivores. The genus can be found in most regions of the world but it is most diverse in the Holarctic, from temperate to arctic climates, at least judging from the described fauna. Work on Megaselia taxonomy is challenging due to the extreme species diversity, the poor knowledge of the higher-level phylogeny and the lack of molecular data. In this paper, we provide the first comprehensive study of Megaselia relationships based on molecular data. Although basal relationships in the genus remain uncertain, we identify 22 well-supported terminal clades, which we recognize as informal species groups. We briefly discuss the morphological characteristics of each species group, and the implications of our phylogenetic results for the genus-level classification of Megaselia and its closest relatives. We also provide molecular and brief morphological characterization of 45 Megaselia species new to science.

National Category
Biological Systematics
Research subject
Systematic Zoology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133433OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-133433DiVA: diva2:958406
Funder
The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative (ArtDatabanken, SLU), 158/09Swedish Research Council, 2014-5901
Available from: 2016-09-07 Created: 2016-09-07 Last updated: 2016-09-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Charting biodiversity: Scuttle flies and other poorly known insects in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Charting biodiversity: Scuttle flies and other poorly known insects in Sweden
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Biodiversity has fascinated people in all times. We as a species are part of the global ecosystem and our survival depends on many other species around us. Charting biodiversity, however, has proven more difficult than one could imagine. When Linnaeus and others started describing which species there are on Earth, people in general, and taxonomists in particular, could not imagine that we would not be finished 300 years later and even less that we would not be able to tell exactly how much there is left to describe.

In this PhD thesis, I deal with relatively large organisms (compared to the average size of organisms left to be described), namely insects in general and scuttle flies in particular, within a limited and well-studied geographic region (Sweden). Nevertheless, the results show that we are far from completing the inventory for even this limited portion of global biodiversity. Since it was in Sweden that Linnaeus started his work and where he did most of it, the Swedish flora and fauna belong to the best known in the world. In spite of this, we show in paper I of this thesis that it is likely that a considerable portion of the Swedish insect fauna remains to be discovered. The white spots on the biodiversity map primarily concern small Diptera and Hymenoptera species that are decomposers or parasitoids. The scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) are one of the insect families that contain more undescribed species than species known to science, both in Sweden and elsewhere. The situation is complicated by the fact that a large portion of the known scuttle-fly diversity is placed within a single genus, Megaselia, one of the most species-rich genera in the animal kingdom; almost 40 % of described phorids belong to this genus. Our lack of understanding of phylogenetic relationships within Megaselia has made taxonomic progress on the genus very difficult. In paper II, we define a new natural clade within Megaselia, the lucifrons group, based on both molecular and morphological evidence. We show that the group comprises at least three species in Sweden, one of which is described by us as new to science. In paper III, we present the first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of Megaselia. We identify 22 well-supported natural clades within the genus, comprising at least two species each. These clades are recognized as species groups; most of them have not been described previously. We identify eight additional, isolated single-species lineages, which may turn out to represent multi-species clades when molecular data become available for more species. The paper includes the description of 45 species new to science, all from Sweden. In paper IV, we revise the most basal of the 22 species groups, the spinigera group, and describe one additional new species to science from Sweden in this group. The thesis provides the first reasonably complete phylogenetic framework for Megaselia and its closest relatives, greatly facilitating further research into scuttle-fly diversity in Sweden and elsewhere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2016. 50 p.
National Category
Biological Systematics
Research subject
Systematic Zoology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133436 (URN)978-91-7649-501-8 (ISBN)978-91-7649-502-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-11-04, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative (ArtDatabanken, SLU), dha 158/09 1.4
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-10-12 Created: 2016-09-07 Last updated: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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