A note on Pallopteridae Phylogenetics


I just wanted to upload some of this work that I did in my Phylogenetics class with Dr. Corrie Moreau during my last semester at Cornell, since I figure it would be interesting to the small number of people who actually know this family exists! In it, I used the existing COI data on NCBI to create phylogenies of the Pallopteridae and related families, along with an ordination of the different species based on wing pattern characteristics. Quite honestly, some of this report is a bit messy and hard to follow, but I'm not publishing it or anything so it should still be good enough. In addition, all phylogenetic results should be taken with a large heaping of salt given that only a single mitochondrial gene of 600 base pairs was used, which is not a very trustworthy data set for a phylogeny of multi-family scope.

Here's the presentation version; since it was made for me to verbally present with, there's not a ton of info on the slides.

Here's the written report version, where I go into much more depth into my methods and research of the Pallopteridae, along with more info in terms of my conclusions.

The main points are:
Pallopteridae should be restricted to Palloptera, Toxonevra, and Temnosira, excluding Eurygnathomyia and Maorina [corroborates Ho-Yeon Han, Papp]

Eurygnathomyia and Maorina represent separate family lineages (especially the latter, as Maorina was never recovered as sister to Pallopteridae sensu stricto)

The current concepts of Palloptera, Toxonevra, and Temnosira are likely paraphyletic in themselves [Corroborates Ho-Yeon]

The Nearctic Toxonevra do not seem to be the same genus as the Palearctic Toxonevra

There is a lot to be done in this family!!! The last paper on the group in the Nearctic is nearly 100 years old... and my work is very incomplete in terms of species coverage, so there's certainly more to be learned with more collection, better sampling, and more intensive sequencing techniques.

Tagging people who might be interested:
@ophrys @matthewvosper @sbushes @chrisangell @naturalistus @szucsich @treegrow @phycus @steve_kerr @dipterajere @zdanko @edanko


Posted on September 12, 2022 06:46 PM by spencerpote spencerpote


This is great, thank you very much for sharing!

Posted by zdanko almost 2 years ago

Very cool! No surpirse that Maorina is separated, there are morphological differences as well. I've been planning to attempt a key for ages and might have a chance soon...

Posted by matthewvosper almost 2 years ago

There are a couple of minor Palearctic genera you have not mentioned, namely Morgea and Gorbunia (presumably due to availability - but worth noting)

Posted by matthewvosper almost 2 years ago

Yup, there's also some miscellaneous genera of "Pallopteridae" that are only found in the Patagonian region of South America (like Heloparia), but I wasn't able to include them or Morgea/Gorbunia just because there are no available sequences for the group.

Posted by spencerpote almost 2 years ago

Great work, thanks for sharing - unfortunately non-monophyletic groups are quite common in Diptera ;-)

Posted by szucsich almost 2 years ago

Very cool. I'm surprised that there are molecular data available for that many species. Not bad for a fairly obscure acalyptrate family.

Posted by treegrow almost 2 years ago

Not exactly a surprise :)

Posted by dipterajere almost 2 years ago

Very nice, thanks for sharing, Spencer! I know it wasn't your focus but you won't be surprised that I'm eyeing your Piophilidae phylogenies too :)

Posted by chrisangell almost 2 years ago

@zdanko Thanks!

@szucsich Yup, especially for these underloved trash-can taxons! One that I was made aware of in my undergrad is the mess that is Drosophila; there's so so many different little groups that should be removed, but with over 1000 species, nobody is going to be doing that work anytime soon...

@treegrow I was surprised too! The majority of them from the Nearctic were from Canadian efforts to barcode, and the Palearctic were from western PAL, but there were some cool little outgroups in there too from Han-Yeon's study.

@dipterajere Yup, given our indepth look at the taxonomy, it only makes sense that it would all be super unstable...

@chrisangell Thanks! Yup, I was trying to make sure that I represented all the groups within the Piophilidae Family Group so that the position of these various little genera could be recovered; in retrospect, I should've done an analysis including all Tephritoidea families just to see what happens! Also, the Piophilidae were a bit strange since they separated into two groups using the PhyML analysis; this is most likely just a result of the low accuracy of the genes I was using, but it's still interesting. In my analysis as well, there was a pretty strong split between the Mycetaulines and the Piophilines, which gives credence to their tribal placement! But lots more needs to be done for a good phylogeny; hopefully I'll be able to do something during my PhD as a project with the specimens I've accumulated at this point!

Posted by spencerpote almost 2 years ago

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