Phylogeny of Asilidae & revised classification sensu Dikow 2009a

An extensive morphological phylogeny of Asilidae, based on a sample of 158 species from 140 genera representing all 11 previously recognised subfamily taxa and 39 of the 42 tribal taxa and 220 discrete, parsimony informative, morphological characters from all tagmata of the imagines, has recently been published.
Dikow, T. 2009a. Phylogeny of Asilidae inferred from morphological characters of imagines (Insecta: Diptera: Brachycera: Asiloidea). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 319: 1–174. Download a free PDF from the AMNH library.

This comprehensive cladistic study proposes a revised, phylogenetic classification of Asilidae into 14 subfamily taxa based on the topology shown below. Additional information about the revised classification, including comments and the list of genera placed, can be found.

The main conclusions of this cladistic analysis are:

  • monophyly of Asilidae is corroborated and supported by five autapomorphies
  • Apioceridae + Mydidae form the adelphotaxon to Asilidae
  • 5 out of the 11 previously recognised subfamily taxa are found to be non-monophyletic, i.e., Apocleinae, Asilinae, Dasypogoninae, Laphystiinae, and Stenopogoninae
  • Ommatiinae, Trigonomiminae, and Stichopogoninae are recovered as monophyletic
  • Dioctriinae and Leptogastrinae are also recovered as monophyletic, but the genera Myelaphus and Acronyches are transferred to them, respectively
  • Asilinae comprises all Apocleinae and Asilinae species sensu previous authors
  • Laphriinae comprises all Laphriinae and Laphystiinae species sensu previous authors
  • Dasypogoninae and Stenopogoninae are divided into several taxa at phylogenetically unrelated positions in the cladogram
  • Dasypogoninae sensu Dikow (2009) comprises only Blepharepiini, Dasypogonini, Lastauracini, Megapodini, Molobratiini, Saropogonini, and Thereutriini as well as the unplaced genera Archilestris, Diogmites, and Lestomyia
  • the remaining taxa possessing either a large prothoracic tibial spine, i.e., Brachyrhopalini and Chrysopogonini, or a small S-shaped spur, i.e., Cophura, Leptarthrus, and Nicocles (Isopogonini of previous authors), are part of the Brachyrhopalinae (new status)
  • Stenopogoninae comprises only Enigmomorphini, Plesiommatini, and Stenopogonini as well as the unplaced genera Ancylorhynchus and Scylaticus
  • Bathypogoninae (new status), Phellinae (new status), Tillobromatinae (new status), and Willistonininae (new status) are new subfamilial taxa previously assigned to Stenopogoninae
  • the remaining Stenopogoninae sensu previous authors represented in this study, i.e., Cyrtopogonini, Ceraturgini, Heteropogon, Holopogon, Metapogon, and Rhabdogaster, are assigned to the Brachyrhopalinae (new status)
  • the genera Coleomyia and Oligopogon remain incertae sedis

  • Strict consensus topology implementing the revised, phylogenetic classification (Dikow 2009a, Fig. 119)

  • arrow indicates root of Asilidae
  • taxa in yellow and green show placement of monophyletic subfamily taxa

  • Strict consensus topology with subfamily taxa sensu previous authors mapped onto the tree (Dikow 2009a, Fig. 119)

  • arrow indicates root of Asilidae
  • taxa in yellow are subfamily taxa sensu previous authors shown to be monophyletic
  • taxa on the right indicate placement of genera in previous classifications by Papavero (1973) and Geller-Grimm (2004)
  • taxa in green are Stenopogoninae sensu previous authors

  • Summary of relationships of subfamily taxa based on strict consensus topology (Dikow 2009a, Fig. 120). Character state optimization and distribution for higher-level clades mapped onto cladogram with character number above circle and character state below circle; green circle = autapomorphy; yellow circle = apomorphic character states (reversed or homoplasious somewhere else in the tree).

    Summary of relationships of tribal taxa based on strict consensus topology (Dikow 2009a, Fig. 121).