The Dance Flies (Diptera: Empidoidea) of Madagascar

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Title: The Dance Flies (Diptera: Empidoidea) of Madagascar
Author: Swink, Whitney Garland
Advisors: Brian Wiegmann, Committee Chair
Andrew Deans, Committee Member
Clyde Sorenson, Committee Member
Abstract: The Empidoidea are a monophyletic superfamily of flies that includes dance flies (Empididae), long-legged flies (Dolichopodidae), and several small families (Atelestidae, Hybotidae, and Brachystomatidae). Empidoids are found worldwide and contain many thousands of species, but none have ever been described from Madagascar. An ongoing biodiversity survey by the California Academy of Sciences has brought to light many hundreds of undescribed empidoids from the island. This research project involves description, databasing, and DNA barcoding to establish the first estimates of empidoid species diversity in Madagascar. This study will contribute to critical surveys of species richness for rapidly degrading habitats in this important biodiversity hotspot. Representatives from two empidoid families, Empididae and Hybotidae were collected from Madagascar. There are eight new species of Hybos (Hybotidae: Hybotinae) from Madagascar: H. gardneri sp. nov., H. flaviarticulus sp. nov., H. verykoukis sp. nov., H. fianarantsoensis sp. nov., H. exastis sp. nov., H. triangulus sp. nov., H. angustifacies sp. nov., and H. ignotopalpus sp. nov. All species are described and male genitalia are illustrated. DNA barcoding was performed on the flies from the subfamily Hybotinae in order to infer species limits, but due to poorly preserved or degraded DNA, no definitive conclusions could be drawn. To aid identification, eight new barcodes were obtained that will be submitted to the barcode library upon publication of the new species. All data collected for the Madagascar empidoids have been recorded in a Mandala database and all images have been uploaded into Morphbank. Additionally, a LucID key is available on the Internet for species identification.
Date: 2009-12-02
Degree: MS
Discipline: Entomology

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