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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2007 Oct;45(1):111-22. Epub 2007 May 18.

The phylogeny and evolution of host choice in the Hippoboscoidea (Diptera) as reconstructed using four molecular markers.

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  • 1Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK - 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.


Hippoboscoidea is a superfamily of Diptera that contains the Glossinidae or tsetse flies, the Hippoboscidae or louse flies, and two families of bat flies, the Streblidae and the Nycteribiidae. We reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships within Hippoboscoidea using maximum parsimony and Bayesian methods based on nucleotide sequences from fragments of four genes: nuclear 28S ribosomal DNA and the CPSase domain of CAD, and mitochondrial 16S rDNA and cytochrome oxidase I. We recover monophyly for most of the presently recognized groups within Hippoboscoidea including the superfamily as a whole, the Hippoboscidae, the Nycteribiidae, the bat flies, and the Pupipara (=Hippoboscidae+Nycteribiidae+Streblidae), as well as several subfamilies within the constituent families. Streblidae appear to be paraphyletic. Our phylogenetic hypothesis is well supported and decisive in that most competing topological hypotheses for the Hippoboscoidea require significantly longer trees. We confirm a single shift from a free-living fly to a blood-feeding ectoparasite of vertebrates and demonstrate that at least two host shifts from mammals to birds have occurred. Wings have been repeatedly lost, but never regained. The hippoboscoid ancestor also evolved adenotrophic viviparity and our cladogram is consistent with a gradual reduction in the motility of the deposited final instar larvae from active burrowing in the soil to true pupiparity where adult females glue the puparium within the confines of bat roosts.

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