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Title: Systematics and phylogeny of Sarcophaga (Heteronychia) (Diptera, Sarcophagidae)
Tutor: Vigna Taglianti, Augusto
Cerretti, Pierfilippo
Keywords: Diptera
Issue Date: Dec-2010
Abstract: This thesis presents the results of a 4-year Ph.D. project on the Palaearctic subgenus of flesh-flies Sarcophaga (Heteronychia). The goals of the project were: a) to undertake a taxonomic revision of the subgenus; b) to carry out a cladistic parsimony analysis with the objectives of testing the monophyly of Heteronychia and establishing a phylogenetic classification for Heteronychia and the supposedly closely related subgenera Discachaeta and Notoecus. The revisionary part of the project, for which type material of most species was examined (including 100 primary types) together with over 4,350 non-type specimens, resulted in the description of eight new species and the publication of a large number of taxonomic and nomenclatural acts. The cladistic analysis was based on a data matrix containing 84 male morphological characters and 88 terminal taxa. The analysis, which was carried out in TNT using the ‘Traditional search’ function with all characters equally weighted, resulted in 4 most parsimonious trees. A clade formed by Heteronychia + Discachaeta + Sarcophaga longestylata (previously ascribed to the monotypic subgenus Notoecus) came out as monophyletic, whereas Discachaeta was polyphyletic. Within this clade, few species-groups received high support. The best-supported group was the filiagroup, within which S. longestylata was well included both in the unweighted analysis and under implied weighting. The monophyletic clade [Heteronychia + Discachaeta + Sarcophaga longestylata] is considered under the one name Heteronychia, with Discachaeta and Notoecus proposed as synonyms, Heteronychia now comprising a total of 89 valid species. Future prospects of research on this group of flesh-flies include a further refinement of the morphological data matrix and the possible inclusion of molecular characters, as well as the inclusion of representatives of a number of other Palaearctic subgenera of Sarcophaga besides those already analysed.

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