Summer Intern Project: Stephanie Leon, entomology undergraduate student from the University of California in Riverside, CA, is working on a summer internship with Torsten Dikow. Her project is entitled, “Taxonomic revision of the Namibian fly genus Namadytes.” Read more about her project here.
News - June-August 2012
News - June 2012
News - February 2012
Field work in Namibia - Torsten Dikow traveled to Namibia (28 January to 11 February 2012) for field work in the Namib Desert. Read more here.
News - December 2011
Ph.D. student Julia Almeida from Brazil spent the last four months studying Mydinae taxonomy and phylogeny while visiting Torsten Dikow at the FMNH. Read more here.
News - December 2011
Field work in Australia - Torsten Dikow traveled to Australia (2-17 December 2011) for field work in Western Australia and museum visits in Canberra, Perth, and Sydney. Read more here.
News - November 2011
ESA meeting attendance - Torsten Dikow attended the 59th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Reno, Nevada, USA where he presented a talk entitled “Phylogeny and historical biogeography of Apioceridae and Mydidae inferred from morphological characters of imagines (Diptera: Asiloidea)”. See link to the presentation on slideshare.net and other presentations here.
News - October 2011
Illinois Natural History Survey visit - Torsten Dikow visited the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) in order to pick up a large number of mydas-fly specimens collected by Dr. Mike Irwin over the last years all over the world. Interesting specimens from this collection include undescribed species of Leptomydas from India and Plyomydas from Argentina as well as material of the rare genera Midacritus from Chile and Mahafalymydas from Madagascar. In addition, two very large female specimens from Namibia represent a undescribed species that cannot be associated with any described Afrotropical genus.
Torsten also spent a few hours in the INHS collection itself and discovered among unsorted robber flies three specimens of the genus Carebaricus (Bathypogoninae) from Argentina, which is most closely related to Bathypogon from Australia and which was previously known only from five specimens all deposited in the Museu de Zoologia (MZSP) in São Paulo, Brazil. These new specimens from La Rioja province in north-western Argentina might represent a yet undescribed species.
News - July 2011
Brazilian collections: Torsten Dikow travelled to Brazil (26 July - August 7) in order to visit three collections and study Mydidae and Asilidae specimens important for the NSF REVSYS project.
The Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo (MZSP) in São Paulo, the insect collection at the Universidade de São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto, and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Aamazônia (INPA) in Manaus were visited. The most interesting Asilidae species studied is the enigmatic Carebaricus rionegrensis (Lamas, 1971) from central Argentina of which the only specimens ever collected are deposited at MZSP and which is the closest relative of the diverse Australian genus Bathypogon. A preliminary analysis of adding Carebaricus rionegrensis to the morphological matrix published in 2009 (Dikow 2009) confirms the sister-group relationship of the two genera.
Several interesting Mydidae species were studied at MZSP and INPA and the discovery of a yet unstudied specimen of Messiasia wilcoxi Papavero, 1976, which was collected just a month before the sole holotype (deposited at MZSP) had been collected, is of great significance.
Torsten also joint four dipterists from INPA for a day in the field at three nature reserves north of Manaus. Although no Mydidae were collected, some 11 species of Asilidae were collected, i.e., Lampria bicolor, Smeryngolaphria sp., Andrenosoma sp., Ommatius dentatus Scarbrough, 1993, Ommatius costatus Rondani, 1850, Ommatius neotropicus Curran, 1928, Mallophora sp., Leptogaster sp., Anarmostus iopterus (Wiedemann, 1828), and two Atomosiini sp. (identifications of Asilinae and Ommatiinae by Rodrigo Vieira).
Torsten also attended the 30th annual meeting of the Willi Hennig Society in São José do Rio Preto where he was an invited speaker and presented a talk entitled, “Molecules and morphology: insights from phylogenetic analyses of insect taxa.”
News - May 2011
Summer Intern Project: Sara Parilo, biology undergraduate student from Roosevelt University in Chicago, started her summer internship. Her project is entitled, “Digitization of identification keys of Apioceridae and Mydidae flies.” Read more about her project here.
News - January 2011
Sara Parilo, biology undergraduate student from Roosevelt University in Chicago, is assisting Torsten Dikow in databasing Mydidae specimens. Read more about her project here.
News - December 2010
A new paper on Mydidae by Kathleen Lyons and Torsten Dikow, reviewing the Afrotropical genera Ectyphus and Parectyphus and describing one new species in Ectyphus from Kenya has just been published in ZooKeys. This publication extends the distribution of Ectyphinae from western North America and southern Africa to also include eastern Africa.
For details and download of a free PDF see either the Bibliography or the publication site. You can also use the following link directly to access the paper on the ZooKeys web-site.
News - December 2010
Torsten Dikow visited the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDMC), California, USA to study the small, but interesting Apioceridae, Asilidae, and Mydidae collection that is particularly strong for insects from southern California, USA and the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.
Entrance area of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Male of Mydas fisheri Wilcox et al., 1989 in lateral view photographed in the collection of the SDMC.
Mexico, Baja California Sur, San Bartolo, 28.viii.1982, D. Faulkner J. Brown, SDMC. This specimen is a paratype of M. fisheri Welch and Kondratieff, 1990, which is a junior synonym of M. fisheri Wilcox et al., 1989.
Torsten also attended the 58th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America held in San Diego and presented a talk entitled, “Phylogeny of Mydidae inferred from morphological characters of imagines (Diptera: Asiloidea)”. The presentation can be viewed here.
News - November 2010
The European Mydidae fauna is small with currently 6 species recorded from France (Corsica), Italy (Sardinia and Sicily), Portugal, and Spain (see the Fauna Europea web-site for details). Note that the finding of Syllegmydas algiricus in Spain by Carles-Tolrá published in 2006, has not been added yet.
Just recently, a dipterist from Hungary has sighted and photographed a Leptomydas species in Greece (see the Diptera.info web-site for a nice image). Specifically, the fly was photographed on the small island of Skiathos (39°09'56''N 023°27'05''E) in eastern Greece. This record represents the first Mydidae known from Greece!
News - October 2010
As part of the NSF REVSYS grant, Torsten Dikow travelled to Germany (October 18–20) to visit the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart (SMNS) and the Messel Research Station, near Frankfurt, to study the Senckenberg Research Institute fossil collection housed there. The aim of these museum visits was on the one hand to study type specimens and other specimens of extant species of Apioceridae, Asilidae, and Mydidae flies and on the other hand to study fossil specimens of Asilidae and Mydidae from the Cretaceous and Tertiary: Eocene deposited in these museums.
The oldest known Mydidae (Cretomydas santanensis), described recently from the Crato Formation of Brazil (112 myo), was examined and morphological characters added to a phylogenetic matrix of this family that Torsten is currently working on. Three new fossil species of Asilidae were identified from the Messel Oil Shale (48–51 myo) of which two can be placed in existing taxa, i.e., Leptogastrinae and Ommatiinae, and another one needs additional study.
The SMNS Diptera collection was also extensively studied and the female of Vespiodes phaios was discovered. This species had just been described from a single male from south-eastern Kenya (see this previous news item) and this female comes from north-eastern Tanzania.
News - October 2010
A new paper on Mydidae by Torsten Dikow, describing new species of Leptomydas (from India, Nepal, and Thailand), Mydaselpis (from Kenya and Tanzania), Syllegomydas (from Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe), and Vespiodes (from Kenya) has just been published in ZooKeys. This publication records for the first time Mydidae from Kenya, Mauritania, Tanzania, and Uganda in the Afrotropical Region and from Nepal and Thailand in the Oriental Region.
See the Bibliography for details about the paper and a link to freely download a PDF or directly use this link.
News - September 2010
A new paper on Mydidae by Matthew van Dam, describing a new species of Rhaphiomidas from northern Mexico, has just been published in Zootaxa. In addition to the new species, this paper provides a well-illustrated and updated dichotomous identification key to all species of Rhaphiomidas.
See the Bibliography for details about the paper and a link to freely download a PDF.
News - August 2010
The 7th International Congress of Dipterology took place in San José, Costa Rica from August 8–13, 2010. Several presentations related to the NSF REVSYS project on Mydidae were presented by Julia Almeida and Torsten Dikow.
In the “Advances in Afrotropical Dipterology” symposium, Torsten presented a talk entitled “An overview of Afrotropical Mydidae – the most diverse mydid fauna world-wide” (view it here).
In the “Phylogeny and taxonomy within the ‘orthorrhaphous’ Brachycera” symposium, Julia presented a talk entitled “Phylogenetic relationships within the Mydinae (Diptera: Mydidae)” and Torsten presented a talk entitled “Phylogenetic relationships within Mydidae based on adult morphology (Diptera: Asiloidea)” (view it here).
News - July 2010
A major update to the Mydidae specimen database has been made. The map shows now 2628 specimens representing 298 species in 61 genera. In particular, the Afrotropical coverage has been enhanced so that now each genus is at least shown with the distribution of the type specimens. Check the new map out here.
News - New summer intern working on taxonomic revisions
Summer intern Katie Lyons working on taxonomic revisions
Text by Katie Lyons
My project this summer (June to August 2010) at the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, IL, USA) is to revise the genera Ectyphus and Parectyphus (Mydidae: Ectyphinae). Both genera are known to southern Africa, although very few specimens have been collected so far. To learn more about the project follow this link.
This work is supported with a summer stipend by Torsten Dikow's NSF REVSYS grant on Apioceridae, Asilidae, and Mydidae (details here).
News - May 2010
As part of the NSF REVSYS grant, the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris, France was visited by Torsten Dikow in order to study the many holotypes of Mydidae deposited there as well as several Asilidae types. Read more news about this trip here.
News - 1 May 2010
Torsten Dikow spent a week in Florida for field work in order to collect several Mydidae species of interest to the NSF REVSYS grant. Two species of Phyllomydas (Mydinae: Phyllomydini) were collected as well as several Asilidae species in general. Archbold Biological Station in Lake Placid, FL was the base for some of the field work conducted in Florida scrub.
Torsten also visited the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA) in Gainesville, FL for a day to photograph several Mydidae type specimens and study the extensive Mydidae collection particularly from the south-eastern United States.
News - 9 April 2010
The first publication resulting from the NSF REVSYS grant has been published. Torsten Dikow wrote a short paper on the Mydidae fauna of the United Arab Emirates recording four species (three of which are new records for the UAE). The publication is part of the 3rd volume of the book Arthropod Fauna of the United Arab Emirates edited by Antonius van Harten. (see bibliography for complete reference).
Eremomidas arabicus Bequaert, 1961 (Leptomydinae), Perissocerus arabicus Bequaert, 1961 (Rhopaliinae), as well as Rhopalia gyps Bowden, 1987 and Rhopalia olivieri Macquart, 1838 (Rhopaliinae) are now recorded from the UAE. In addition, Eremomidas arabicus has been recorded for the first time from Oman and represents the first Mydidae species recorded from this country. The publication is accompanied by photographs of Eremomidas arabicus in the wild taken by Jan Batelka and Rhopalia olivieri in the laboratory taken by James Turner.
News - March 2010
News - February 2010
As part of the NSF REVSYS grant, the Natural History Museum in London, UK was visited by Torsten Dikow in order to study the many holotypes of Mydidae deposited there as well as several Apioceridae and Asilidae types. Read more news about this trip here.
News - 5 February 2010
A new version of the web-site has been released. This is version 3, which is now using the open source content management system Drupal in order to provide better access to information stored in databases. Not only are the taxa catalogues for family-group names, genera, and species fully searchable, the site itself can also be searched.
The bibliography is presented in a much better way and you can search the bibliography for authors, journals, or just words. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to implement a keyword search that would provide you with every paper dealing with the genus Syllegomydas, for example. Stay tuned as I hope to implement this soon. In addition, when you click on the title of a publication it will either give you the full record or take you directly to a web-site where you can download a free PDF of the article, e.g., Biodiversity Heritage Library, American Museum of Natural History, the journal Psyche, or the electronic edition of the Biologia Centrali-Americana. I will try to add new links from time to time, but it is difficult to keep up with the huge amount of digital media made available online for free.
Another great update is the presentation of specimen occurrence data in a table and map format for both Apioceridae and Mydidae. This database will be updated regularly and eventually provide a great source to see the exact distribution of each species. The image galleries are also provided in an easier-to-navigate way and almost all Mydidae genera are represented by at least one image (often of the holotype of the type species).
Migrating a site from a pure CSS and HTML style to Drupal isn't easy and I thank Kris Urie and Maria Tzeka from the Biodiversity Synthesis Center for their help with all my questions about Drupal.
If you have comments or suggestions, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at torsten at tdvia.de. Enjoy the new site.
News - December 2009
Torsten Dikow presented the first results from the NSF REVSYS grant in a poster at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA entitled “New data on the distribution of Mydidae in the Afrotropical and Oriental regions (Diptera: Asiloidea)”. A manuscript describing the new species and providing the new distribution records will be submitted shortly.
News - December 2009
The first manuscript within the NSF REVSYS grant on a review of the Mydidae fauna of the United Arab Emirates has been submitted to the “Arthropod Fauna of the UAE” series.
News - November 2009
Torsten Dikow visited the American Museum of Natural History Diptera collection in New York City to re-organise their Mydidae collection and borrow specimens for the project.
News - September - October 2009
As part of the NSF REVSYS grant, the first field trip to north-western South Africa took place and the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town was also visited to to study the many holotypes of Mydidae deposited there. Read more news about this trip here.
News - August 2009
Torsten Dikow and David Yeates received an NSF REVSYS grant for a three-year research project on the phylogenetic relationships, taxonomy, and fossil history of Apioceridae, Asilidae, and Mydidae. More detailed information here.