[Syrphidae] Flies are not insects but are the sisters to barnacles

christian thompson cthompson@sel.barc.usda.gov
Fri, 14 Sep 2001 07:48:14 -0400

Hey, folks, we always knew that flies were unique among the insects, but now
Ward Wheeler et alia prove it. Flies are really crustacea, the terrestrial
barnacles! Isn't cladistics wonderful, especially total evidence.

See this weeks NATURE for the best answer ever to Arthropod phylogeny based
on eight molecular loci and morphology (Nature, 13 Sept, vol. 143: 157-160).
The study was based on the "principle of total evidence" 

To quote:

"The shortest cladogram based on the morphology and gene-order data [303
characters] alone recognize Mandibulata, Crustacea and Hexapoda as well
supported clades (Bremer support greater than or equal to 6)."

"Drosophila forms a clade with ... a barnacle, and this clade receives a
moderately high Bremer support value" [55]

"To our knowledge, this is the largest data set compiled for such an
important group of animals and was analysed using unique cluster computer
technology to provide a comprehensive hypothesis of arthropod relationships,
Both quality and quantity of data were optimized to create precise and
robust hypotheses."

F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D. C. 20560-0169
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 FAX
cthompso@sel.barc.usda.gov [NB: no terminal "n"]
visit our Diptera site at www.diptera.org