Series: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH Bulletins) Volume: 228
A phylogenetic hypothesis based on larval and adult characters is proposed for the Sepsidae. The cladistic analysis employed 85 characters and 57 taxa and found 16 equally parsimonious cladograms. The strict consensus tree and a preferred tree are presented, the region of the tree in which the parsimonious cladograms differ is indicated, and the competing arrangements of taxa are shown. Outgroup representatives included two species of ropalomerids (Ropalomera sp., Willistoniella pleuropunctata), two species of coelopids (Coelopa frigida, Chaetocoelopa sydneyensis), and one species of dryomyzid (Neuroctena caucasica). Based on larval characters, the Coelopidae are the sister group of the Sepsidae.
Based on both the adult and the combined data sets, the Ropalomeridae, which are generally regarded as the sister group of the Sepsidae, are confirmed as their closest living relatives. Two new morphological autapormorphies related to the posterior spiracles are described for the Sepsidae. The following phylogenetic hypothesis is proposed based on the combined data set: (Orygma (Ortalischema (Paratoxopoda (Themira (Decachaetophora ((Saltella Susanomira) (Nemopoda (Lasionemopoda ((Meroplius Xenosepsis) (Palaeosepsis (Palaeosepsis (Parapalaeosepsis (Dicranosepsis (Sepsis (Australosepsis Sepsis)). The genus Xenosepsis is synonymized with Meroplius (syn. nov.), and the genus Australosepsis with Sepsis. The history of sepsid classification is briefly discussed, and the most influential systems are compared with the results of the cladistic analysis. The phylogenetic relationships of the genera for which the larvae are unknown are inferred from adult characters. Larvae for the following genera are described based on a comprehensive scanning electron microscopical study: Australosepsis (1 sp.), Decachaetophora (1 sp.), Dicranosepsis (1 sp.), Lasionemopoda (1 sp.), Meroplius (2 spp.), Nemopoda (3 spp.), Ortalischema (1 sp.), Orygma (1 sp.), Palaeosepsis (4 spp.), Parapalaeosepsis (2 spp.), Paratoxopoda (1 sp.), Saltella (3 spp.), Sepsis (20 spp.), Susanomira (1 sp.), Themira (10 spp.), and Xenosepsis. Except for two species of Nemopoda for which the cephalic region could not be studied, drawings of the following structures are supplied: cephalic region (ventral and lateral), maxillary palp, anterior spiracle, ventral creeping welt, last segment (ventral, lateral, and dorsal), and spiracular plate of the posterior spiracle.
Keys are presented that allow the identification of all genera and most species within the genera. However, the morphological differences between some species within Sepsis and Themira are so subtle that species identifications are difficult or even impossible. The literature on larval morphology, biology, and distribution of the species is briefly summarized.
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