Dr. Kevin Moulton, University of Tennessee, Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology
Co-sponsored by EEB / EEOB
Abstract. Four vignettes from recently published or ongoing molecular phylogenetic and revisionary research on meniscus midges (Dixidae) and black flies (Simuliidae) are presented. These two culicomorph Diptera families are similar in that their larvae, though differing in general body form, are filterers of fine particulate matter from freshwater aquatic habitats, and males typically form aerial mating swarms. Simuliid larvae use silk for larval attachment and movement (drifting) and the pharate pupa spins its cocoon under the water surface; dixid larvae do not produce silk and pupation is naked and occurs above the water level. Dixid adults are delicate bodied, with long legs and narrow wings, while simuliid adults are more robustly built and have broad wings. Finally, dixid adults do not feed, while simuliid adults feed on sugar sources and females are generally hematophagous pests of and often disease vectors to warm-blooded animals, including humans. Vignettes presented within the Dixidae include: (1) a first attempt to reconstruct relationships within Dixidae using molecular sequences, (2) revisionary studies of the Dixa rudisspecies group, and (3) a DNA fingerprinting and revisionary study of the Dixa ubiquitaspecies complex. The single vignette concerning the family Simuliidae includes a morphological and molecular phylogenetic investigation into stalk construction by larvae within the genera Ectemniaand Ectemnoides, whichareknown from North America and Australia, respectively.