The classification systems of Syrphidae and advance in the related researches

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2005
Authors:H. - J. Zhang, Huo K. - K.
Journal:Kunchong Zhishi
Date Published:March

This paper deals with the classification systems of Syrphidae and advancements in its research process. Linnaeus could not correctly separate hoverflies from other groups of Diptera and identified about 37 species of hoverflies known to science into the so-called genus Musca . The genus Syrphus proposed by Fabricius who assigned most of the known hoverflies and non syrphid species to this genus, but some of other real syrphid species were still retained in the Musca and other genera . Moses Harris was the first person who separated hoverflies from other groups of Diptera. Latreille used ’Syrphiae’ as the family name and Fallen’ Syrphici’ . The modem family name ’Syrphidae’ was introduced by Leach in 1819 and from then it was accepted and used widely. It is now held that Syrphidae belongs to Section Aschiza, Suborder Cyclorrhapha of Diptera. Syrphidae formed the superfamily Syrphiodea together with its sister group Pipunculidae . Rondani was the first to classify syrphid genera at subfamily level and recognized five subfamilies. Schiner divided the hoverflies into two groups based on the position of crossvein (r-m) and proposed eight subfamilies in 1864. Lioy was the first to use larval feeding habits in classification of hoverflies and divided it into five groups, and among which Eristaliti was divided into three sub-groups. Williston divided Syrphidae into three subfamilies and fourteen tribes. Having followed the works of Schiner and Willitson, Verrall proposed a seven-subfamily system accepted by the latter scholars and quoted in their works as Efflatoun, Brunetti and Ferguson. Bezzi quoted the Verrall’s system in his Revision of Australian Syrphidae (Diptera)’ , but he replaced Eristalinae of Verrall’s system with Merodontinae and Milesinae with Xylotinae. It may be said that the works of Verrall’s and Williston’s were the bases of taxonomy of Syrphidae. It had influenced the latter scholars greatly so Verrall thought some groups of syrphids ought to be raised to subfamily level. Shannon introduced a ten-subfamily system. Curran erected Eumerinae and proposed a eleven subfamily system in 1928 . Gil Collado erected Callicerinae . Brues & Melander recognized eighteen subfamilies, Sack proposed a fourteen subfamily system and Shiraki a twenty one subfamily system. Hull divided Syrphidae into fourteen subfamilies and establish the foundation of the evolutionary trends of groups . Goffe summarized advancements on systems of Syrphidae and divided it into two subfamilies containing ten tribes . There have been many scholars who proposed different systems based on different reasons in their works such as Coe, Hartley, Bankowska, Vockeroth, Knutson , Smith, Stubbs, Volovitsch, Peck and Thompson . So far there had been not a system being accepted in general. The Syrphidae trends to be divided into three subfamilies although the taxonomic positions of some groups are still in dispute . The proofs used in the studies on systems and evolutionary trends of Syrphidae were mainly from the following aspects: morphological and structural characteristics of larvae, pupa and adults, biological characteristics especially the feeding habits of larvae, chromosomes and fossil records. Because of different explanations to those same proofs, the scholars drew the different conclusions. So construction of natural’ system of Syrphidae must be on the basis of further comprehensive studies, especially the researching on molecular biology of Syrphidae.

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