Year

2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences

Abstract

The flesh flies (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) are one of the major families of calyptrate flies (Calyptratae). The Sarcophagidae are best known for their many carrion-breeding species, despite many sarcophagids displaying an enormous variety of life histories, including parasitism, coprophagy, predation and scavenging. The flesh flies are divided into three subfamilies: the Miltogramminae, Paramacronychiinae and Sarcophaginae; however only miltogrammines and sarcophagines are known to exist in Australia. Previous flesh fly research has been heavily biased towards the predominantly carrion-breeding Sarcophaginae due to their potential agricultural and forensic importance. As a result, the subfamily Miltogramminae has been largely ignored in Australian research, despite being critical for understanding the biodiversity and evolution of flesh flies in Australia and globally. This PhD thesis aims to remedy this by providing much-needed research to delimit, describe and phylogenetically place the unique Australian miltogrammine fauna.

A core aim of this thesis was to document the biodiversity of the miltogrammines in Australia. To best study the Australian fauna, extensive sampling was completed in every state and territory of Australia, resulting in ~1,000 freshly collected specimens. This material was then combined with available museum specimens allowing for comprehensive species delimited utilising both morphology and molecular genetics. This integrative approach resulted in the revision of all previously described genera and species and the subsequent description of 15 endemic species new to Science. Included in the revisionary work for each species are comprehensive descriptions of the adult morphology and male terminalia, detailed taxonomic photographs of adult morphology and scanning electron micrographs (SEM) and photographs of the dissected male terminalia. To provide future tools for the identification of Australian miltogrammines, diagnoses for each species are given, along with keys to the Australian species of each genus.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.