What “Orthophlebiidae” really means: preliminary results of a revision of the family Orthophlebiidae (Insecta: Mecoptera)

Publication Type:Conference Paper
Year of Publication:2016
Authors:A. Soszyńska-Maj, Krzemiński, W., Kopeć, K.
Conference Name:The 7th International Conference on Fossil Insects, Arthropods and Amber
Date Published:26/04/2016
Publisher:Siri Scientific Press
Conference Location:National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

The family Orthophlebiidae was described by Handlirsch in 1906 and besides the family Permochoristidae, was one of the two largest extinct families of the order Mecoptera. The number of genera and species within this family fluctuates due to a very unstable and changing taxonomic system. However, an estimated 190 species have been described from all regions of the world. The unclear taxonomic position of this family and its very weak and unclear diagnosis result in constant shifts within the Mecoptera phylogenetic system and it is considered to be either polyphyletic (“Orthophlebiidae”) or monophyletic (Orthophlebiidae). The lack of a comprehensive analysis of orthophlebiids results in the inclusion of numerous newly described taxa of doubtful taxonomic position, often without any necessary justification, to this systematically ill-defined group. This increases the existing chaos in the taxonomy of Mecoptera. Thus, in our opinion the group of species “Orthophlebiidae” form a center of attention in taxonomy and phylogeny of the modern lineages of Mecoptera. The taxonomic revision and redefinition of this controversial family will prevent future misinterpretation and help to clarify its phylogenetic relationships. Based on the holotypes from the German collections of Handlirsch and Bode, the English collection of Tillyard and the Russian collections of Martynov, Martynova, Sukatsheva and Novokshonov, in addition to new material from England and China, we restudied the species included in Orthophlebiidae. Here we present the preliminary results of this taxonomic investigation.

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