Content Author Object Flagger Flag Created Reason Resolved by Resolution
Toxoneura trimacula dipterajere Mon, 16 Aug 2021 10:17:46 +0000

Toxonevra trimacula (recommended) = Toxoneura trimacula = Palloptera trimacula. The Pallopterids are inconsistently scattered across the genera atm.


see comments


Palloptera (s.l.) has long had two schools of nomenclature: either everything in Palloptera, or some species split off to Toxonevra (often misspelled Toxoneura) and Temnosira.

Personally I dont have a strong option of which one is preferable, but iNat should be consistently choose one taxonomic approach or the other.

Right now the iNat taxonomy is a mix of both approaches, with some species appearing twice:
Palloptera trimacula ( = Toxoneura trimacula = = = =

Jere K.

Posted by dipterajere 5 months ago (Flag)

Is this another N.America vs European division in part?
Seems the species you mention are European in most existing distribution on iNat at least.

Browsing some secondary sources : galleries, UKSI and Systema Dipterorum keep them under one genus.
But Fauna Europaea uses the splits. As does Bugguide which is listed as one of the few official iNat authorities for insects (in N.America).

Are there primary sources you recommend @dipterajere which outline the two schools of thought?

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

Do any of you other top 10 identifiers of this family have wisdom/strong opinions one way or another?
@ophrys @matthewvosper @spencerpote @chrisangell @naturalistus @szucsich @treegrow @phycus @steve_kerr
( Sorry to tag so many... but if there is no clear path from literature as @dipterajere says, perhaps good to be as democratic as possible in approach )

Personally, although cohesion with UKSI could be nice for us UK users exporting records, I think anyhow the splits could be preferable to using a single genus if it helps segment the group more easily for CV model training data.

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

I think that as someone most familiar in North American Diptera, I can't make a solid statement on whether these species belong in separate genera. (No work has been done on Nearctic Pallopteridae for almost a century at this point... so not much to work with!) However, looking at recent literature on the group, it seems pretty mixed on whether people follow this split regarding Palearctic members of the family. It's definitely a good idea to merge species that appear twice though!

Ozerov did a relatively recent (2009) overview of the group in Russia, and he follows the generic splits of Palloptera. These are the splits that are also in a good work on generic boundaries by McAlpine in 1981.

However, some other recent papers do not follow these shifts. An analysis of the immature forms places all these species into Palloptera (2014), as does a farther back catalog of Norweigan species (1993).

All in all, I am not sure which should be followed. Because I am viewing it from the perspective of North American taxonomy, it makes sense to me that the grayish ones should go into Palloptera and the orange-yellow ones should go into Toxonevra, but this is obviously not a taxonomically sound method.

Greve, 1993. Family Pallopteridae (Diptera) in Norway. Fauna norv. Ser. B 40: 37-44.
McAlpine, 1981. Morgea freidbergi new species, a living sister-species of the fossil species M. mcalpinei, and a key to world genera of Pallopteridae (Diptera). Can. Ent. 113(2): 81-91.
Ozerov, 2009. Review of the family Pallopteridae (Diptera) of the fauna of Russia. Russian Entomol J. 18(2): 129-146.
Rotheray, 2014. Development sites, feeding modes and early stages of seven European Palloptera species (Diptera, Pallopteridae). Zootaxa 3900(1):050-076.

Posted by spencerpote 3 months ago (Flag)

Ok nice, thanks for the references @spencerpote.

One other thing to note perhaps is that it would impact less existing records to merge Palloptera synonyms into the other genera than it would to merge Toxonevra / Temnosila into Palloptera at this point.

Toxonevra muliebris alone is over 400 records... whilst records of the Palloptera synonyms mentioned by @dipterajere total less than 50 records.

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

I also think it's important to merge the duplicate species. I would prefer keeping Toxonevra simply because there are currently almost 1000 observations of Toxonevra species and much fewer of Palloptera species that would have to undergo name changes. Also, Toxonevra superba is a fairly common species in the US and many of us are quite familiar with this name. The same may be true for Toxonevra muliebris in Europe?

Oops, I didn't see @sbushes' last comment before posting mine. I guess we are saying the same thing.

Posted by treegrow 3 months ago (Flag)

Yes, there are a shed-load of iNat synonyms in this family, I've flagged a bunch myself in the past and was thinking of revisiting. Ozerov's definitions seem to be the most up to date, but I'm not sure how they correspond to the North American splits. Generally speaking Toxonevra seems to be pretty well established and I wouldn't want to get rid of it without good reason. Temnosira less so - but I haven't looked at it for a while. It would be good to resolve the synonyms in a way that is consistent with at least one published scheme - which one is probably less important. Ozerov's however has the advantage of a published key (in Russian). He includes , Palloptera and Toxonevra, but not Temnosira, (he also includes the minor genera Eurygnathomyia, Gorbunia and Morgea). I did translate the key a while back, but I can't dig it out right now - time for work!

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

This is not really my group of expertise, despite I am usually able to identify Toxonevra muliebris;-)
Thus I have no strong opinion and bow to the more expertised in this group. Personally I am more familiar to Toxonevra, but this should be no reason for a decision.
All the best

Posted by szucsich 3 months ago (Flag)

Found it: the point at which Toxonevra splits from Palloptera is whether the anepisternum is glabrous or haired posteriorly.

Be aware that this is from a Google document translate (several attempts, some of which were hilariously bad - although this bit is more straightforward), so there are a few bits that need interpretation, or compare with the real thing.

Couplet 1. Costal vein with spiny setae. Kate-pisternae with 4 setae along upper margin. 2 + 3 dc................................................ Eurygnathomyia Czerny
[One species is known in the genus: E. bicolor (Zetterstedt, 1837).Recorded in Austria, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland[Morge, 1984; Merz, 1997]; in Russia the species is not registeredit is located, but its location is possible on the NW and Npay part.]

Costal vein without spiny setae. Katepi-stubble with 1 seta (sometimes weak) in the upper posteriormute corner. 0 + 2 or 1 + 3 dc .......................................... 2

Couplet 2. Anepisternae glabrous, without hairs or setae ..... 3
Anepisternae in posterior half with short hairs,at the posterior edge often with several longpatches or bristles (Fig. 6) ............................. 4

Couplet 3. 1 + 3 dc ............................................ .. 2. Palloptera Fallйn-
0 + 2 dc ............................................. ....... Morgea Hennig
[1 species - M. freidbergi McAlpine, 1981. Recorded in Israelsilt and on the island of Corfu (Greece) [McAlpine, 1981]; in Russiathis species is not registered.]

Couplet 4. Mesoscutum flat, between humeral tubercles protrudes far forward (Fig. 3, 4). Narrow winganal area (Fig. 8) ....... 1. Gorbunia Ozerov-
The mesoscutum is convex, between the humeral tubercles. mi does not protrude forward (Fig. 9-11). Wide winganal area (Fig. 18-33, 35, 36) ....................................................................... 3. Toxoneura Macquart

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

@spencerpote Do you know if that fits with the N American division?

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Concerning Temnosira he writes (bearing in mind translation method!).

The genus Palloptera is clearly distinguished from Toxoneura andTemnosira lack of hairs and setae on ane-pistons. Differences between Toxoneura and Temnosira are not so obvious: there are several types (onfor example, T. churkini Ozerov, T. trichaeta Ozerov)which features overlap and cannot be exactlydetermine which genus the species belongs to. thereforein this work I am all types related toToxoneura and Temnosira are placed in the same genus - Toxo-neura. The identification table includes allgenera of pallopterides known in the Palaearctic, althoughrepresentatives of two of them (Eurygnathomyia and Mor-gea) are not registered in Russia.

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

All but 1 of the first 10 articles on Researchgate conform to splitting genera I see.
Including 1 by @erikas_diptera ( who might also have wisdom to offer )

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

@matthewvosper - Ozerov uses Toxoneura not Toxonevra?

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

Looking again, the majority of Researchgate articles also seem to conform to Toxoneura over Toxonevra. If Toxoneura is the correct spelling, then we will anyhow have to impact those 1000 records to fix...

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

According to SD, Toxoneura is just a common misspelling or 'unjustified emendation'

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Looking at the citation though (Macquart), it also refers to Neuroptera as Nevroptera...

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

I think that may be a French thing... He doesn't use Latin Nevroptera, he uses 'Névroptères'. See this French Wikipedia page for example:

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Interesting - ah yes, seems like Macquart is just using a French spelling of -neuro in forming Toxonevra originally.

They also support use of Toxonevra not Toxoneura in this review of Macquart's nomenclature :

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

I reached out to the UK recording scheme leader, David Clements to understand the UK point of view better.
He said :

"Yes, this comes up periodically on FB. The splitting-up of Palloptera was and is controversial because although globally there are marked traits in the appearance of the three proposed genera, the morphological characters which are available to consistently separate them are actually rather weak and superficial. I don’t have any detailed phylogenies to hand, but from my own experience the characters used appear unsuitable for the erection of genera – especially in a fauna like ours where the species are all so clearly related and similar morphologically (our fauna would otherwise contain spp in all three of the proposed genera, which is just silly). For that reason I reject the splitting of the genus Palloptera and I think this is also the view of Peter Chandler (although you would need to check with him to get his detailed views) and most other workers that I deal with in Europe. As far as I know the split has not been investigated using molecular methods."

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

That's interesting, and rather contradicts Ozerov. I have got the impression before that there is less acceptance of the split in Europe, Britain especially (cf Rotheray 2014 cited above), which makes Ozerov as a Russian quite interesting. He is the best (only!?) source for Asian species.

My general feeling (and I am no authority!!) is that there is dispute in the taxonomy of this family - we are not bound by iNat rules to follow a particular authority for this group anyway especially in these circumstances, but we should choose a system that has at least some support somewhere in literature and that is defined and self-consistent, just to sort out the synonyms if nothing else. Given those criteria, which particular system we choose is less important.

It seems to me there are two viable options that have literature support. 1) everything in Palloptera, Toxonevra and Temnosira goes into Palloptera. 2) Do an Ozerov and just have Palloptera and Toxonevra.

Including Temnosira would leave us with species we don't know where to place, because they have been defined according to Ozerov's definition of Toxonevra (even he couldn't place them!), and I don't think Temnosira is as well supported as Toxonevra anyway.

My preference is for 2), not least because I think that would cause the least disruption - especially for our North American friends.

(Incidentally I had been planning to do a journal post of world Pallopteridae once the hoverflies had buzzed off for the winter - there's only circa 70 species in the world - so it would be lovely to have a clear set of names to work with!)

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

For interest:
Here's the page where Macquart raises Toxonevra and a translation of his generic diagnosis. I'm not sure it's too useful given how the generic concept must have changed, but hey ho. My breaks have been well used today :)
Almost spherical head. Streamlined face; slightly protruding epistome; a distinct upper lip protruding a little from the epistome and rounded like it. Third section of the oval antennae; elongated style, briefly hairy. Round eyes. Rather elongated thorax. Extended wings; externo-medial and second transverse vein arched.
These characters, several of which are quite remarkable, determined me to form this genus for a Muscid that I received from M Mahieu, doctor of the lazaretto of Pauillae, near Bordeaux. The name refers to the arching veins of the wings.

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

@phycus would you like to give a North American perspective on Pallopteridae?

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

I am hoping in the future to do a molecular phylogeny of Pallopteridae for this exact reason, as there is a dearth of research into this cool little Tephritoid group! @sbushes
Also, yes, this matches somewhat the characters given in the Manual of Nearctic Diptera to key out the 3 genera of Nearctic Pallopteridae, but as you noted it doesn't include Temnosira.

One note I haven't seen in this discussion is that Eurygnathomyia is considered by some workers to be part of a family sister to Pallopteridae, Eurygnathomyiidae. I can't find the exact paper on when this family was first posited (maybe something by Hennig?), but it was subsumed into a larger idea of Pallopteridae in the later half of the 1900's. However, Papp, in describing a potential new family of Tephritoidea, split Pallopteridae into a few families. Circumphallidae is described from a single male from Vietnam; Eurygnathomyiidae is reinstated as a family containing just Eurygnathomyia; and Morgea, Aenigmatomyia, Heloparia, Pseudopyrgota are all "genera excluded from the Pallopteridae" based on male genitalial features. Pallopteridae is posited to only include Palloptera, Temnosira, and "Toxoneura".

<Papp, 2011. Description of a new genus and a new family, Circumphallidae Fam. Nov., of the Acalyptrate flies (Diptera). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 57(4): 315-341.

In diving into recent research, I have found some interesting things! A recent paper by Ho-Yeon Han, the expert in making molecular phylogenies within Tephritoidea, has some evidence that A: Palloptera and Toxonevra are both non-monophyletic genus concepts!!!, and that B: Eurygnathomyiidae is not sister to Pallopteridae at all and should be removed from the family. The phylogeny groups Palloptera and Toxonevra members closely together (100% likelihood from 2 ML analyses and 100 posterior probability from Bayesian inference), and within there's relatively good support for a paraphyletic grouping of Palloptera and Toxonevra members. Future work may better show that these genera are in fact congeneric!

However, it should be noted that this study uses 2 mitochondrial protein coding genes (total around 1100 bp), and 12s and 16s which are notorious for being unreliable for higher-level phylogenies. As such, the results of this study should be taken with a grain of salt or two.

Han & Ro, 2016. Molecular phylogeny of the superfamily Tephritoidea (Insecta: Diptera) reanalysed based on expanded taxon sampling and sequence data. J Zool Syst Evol Res 54(4): 276-288.

All in all, there is no clear answer! My suggestion now is to combine the Palloptera species with Toxonevra/Temnosira equivalents for now, and maybe in the future more work will prove better one hypothesis over the other.

Posted by spencerpote 3 months ago (Flag)

@spencerpote great input! I remember seeing that Papp paper - I guess the problem is where to put all the excluded things! There's also a New Zealand endemic genus Maorina - given it's sheer distance from the nearest other Pallopterids it's a bit of an odd one! But I distract... I don't think combining everything from Toxonevra and Temnosira into Palloptera would create much difficulty for identification as they tend to be fairly readily identifiable from wing patterns anyway - probably no-one works out the genus first! I reckon the main advantages of not doing so are just keeping things familiar and reducing the volume of changes.

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

I agree - I think it is only justified to be disruptive if the evidence clearly supports making a change. If that happens, I'm happy to do away with Toxonevra, but for now I don't think it's worth it.

Posted by chrisangell 3 months ago (Flag)

"All in all, there is no clear answer! My suggestion now is to combine the Palloptera species with Toxonevra/Temnosira equivalents for now, and maybe in the future more work will prove better one hypothesis over the other. "

I support this solution.

My examples were North European species because that's where I am :) Further similar duplicates may well occur in the iNat taxonomy for this family.

Posted by dipterajere 3 months ago (Flag)

On the spelling of Toxonevra: In the original description, the spelling Toxonevra is used at least twice. It is no mistake.

According to the IUZN rules, spelling of animal names can be corrected only if it is clear that the published spelling is not what the author intended. This happened quite regularly back in time when manuscripts were hand-written and typesetting was done physically tiny metal letter by letter.

Quite a few names were 'fixed' to match classic latin before the IUZN rules were formalized, but the rules clearly state that such corrections are invalid: the author's original intended spelling is the only right one*

for species-level names, there's the additional complication of species epithet having to follow classical latin declension rules, but at genus level we do not have that issue to cope with.

Posted by dipterajere 3 months ago (Flag)

Although, I presented arguments for keeping Toxonevra above, I don't have a problem with folding everything into Palloptera for now. I'm sure the handful of people who know & love Toxonevra superba will get used to it.

Posted by treegrow 3 months ago (Flag)

To be clear @spencerpote / @dipterajere :
When you say "combine the Palloptera species with Toxonevra/Temnosira equivalents "
Do you mean discard the Palloptera synonyms and combine with Toxonevra/Temnosira?
Or ,....................discard the Toxonevra/Temnosira synonyms and combine with Palloptera?

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

I realize that's not clear, sorry! I originally meant the former, to take the Palloptera members and change their genus to Toxonevra/Temnosira. However, I have thought about it more, and especially the note that nobody figures out the genus first, but these are the valid names for the North American species. For the European species, I would recommend folding all Pallopteridae species into Palloptera, as is the custom for that region. However, I'm not sure I suggest the same for North American species. Since this taxonomy split seems somewhat continental, and has not been resolved, I would continue using the names used for many years for the North American species with Toxonevra and Temnosira.

Posted by spencerpote 3 months ago (Flag)

Ok then I see 4 options being spoken of as I understand.
Just to weigh in balance, here they are in terms of number of records impacted:

1. Lump all in Palloptera ( > 1000 records impacted )
2. Discard the Palloptera and retain Toxonevra but not Temnosira ( >65 records impacted )
3. Discard the Palloptera and retain both Toxonevra /Temnosira ( > 60 records impacted )
4. American / European split ( > 400 records impacted )

Thinking solely in terms of minimising disruption for time being...if we weren't following a single approach, as a temporary measure we could also just :

5. Remove unused /merge used synonyms into Toxonevra/Temnosira ( 18 records )
6. Remove unused /merge used synonyms into Palloptera (5 records)

(There are only actually two taxa with both synonyms in use atm as far as I can see :
P.saltuum(13) - Temnosira saltuum(4)
P.trimacula(5) - Toxonevra trimacula(1) )

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

I think there is no question of discarding Palloptera - that is the type genus of the family, in any scheme there has to be a Palloptera. (Also, discarding Palloptera would be us creating our own taxonomy - whereas we should try to be followers of others.)

Also there can also be no question of a continental split purely because Toxonevra mulliebris is present in Europe and Canada and it can't have a different name in each place. (Besides I think there is a great virtue in maintaining a globally self-consistent taxonomy anyway.) The only three options I can see are:

1) Lump everything into Palloptera
2) Keep Palloptera and fold Temnosira into Toxonevra (that's the Ozerov route)
3) Keep all three.

I don't think anyone likes 3). Personally, I prefer 2) for reasons given above, but 1) is ok.

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Sorry, that was unclear ... I meant just discard synonyms. Not discard all Palloptera.

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

Ah, sorry!

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

In terms of the synonyms I think it should really be a case by case thing rather than all going one way or the other. I'd be happy to undertake working that out - I've probably got the info (the vast majority will be in Ozerov). But it depends which way we go. Or, in fact I'll do it anyway because it might inform the decision. Not tonight though... trying to post on another flag too!

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

What does Papp(2011) state specifically with regard to Temnosira?
(in the abstract it says he retains the genus when redefining Pallopteridae despite the paper coming after Ozerov)

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

The paper should be accessible here. He doesn't say much about Temnosira specifically, although he does note a few distinctive morphological features of the genus in the description of his narrower concept of the Pallopteridae (p. 328).

Surstyli fused to epandrium, in Temnosira surstylus present only as lobe. Large tripartite phallus present. [...] Hypandrial apodeme short in Temnosira, postgonite various, small in Temnosira.

Posted by chrisangell 3 months ago (Flag)

Ok, so I've delved into the species and I think I've changed my view as a result.

According to Systema Dipterorum there are 48 valid species in scope: 38 Palearctic or Oriental, 9 Nearctic and 1 Holarctic (that's muliebris - the cool story about that is that it was only recently introduced to Canada - it was first observed and identified there using... iNaturalist, hooray!). 22 of the Old World species are in Ozerov.

SD recognises the three genera - including several species under ToxoneUra (even though the genus spelling is rejected. The Genus Temnosira is also rejected as invalid, but the species under that genus are considered valid. Several species are apparently considered valid in more than one genus because it says e.g. 'Palloptera subarcuata, status: Valid, Valid name: Temnosira subarcuata' !!! So it's a mess. Unfortunately there are 13 of Ozerov's 18 Toxonevra that Systema Dipterorum considers Palloptera.

The upshot of all this is that I don't think we can trust Systema Dipterorum for the genera of those species that are not in Ozerov, and we would have to confirm the correct placement of each species by reference to original descriptions (whose authors likely didn't accept the split generic definitions) or later reviews (which probably don't exist). There are a good number of species that I don't think it's possible for us to determine the genera of in a self-consistent way with any certainty. At least until @spencerpote completes his phylogenetic review of the world Pallopteridae :)

As a result I defect to the view that we should lump everything into Palloptera.

The synonymies and errors in iNat are:
ambusta in P and Tm
modesta in P and Tx
quinquemaculata in P and Tx
saltuum in P and Tm
trimacula in P and Tx
laetabilis spelled as Toxoneura

The 49 species are:
albertensis Johnson, 1921
alticola Ozerov, 1994
ambusta Meigen, 1826
anderssoni Rotheray & MacGowan, 1999
basimaculata Czerny, 1934
bimaculata Strobl, 1910
carterosoma Ozerov, 1993
claripennis Malloch, 1924
czurkini Ozerov, 1993
elegans Merz & Chen, 2005
ephippium Zetterstedt, 1860
flava Oldenberg, 1910
formosa Frey, 1930
jucunda Loew, 1863
kloiberi Morge, 1967
kukumorensis Czerny, 1934
laetabilis Loew, 1873
longipennis Czerny, 1934
maculifemur Czerny, 1934
marginata Meigen, 1826
modesta Meigen, 1830
muliebris Harris, 1780
nigriscutata Ozerov, 1993
orientata Kovalev, 1972
pallens Loew, 1873
paralia Ozerov, 1993
pluvia Dürrenfeldt, 1968
quinquemaculata Macquart, 1835
reducta Merz & Sueyoshi, 2002
saltuum Linnaeus, 1758
scutellata Macquart, 1835
septentrionalis Czerny, 1934
setosa Melander, 1913
shakhadarana Ozerov, 2010
shatalkini Ozerov, 1993
similis Johnson, 1910
simillima Merz & Sueyoshi, 2002
striata Merz & Sueyoshi, 2002
subarcuata Johnson, 1921
subusta Malloch, 1924
superba Loew, 1861
terminalis Loew, 1863
trichaeta Ozerov, 1993
trimacula Meigen, 1826
umbellatarum Fabricius, 1775
usta Meigen, 1826
ustulata Fallén, 1820
venusta Loew, 1858

EDIT: corrected to remove morticiana which is a fossil - tallies updated

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

I'm not fundamentally opposed to lumping them, but I would feel better if somebody had a citation showing evidence that the separate genera aren't good groups. The 2014 Zootaxa paper Spencer mentioned cites this British Diptera checklist (originally published in 1998, but continuously updated), which simply says, "McAlpine (1981) recognised the splitting of Palloptera into several genera, the British species being assigned to Palloptera, Temnosira Enderlein and Toxoneura Macquart. These genera were based on chaetotactic characters which did not lead to natural groups, so are not accepted here." With no further citation. Obviously the idea of ignoring/reverting McAlpine's splits was around before, since there's also the 1993 Norwegian paper (which I can't access).

Subsequent experts have continued to use at least Toxonevra/Toxoneura, so the issue is clearly not settled. I don't know who is proposing lumping them all into Palloptera, their level of expertise, or the weight of evidence behind it. As I said before, I favor taxonomic stability until the evidence is clear. Does anyone among us have the ability to make an informed taxonomic judgement? If we keep Toxonevra and/or Temnosira, we are following Ozerov and/or Papp. If we lump them, we are following who??

The upshot of all this is that I don't think we can trust Systema Dipterorum

This is not the first time I have found this to be the case.

One note I haven't seen in this discussion is that Eurygnathomyia is considered by some workers to be part of a family sister to Pallopteridae, Eurygnathomyiidae. I can't find the exact paper on when this family was first posited (maybe something by Hennig?)

@spencerpote The British checklist and Han & Ro 2016 both cite Griffiths 1972 for that concept. The phrasing in Han & Ro ("Griffiths (1972) proposed the family Eurygnathomyiidae") implies that he was the originator of the idea. I don't have access to that book to check. Their phylogeny supports splitting out Eurygnathomyiidae, and (as you mentioned) is consistent with merging Toxonevra into Palloptera, although they make no such taxonomic recommendation.

Anyway, personally I would follow Ozerov and then place the remaining species as best as we can. I won't make a big stink if the the rest of the community wants to lump them in Palloptera, but I don't currently think that change is well supported.

Posted by chrisangell 3 months ago (Flag)

@dipterajere in your original comment you described the split in traditional opinions - do you have any recent-ish papers holding to an unsplit Palloptera?

@spencerpote earlier offered the following two as examples:
Greve, 1993. Family Pallopteridae (Diptera) in Norway. Fauna norv. Ser. B 40: 37-44.
Rotheray, 2014. Development sites, feeding modes and early stages of seven European Palloptera species (Diptera, Pallopteridae). Zootaxa 3900(1):050-076

However the author of the Norwegian paper, I see, now accepts the split:
I can't access Rotheray to see the detail of what he says. I'll have another look at the splitting route to see how far we can reasonably get ( though someone with better literature access than me could perhaps go further but we'll see. )

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Incidentally I have just noticed another issue. Toxonevra fasciata, which exists in iNat, is a synonym of muliebris. (According to SD)

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

This from the manual of nearctic diptera:
Key to genera
.1. Anepisternumbare.. ..PallopteraFall6n
4 spp.; widespread; Malloch and McAtee 1924
Anepisternum with bristles or setulae or both . . . . . . .2
.2. Vestiture of anepisternum pale yellowish white. Scutum and scutellum mostlypolished....
Temnosira Enderlein
I sp., subarcuala Johnson; British Columbia to Nova Scotia, Maine, and New Hampshire
Vestiture of anepisternum blackish. Scutum and scutellum dull pruinose
Toxoneura Macquart
4 ,sp.; widespread; Malloch and McAtee 1924

Not sure if it is applicable beyond the Nearctic

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Relevant excerpts from the Rotheray 2014 include:

[in the Introduction] In this paper, the larva and puparium are described, compared and contrasted of P. anderssoni Rotheray and MacGowan, P. modesta (Meigen), P. quinquemaculata (Macquart), P. saltuum (Linnaeus), P. trimacula (Meigen), P. usta (Meigen) and P. venusta Loew and development sites and larval feeding modes investigated. Species names and generic placements used here follow Chandler (1998 + updates at:, accessed 27
October 2014).


[in the Discussion, under Taxonomy] The larva and puparium of each pallopteran species examined here are easily distinguished from each other by unique or combined characters from the head skeleton, the locomotory organs and particularly, by the form of the posterior respiratory organs, see key above. However, the pattern of distinguishing and other characters do not match the generic splits of Palloptera proposed by McAlpine (1981) although, compared to other species, P. quinquemaculata is distinctive in numerous characters.

I admit, that's another credible strike against the split, along with Han & Ro's molecular phylogeny.

Posted by chrisangell 3 months ago (Flag)

Toxonevra fasciata also a synonym according to listing for P.muliebris by UKSI :
No mention of T.muliebris at all though as synonym on UKSI, interestingly.

Fauna Europaea was listed as source for original taxon swap on iNat from P.muliebris to T.muliebris. Fauna Europaea keep splits. The taxonomic specialist listed for Pallopteridae on Fauna Europaea is a Dr.Merz, Muséum d'Histoire naturelle Genève, Switzerland.

FWIW, having scanned posts, I also don´t get the impression the lump vs split options are just a US/European divide. I see some saying they use lump (UK / Netherlands). But I see various posts saying they use split in country (Finland / Slovakia / Switzerland ). Also another stating Ozerov is not in use over Papp, so Temnosira is retained :

Also found older Palloptera key online which some reference -
Morge (1967) -

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

re: Systema Dipterorum. It's pretty must the best source for Diptera nomenclature as a whole, but in the end, the whole database is maintained by a small handful of people as a side project. Keeping things actually consistent (for example, applying the same Pallotera genus concept to species across the globe) is pretty much an impossible task. Keeping records updated to the latest literature is in itself out of reach for such a small team.

Posted by dipterajere 3 months ago (Flag)

I'd say whether researchers like Lita Greve or Graham Rotheray (or me) use the splitted or lumped approach is not a good indicator of its validity. It's a measure of popularity, not validity. None of us is a group specialist for Pallopteridae or likely to have digged deep into the issue.

There is also the fact that there are often multiple valid and sensible ways to split taxa into genera, families etc. These are, after all, man-made abstractions, not something defined by nature itself. Keeping Palloptera sensu lato as a single genus is one possible choice. Splitting into into several genera is very likely another valid choice.

How to split it is also a choice. There are often several ways to split a taxon into monophyletic subgroups (and even more ways to split into into non-preferred paraphyletic groups :P).

Posted by dipterajere 3 months ago (Flag)

As well as being listed as the family specialist on Fauna Europaea, Merz published papers on Asian Pallopteridae.
I couldnt find the Asian papers by him last night, but the contact details for Merz are on Fauna Europaea. Perhaps could reach out to him to see if he has an up-to-date and comprehensive global list he recommends to adhere to if we were to continue to follow splits.

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

For European records though, continuing to conform to Fauna Europaea/Merz as iNat has done for the original T.muliebris split would impact approx. 36 records and resolve existing visible synonyms for time-being as follows :

P.ambusta => Temnosira ambusta (0)
P.saltuum => Temnosira saltuum (13)

P.modesta => Toxonevra modesta (7)
P.quinquemaculata => Toxonevra quinquemaculata(9)
P.trimacula => Toxonevra trimacula (5)

It would also impact a species not currently a synonym :
P.usta => Toxonevra usta (2)

(Fauna Europaea list not just the work of Merz alone - he is the lead - but it's a pan-European effort so presumably a consensus at the time of the 4 specialists listed.)

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

Hmm, It does seem that the three way spilt is the most popular academically. I've had a go at assigning genera to the whole of Palloptera s.l. - because part of my concern has been to enable global consistency as and when new species are added to iNat. Actually it turns out that the ones that are currently on iNat at least are generally a bit more agreed. I've gathered a few more sources and found the whole process not too unreasonable. See what you think. I've abbreviated the genera to Palloptera=P, Toxonevra=X and Temnosira=M. The sources are :

SD - Systema Dipterorum
FE - Fauna Europaea
OZ - Ozerov, various papers
MZ - Merz
HYH - Han
MC - Merz and Chen
MS - Merz and Sueyoshi

I have used the following logics:

Nearctic - these just seem really settled. No need to question them.

Quite a few species are originally described by Ozerov in the Genus Toxonevra - so we can't really know if they should be in Temnosira, but until someone looks at a specimen and publishes a new combination - it is in Toxonevra whether it should be or not...

Systema Dipterorum (and GBIF which is in complete agreement with it throughout the family) should be disregarded if it says P when others say X or M.

Ozerov should be disregarded if he says X and others say M

In two cases Merz places a species in X that FE places in P. In neither case can I find any other reference to these species in X, but it is easy to find references to them in P. In Merz, as these are both mere passing mentions of the species and not actual taxonomic treatments of them, I have put both in P.

I have removed pluvia from the list because it is a fossil. I have added the recently described gavryushini Ozerov, 2019. I have removed Temnosira reducta because it has been synonymised with Toxonevra orientata by Ozerov. Han mentions this species and the synonymisation in his review of Korean species, but he does not move orientata to Temnosira.

Of course we don't need to add every species but I thought it was a worthwhile exercise.

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Table is a bit too big for comments here, so I've posted it on my journal instead:

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Amazing. Really helpful overview Matthew. Great job.

Interesting Fauna Europaea and Merz are in conflict sometimes. I wonder if that's just FE not being up to date. In any case, keeping in P doesn't seem unreasonable and doesn't impact any existing records.

Although I don't think my vote should have much weight in this context, FWIW, this approach sounds good to me.

Posted by sbushes 3 months ago (Flag)

Wow, thanks for doing that Matthew! Likewise, I'm not an expert but your proposal looks fine to me.

Posted by chrisangell 3 months ago (Flag)

Cool. Another thought - if we were to implement this, then perhaps it is actually worth adding all of the species that are in Toxonevra and Temnosira, and ensuring that Toxonevra all have Palloptera as an invalid synonym, and that Temnosira all have both Palloptera and Toxonevra as invalid synonyms. That way we might prevent some of these duplicates from simply reappearing. I think in this group people are very willing to believe that their observation is the first on iNat, and to add a new name without being aware of the taxonomic debate in the family.

Posted by matthewvosper 3 months ago (Flag)

Yup, I had the same thought! I'm happy to help with any of this. :)

Posted by chrisangell 3 months ago (Flag)

Sadly there is no easy way to reach Bernhard Merz anymore short of, perhaps, prayer. When I last heard of him -- about 2 years ago -- he was very. very ill with no hope of recovery, and no more capable of writing much.

Posted by dipterajere 2 months ago (Flag)

Sorry to hear that @dipterajere.

Posted by sbushes 2 months ago (Flag)

I am also happy to help resolve.
Is everyone in agreement with this approach?
@treegrow @spencerpote

Posted by sbushes 2 months ago (Flag)

Yes, I can help with resolving this as well! I like the approach in the discussion post!

Posted by spencerpote 2 months ago (Flag)

It sounds like we should be ok to go... Thanks to those helping implement. Perhaps we should each state here what we intend to do before doing it so that we don't end up bumping into each other. And then say what we've done when complete...

I can also now help implement this, but they will be my first taxon changes. I am happy to attempt the species that are going into Temnosira because that affects a grand total of only 18 observations, so perhaps that's a good place for me to start.

Posted by matthewvosper 2 months ago (Flag)

I've created the additional species for Temnosira, added the relevant synonyms to each and made sure there are taxon swaps in draft for ambusta and saltuum.

Posted by matthewvosper 2 months ago (Flag)

Those swaps look good. Temnosira trichaeta is still missing, and I don't see any synonyms on some of the Temnosira species. Ex. Temnosira ambusta will automatically gain the synonym "Palloptera ambusta" after the swap, but shouldn't it also have "Toxonevra ambusta" and possibly "Toxoneura ambusta" listed as synonyms?

I'm happy to work on Toxonevra some time this weekend.

Posted by chrisangell 2 months ago (Flag)

Cool - yes I haven't added the names to the ones involved in the swaps. Good spot on the missing trichaeta I'll get that sorted.

Posted by matthewvosper 2 months ago (Flag)

I've added Tm. trichaeta, commited the taxon swaps to Temnosira and added synonyms to those. I'm now going to going through the species that are set to remain in Palloptera to make sure they're happy, and I think we might as well add the few that are missing there too.

EDIT: That was easy, done!

Posted by matthewvosper 2 months ago (Flag)

Okay, I've added the missing Toxonevra species and synonyms, and drafted swaps bringing longipennis, quinquemaculata, modesta, trimacula and usta from Palloptera into Toxonevra.

Posted by chrisangell 2 months ago (Flag)

Amazing, we should be just about done then!

Posted by matthewvosper 2 months ago (Flag)

Ok, I've corrected a spelling mistake in one species and added the non-obvious synonyms Temnosira reducta and Toxonevra orientana to Toxonevra orientata. I think if those remaining swaps can just be committed then we can actually close this flag!

Posted by matthewvosper 2 months ago (Flag)


Posted by chrisangell 2 months ago (Flag)

Ah, good job! Sorry I didn't help with any of the swaps, I've been a bit swamped with senior year work!

Posted by spencerpote 2 months ago (Flag)

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