Atelestidae is a family of true flies in the superfamily Empidoidea. The four genera were placed in a separate family in 1983; they were formerly either in Platypezidae (which are not even particularly closely related) or considered incertae cedis. While they are doubtless the most basal of the living Empidoidea, the monophyly of the family is not fully proven. The genus Nemedina seems to represent a most ancient lineage among the entire superfamily, while Meghyperus is probably not monophyletic in its present delimitation, and it is liable to be split up eventually, with some species being placed elsewhere.
Atelestidae are small (2–3 mm) greyish-dusted flies. They are quite similar to Empididae and Ragadidae as all three families have a symmetrical male terminalia without rotation, and the origin of vein Rs (radial sector) is at a distance from humeral crossvein (h) as long or longer than length of h. However, it is distinguished from Ragadidae by a costa ending at or near the first and second medial vein (M1+2), and from Empididae by having the prosternum separated from proepisternum.
Based on the most recent phylogenetic studies, the relationship between Atelestidae and other members of Empidoidea is as follows. The placement of Atelestidae is emphasized in bold formatting.
- Chvála (1983)
- Moulton & Wiegmann (2007)
- ToL (2007)
- Wahlberg & Johanson (2018)
- Chvála, M. (1983): The Empidoidea (Diptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. II. General Part. The families Hybotidae, Atelestidae and Microphoridae. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 12: 1–279.
- Moulton, J. K. & Wiegmann, B. M. (2007): The phylogenetic relationships of flies in the superfamily Empidoidea (Insecta: Diptera). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43(3): 701-713. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.02.029 PMID 17468014 (HTML abstract)
- Tree of Life Web Project (ToL) (2007): Atelestidae. Version of 2007-NOV-29. Retrieved 2008-JUL-30.
- Wahlberg, E. & Johanson, K.A. (2018): Molecular phylogenetics reveals novel relationships within Empidoidea (Diptera). Systematic Entomology 43(4): 619–636. doi:10.1111/syen.12297
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