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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Antliophora
Ordo: Diptera
Subordo: Brachycera
Infraordo: Asilomorpha
Superfamilia: Empidoidea

Familia: Atelestidae
Subfamiliae (2): Atelestinae - Nemedininae
[source: Sinclair & Cumming (2006)]
Overview of genera (11-12)

Acarteroptera – Alavesia – Atelestus – Meghyperus – Nemedina – †Atelestites – †Cretodromia – †Dianafranksia – †Nemedromia – †Neoturonius – †Prolatomyia – ?†Phaetempis

[sources: Grimaldi & Cumming (1999), Catalogue of Life: 2010 Annual Checklist, Sinclair & Kirk-Spriggs (2010)]

Grimaldi, D.A. & Cumming, J.M. 1999. Brachyceran Diptera in Cretaceous ambers and Mesozoic diversification of the Eremoneura. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 239: 1–124. hdl: 2246/1583 Open access. Reference page.
Sinclair, B.J. & Cumming, J.M. 2006. The morphology, higher-level phylogeny and classification of the Empidoidea (Diptera). Zootaxa 1180: 1–172. Abstract & excerpt. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.1180.1.1. PDF A, PDF B. Reference page.
Sinclair, B.J.; Kirk-Spriggs, A.H. 2010: Alavesia Waters and Arillo–a Cretaceous-era genus discovered extant on the Brandberg Massif, Namibia (Diptera: Atelestidae). Systematic entomology, 35(2): 268–276. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3113.2009.00506.x PDF
Yang, D., Zhang, K.-Y., Yao, G. & Zhang, J.-H. 2007. World catalog of Empididae (Insecta: Diptera). China Agricultural University Press, Beijing. 599 pp. ISBN 978-7-81117-423-6 [not seen]. Reference page.

Atelestidae is a family of flies in the superfamily Empidoidea. The four genera were placed in a separate family in 1983;[1] they were formerly either in Platypezidae (which are not even particularly closely related) or considered incertae sedis. While they are doubtless the most basal of the living Empidoidea, the monophyly of the family is not fully proven.[2] 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.[3] In 2010, the genus Alavesia, previously only known from Cretaceous fossils, was found alive in Namibia,[4] subsequent species were also described from Brazil.

Atelestidae has been shown to form the sister group to the remaining members of the Empidoidea superfamily. Subfamilies include Atelestinae and Nemedininae.[5]

Right wing of Atelestus pulicarius, showing humeral crossvein (h), radial sector (Rs), costa and first and second medial vein (M1+2).[5]

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.[5]

They have a disjunct distribution, being found in both the Holarctic and southern Neotropical regions (Chile).

Based on the most recent phylogenetic studies,[5] the relationship between Atelestidae and other members of Empidoidea is as follows. The placement of Atelestidae is emphasized in bold formatting.






























Subfamily Atelestinae Hennig 1970
Acarteroptera Collin, 1933 Chile, Recent
Alavesia Waters & Arillo, 1999 Spanish amber, Albian, Burmese amber, Cenomanian Namibia, Brazil, Recent
†Atelestites Grimaldi & Cumming, 1999 Lebanese amber, Barremian
Atelestus Walker, 1837 Palearctic, Recent
†Dianafranksia Coram et al., 2000 Lulworth Formation, United Kingdom, Berriasian
†Kurnubempis Kaddumi, 2007 Jordanian amber, Albian
Meghyperus Loew, 1850 Palearctic, Nearctic, Recent
Subfamily Nemedininae Sinclair & Cumming, 2006
†Cretodromia Grimaldi & Cumming, 1999 Canadian amber, Campanian
Nemedina Chandler, 1981 Baltic amber, Eocene, Palearctic, Recent
†Nemedromia Grimaldi & Cumming, 1999 New Jersey amber, Turonian Canadian amber, Campanian
†Neoturonius Grimaldi & Cumming, 1999 New Jersey amber, Turonian
†Phaetempis Grimaldi & Cumming, 1999 Lebanese amber, Barremian
†Prolatomyia Grimaldi & Cumming, 1999 Canadian amber, Campanian


Chvála (1983)
Moulton & Wiegmann (2007)
ToL (2007)
Sinclair, Bradley J.; Kirk-Spriggs, Ashley H. (April 2010). "Alavesia Waters and Arillo-a Cretaceous-era genus discovered extant on the Brandberg Massif, Namibia (Diptera: Atelestidae)". Systematic Entomology. 35 (2): 268–276. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.2009.00506.x. S2CID 85127003.

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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