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Early Eocene big headed flies (Diptera: Pipunculidae) from the Okanagan Highlands, western North America

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2014

S. Bruce Archibald*
Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Christian Kehlmaier
c/o Senckenberg, Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, Museum of Zoology, Dresden, Germany
Rolf W. Mathewes
Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
1Corresponding author: (e-mail:


Three new species of Pipunculidae (Diptera) are described (one named), from the early Eocene (Ypresian) Okanagan Highlands of British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, United States of America: Metanephrocerus belgardeaenew species from Republic, Washington; and Pipunculidae species A and Pipunculinae species A from Quilchena, British Columbia. We re-describe the late Eocene (Priabonian) species Protonephrocerus florissantius Carpenter and Hull from Florissant, Colorado, United States of America, and assign it to a new genus proposed here, Priabonanew genus. Pipunculinae species A is the oldest known member of the family whose wing lacks a separated M2 vein; previously this had been known in species only as old as Miocene Dominican amber. This is a presumably derived character state that is predominant in modern species. Molecular analysis indicates an origin of the Pipunculidae in the Maastrichtian; the morphological and taxonomic diversity seen here in the Ypresian is consistent with an early radiation of the family. This is concordant with the radiation of Auchenorrhyncha, upon which they mostly prey, which is in turn associated with the early Paleogene diversification of angiosperm-dominated forests recovering from the K-Pg extinction event.


Nous décrivons trois nouvelles espèces de Pipunculidae (Diptera), dont une est nommée, de l’éocène inférieur (yprésien) des terres hautes de l'Okanagan en Colombie-Britannique, Canada, et de l’état de Washington, États-Unis d'Amérique: Metanephrocerus belgardeaenouvelle espèce de Republic, Washington et Pipunculidae espèce A et Pipunculinae espèce A de Quilchena, Colombie-Britannique. Nous décrivons de nouveau l'espèce Protonephrocerus florissantius Carpenter et Hull provenant de l’éocène supérieur (priabonien) de Florissant, Colorado, États-Unis d'Amérique, et la plaçons dans le nouveau genre Priabonanouveau genre que nous proposons ici. Pipunculinae espèce A est le membre connu le plus ancien de la famille dont l'aile ne possède pas de nervure M2 séparée; cette caractéristique n'avait pas jusqu’à présent été signalée plus antérieurement que chez des espèces de l'ambre du miocène de la République Dominicaine. Il s'agit vraisemblablement de l’état dérivé du caractère qui prédomine chez les espèces modernes. Une analyse moléculaire situe l'origine des Pipunculidae au maastrichtien; la diversité morphologique et taxonomique observée ici dans l'yprésien s'accorde bien avec une radiation hâtive de la famille. Cela est aussi en accord avec la radiation des Auchenorrhyncha, dont la plupart des Pipunculidae se nourrissent, et qui est elle-même associée à la diversification au paléogène inférieur des forêts dominées par les angiospermes qui se remettent de l'extinction K-Pg.

Biodiversity & Evolution
Copyright © Entomological Society of Canada 2014 

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