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

  • S. Bruce Archibald (a1) (a2) (a3), Christian Kehlmaier (a4) and Rolf W. Mathewes (a1)


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.


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