Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Don Cipollini (Committee Member), Jeff Peters (Committee Member), John Stireman (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The parasitoid flies of the Tachinidae family are an important and diverse (>10,000 species) lineage of insects. However, tachinids are not well studied partially due to their confusing classification and taxonomy. DNA sequences were obtained from twenty tribal representatives of Tachinidae, along with eight outgroups in order to phylogenetically reconstruct the superfamilial, subfamilial and tribal relationships of Tachinidae. Seven gene regions of six genes (18S, 28S, COI, CAD, Ef1a, and TPI) were sequenced for each taxon (6214 bp total). Both maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods were used to infer phylogenies. The Sarcophagidae and Oestridae were usually reconstructed as monophyletic. Calliphoridae was paraphyletic with Pollenia typically being sister to Tachinidae. The Rhinophoridae were found embedded within an otherwise monophyletic Tachinidae, a unique finding. Subfamilies of Tachinidae were generally related in a (Tachininae + Exoristinae) + (Phasiinae (Dexiinae)) manner. The problematic Tachininae genera Strongygaster (Strongygasterini) and Ceracia (Acemyini) were placed into their original subfamilies with high confidence. These findings led to a new hypothesis about a slow evolution into the parasitoid habit.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biological Sciences

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Biology Commons