Molecular phylogeny and evolution of world Tachinidae (Diptera)
Stireman, J. O., P. Cerretti, J. E. O'Hara, J. D. Blaschke, and J. K. Moulton.  2018.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.  (in press)

We reconstructed phylogenetic relationships within the diverse parasitoid fly family Tachinidae using four nuclear loci (7800 bp) and including an exceptionally large sample of more than 500 taxa from around the world. The position of the earthworm-parasitizing Polleniinae (Calliphoridae s.l.) as sister to Tachinidae is strongly supported. Our analyses recovered each of the four tachinid subfamilies and most recognized tribes, with some important exceptions in the Dexiinae and Tachininae. Although most nodes are well-supported, relationships within several lineages that appear to have undergone rapid episodes of diversification (basal Dexiinae and Tachininae, Blondeliini) were poorly resolved. Reconstruction of host use evolution generally supports the hypothesis that the ancestral host of tachinids was likely a beetle and host shifts to caterpillars may coincide with accelerated diversification. Our reconstructions of reproductive strategy were inconsistent, however it appears most likely that ancestral tachinids possessed unincubated, thick-shelled eggs from which incubated eggs evolved repeatedly, potentially expanding available host niches. These results provide an extensive foundation for understanding the phylogeny and evolution of this important and diverse family of parasitoid insects. We hope it will serve as a framework to be used in concert with morphology and other sources of evidence to revise the higher taxonomic classification of Tachinidae and further explore their evolutionary history and diversification.