Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny 70(2): 119-129, doi: 10.3897/asp.70.e31758
The phylogeny of the Neuropterida: long lasting and current controversies and challenges (Insecta: Endopterygota)
expand article infoUlrike Aspöck§, Elisabeth Haring, Horst Aspöck
‡ University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria§ Natural History Museum Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Open Access
Despite numerous efforts to establish a sound phylogeny of Neuropterida and to trace their position within the tree of Endopterygota these questions up to now still appear far from being solved. The evidence for the sister group relationships among the three orders of Neuropterida is contradictory (i.e., Raphidioptera as sister group of Megaloptera + Neuroptera versus Neuroptera as sister group of Megaloptera + Raphidioptera) and recently even the monophyly of Megaloptera was challenged. Also the phylogenetic relationships among neuropteran families deduced from various studies differ basically in all aspects concerning the number and composition of suborders as well as the basal dichotomies. The morphology based division of Neuroptera into the three suborders Nevrorthiformia, Myrmeleontiformia and Hemerobiiformia with the latter two being sister groups is not recovered by molecular but also some morphology based analyses – as all of them lack monophyletic Hemerobiiformia. Possible methodological problems contributing to this lack of unambiguous resolution of the phylogeny of Neuropterida are sequence saturation, lack of information in DNA marker sequences, incomplete taxon sampling and data matrices, as well as – concerning morphological characters – convergence and interpretation of ambiguous character polarity. The phylogenetic relationships of Neuropterida and their position within Endopterygota are of interest with respect to the reconstruction of character evolution and the evolution of life styles of the larvae (terrestrial in Raphidioptera, aquatic in Megaloptera and in two families of Neuroptera).
Neuropterida, Raphidioptera, Megaloptera, Neuroptera, Nevrorthiformia, Hemerobiiformia, Myrmeleontiformia, phylogeny, systematics.