Tech UPTechnologyThe flies already have their own

The flies already have their own

moscaAn international team of researchers has mappedthe most complete map of the evolutionary history of flies, providing an ideal framework for comparative studies of these ubiquitous insects. They call itthe “periodic table of flies”.

The research, published in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), covers important gaps in the 260 million year history of thedipterans, a term of Greek origin that means “two wings” and engulfs flies, mosquitoes and horseflies, among other insects. The information obtained from this “family portrait” could have important repercussions on human health and the environment, since there are flies that act as vectors of deadly diseases such as malaria, pest flies and pest control flies in agriculture, pollinating flies such as those that pollinate cocoa flowers, etc. In addition, as Brian Wiegmann, professor at North Carolina State University (USA) and responsible for the study, explains, “flies have a long history of evolutionary success in all types of environments.” “For example, there are fly larvae that live in oil, in hot springs, in the gills of crabs and inside bee hives,” he lists.

152,000 species of flies

Using the most comprehensive collection of data gathered so far onthe genetics and anatomy of flies, researchers have discovered that the oldest species still alive are beings with long legs and large wings that grow in mountain waters that flow at high speed. That indicates that “the history of flies began in humid environments“Wiegmann points out. On the other hand, the study reveals that flies fundamentally diversified in three major episodes, 220, 180 and 65 million years ago. And it shows the number of times their lifestyles changed: for example, there are12 episodes in the history of flies in which they began to feed on blood, and 18 times when, ironically,they lost their wings.

In addition, as a result of research, scientists have discovered thatthe closest relatives of Drosophila, the fruit fly on which many key scientific discoveries are based, are two rare parasites: the so-called bee louse (Braula coeca), a wingless fly that parasitizes the queen bee, and insects of the genusCryptochetidae, flies used as biological pesticides.

All over the planet there are152,000 speciesknown fliesand “they do so many different things that until now it was a difficult puzzle for scientists,” adds Wiegmann, who hopes that the new tree of life of these insects will continue to hold interesting surprises.

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