Molecular phylogeny and host use evolution of the genus Exorista Meigen (Diptera: Tachinidae)

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Members of the genus Exorista are parasitoids of a diverse array of insect hosts in the orders, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Mantodea and Orthoptera. Phylogenetic relationships among subgenera and species of Exorista were inferred using four nuclear (Tpi, white, 18S and 28S) and four mitochondrial DNA (16S, 12S, ND5 and CO1) genes in maximum parsimony (MP), maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) analyses. Separate trees based on different sets of genes (mt DNA, nuclear, ribosomal, etc.) were compared and found to be nearly concordant. According to the molecular tree generated from the concatenated sequence data, the genus Exorista is paraphyletic. The phylogenetic analyses indicate the existence of two major clades of Exorista, including two genera Parasetigena and Phorocera. Morphological traits supporting clades indicated by molecular analyses within this genus are evaluated. Evolutionary patterns of the host use and host shifts are examined by optimizing host information using maximum likelihood on the molecular phylogeny. The ancestral host group of the tribe Exoristini (excluding Ctenophorinia and Phorinia) appears to be the order Lepidoptera, although hosts of some species are unknown. A major host shift to the Hymenoptera occurred in the clade of subgenus Adenia, and the ancestral state of subgenus Spixomyia is equivocal because there is little information available on the hosts in members of a subclade of this group (subclade A: Exorista hyalipennis group).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-411
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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