The Mesozoic family Archizelmiridae (Diptera: Insecta)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2003
Authors:Grimaldi, D., Amorim, Dde Sousa, Blagoderov V.A.
Journal:Journal of Paleontology
Keywords:Archimelzira ( Nematocera ) : Gen nov, Archimelzira americana ( Nematocera ) : Sp nov, Archizelmira Rohdendorf 1962, CRETACEOUS, Described from amber, New Jersey, Of family Archizelmiridae, p. 373, Type species Archimelzira americana

A nematocerous fly family known previously only from one species and specimen from the Upper Jurassic of Karatau, Kazakhstan, Archizelmiridae is expanded here to include additional records preserved as compression fossils and ones in amber. The compressions are from the Upper Jurassic of Shar-Teg, Mongolia and Lower Cretaceous of Baissa, Transbaikal, with a new species, Archizelmira baissa, from Baissa. Particularly significant are three finely preserved new species and genera in ambers from the Cretaceous Period: Zelmiarcha lebanensis (Lebanon: Lower Aptian), Archimelzira americana (New Jersey: Turonian), and Burmazelmira aristica (Burma [Myanmar]: mid-Cretaceous). The latter two species interestingly possess stylate antennae, those of Burmazelmira being the only aristate antennae in the order Diptera outside the suborder Brachycera. A cladogram is presented for the relationships among archizelmirid species, cladistic rank of which correlates with stratigraphic age. Transformation series of the antennal flagellum in Archizelmiridae corresponds with one recently hypothesized for the Brachycera, wherein the style and arista are derived from the apical flagellomere(s). The family appears to be a member of the extant group Sciaroidea, which includes fungus gnats and gall midges, though precise relationships remain unclear.

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