Owlflies are derived antlions: anchored phylogenomics supports a new phylogeny and classification of Myrmeleontidae (Neuroptera) Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 The Royal Entomological Society The first phylogenomic analysis of the antlions is presented, based on 325 genes captured using anchored hybrid enrichment. A concatenated matrix including 207 species of Myrmeleontoidea (170 Myrmeleontidae) was analysed under maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. Both Myrmeleontidae (antlions) and Ascalaphidae (owlflies) were recovered as paraphyletic with respect to each other. The majority of the subfamilies traditionally assigned to both Myrmeleontidae and Ascalaphidae were also recovered as paraphyletic. By contrast, all traditional antlion tribes were recovered as monophyletic (except Brachynemurini), but most subtribes were found to be paraphyletic. When compared with the traditional classification of Myrmeleontidae, our results do not support the current taxonomy. Therefore, based on our phylogenomic results, we propose a new classification for the antlions, which synonymizes Ascalaphidae with Myrmeleontidae and divides the family into four subfamilies (Ascalaphinae, Myrmeleontinae, Dendroleontinae and Nemoleontinae) and 17 tribes. We also highlight the most pressing issues in antlion systematics and indicate taxa that need further taxonomic and phylogenetic attention. Finally, we present a comprehensive table placing all extant genera of antlions and owlflies in our new proposed classification, including details on the number of species, distribution and notes on the likely monophyly of each genus.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 53.95

author list (cited authors)

  • Machado, R., Gillung, J. P., Winterton, S. L., Garzon-Orduna, I. J., Lemmon, A. R., Lemmon, E. M., & Oswald, J. D.

citation count

  • 41

complete list of authors

  • Machado, Renato JP||Gillung, Jessica P||Winterton, Shaun L||Garzon-Orduna, Ivonne J||Lemmon, Alan R||Lemmon, Emily Moriarty||Oswald, John D

publication date

  • April 2019