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Increasing knowledge about the biodiversity of robber flies (Insecta: Diptera: Asilidae) based on the collection deposited at the Museum of Zoology of the University of São Paulo

Grant number: 23/17951-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2024
Effective date (End): May 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Carlos José Einicker Lamas
Grantee:Matheus Mickael Mota Soares
Host Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:22/12640-3 - Systematics, taxonomy and curation of Asiloidea (Insecta: Diptera): discovering and safeguarding the material evidence of the biodiversity, with emphasis on the families Asilidae, Bombyliidae and Mythicomyiidae, AP.BTA.R

Abstract

The asilids constitute one of the most diverse families of Diptera with more than 460 species recorded in Brazil. Its representatives are exclusively predators, both as adults and as larvae. They feed through highly specialized mouthparts that they use to pierce prey and inject saliva. Due to their ability to prey on various insects, they play an important ecological role in population control. The group is still understudied and the main works were carried out in the mid-40s to 60s, and in the late 90s, mainly covering specific descriptions of species. The Asilidae collection at the Museum of Zoology of the University of São Paulo is considered the largest and most comprehensive in Latin America, having a large number of specimens. Over the last 20 years, a significant amount of material has been incorporated into the collection, however, it remains uncatalogued and unidentified. Specific screenings of some genera revealed the existence of great potential for the discovery of new species, even with the potential for reviewing genera and also new distribution records. Therefore, the present proposal aims to identify uncatalogued specimens at the level of genus, species and morphospecies, describing the new taxa found. The results will be disseminated mainly in the form of scientific articles and presentations at scientific events in Brazil and abroad, as well as through lectures and official MZUSP profiles on social media, to inform the public in general . The study aims to improve and enrich the collection; increase knowledge about Brazilian biodiversity with the description of new species, encourage the training of human resources in Asilidae and provide information for use in future work by students and researchers from Brazilian and foreign institutions. (AU)

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