Dear asilid colleagues with e-mail addresses known to me, I would welcome comment on issues of importance to a new research project I have embarked upon.
I would like to review the Afrotropical species currently placed in two very closely related genera - Stenopogon and Rhacholaemus. As you all know, Stenopogon is thought to be almost cosmopolitan in its distribution.
Palaearctic (1988 catalogue): 75 species (inc. subspecies) + 5 doubtful species.
Nearctic (1965 catalogue): 44 species
Oriental (1975 catalogue): 10 species
Neotropical (1970 catalogue) 25 + 2 species (& Ospriocerus 15 species)
Afrotropical (1980 catalogue): 8 species
The Neotropical catalogue considers that Stenopogon has two subgenera S. Stenopogon and S. Scleropogon. Wood's key in the Nearctic Manual indicates three subgenera S. Stenopogon, S. Scleropogon and S. Ospiocerus. I have foreign examples (from N America and Europe) of all three subgenera and find Wood's key works pretty well. This makes me wonder why they are subgenera and not full genera as they were originally ?
My question to you is: What do you think the best arrangement should be?
To make my project more interesting I find :
A quick survey of the Afrotropical material in my possession suggests that the southern African species do not belong to S. Stenopogon - as they all have hypopleural setae (like Scleropogon and Ospriocerus). What significance do you attach to this kind of character ? Coupled with antennal characters (see Wood's key) it seems there may be good grounds for generic status for these so-called subgenera. I have not checked the only described northern hemisphere example of an Afrotropical 'Stenopogon' as yet (ie. arabicus from S Yemen), but as I have undescribed material from East Africa which appears to belong to true Stenopogon there is a chance that there are at least a few genuine Stenopogon species in the afrotropics. The southern African species appear to be a mixed bag and I strongly suspect that I am dealing with more than one genus - time will tell.
Your input would be interesting and most welcome - please direct me to anyone else who may be prepared to offer an opinion (I would like their e-mail addresses please !).