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- Robber flies of Germany -
Key      Catalogue      Comparisons      [Notes]      Terminology     



 -   General
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  contents & layout
  & copyright:
  Fritz Geller-Grimm



The family Asilidae is one of the most diverse in the order Diptera. 6,854 valid species and 524 genera are described (08/2002). The oldest proof is from the Upper Jurassic (187 bis 208 Mio.).

Distribution of the genera and species

Robber flies inhabit all regions of the world except the arctic regions. The highest diversity is in the subtropical and tropical regions, but our knowledge of these fauna is insufficient and the number of new described species increases rapidly. It seems to be that robber flies prefer open areas. In some deserts they are amongst the dominant predators. Our impression of the distribution is dependent on the knowledge of species. A first assumption is possible on the subfamily level. For example: The Leptogastrinae are distributed world-wide, whereas the Ommatiinae are concentrated in the Oriental, Afrotropical and Australian regions - the Stichopogoninae in the Palaearctic region - and the Apocleinae in the Neotropics.

Distribution of some subfamilies

The diversity is quite higher in Southern Europe, around the Mediterranean. North of the Alps, the number of species is reduced by different cold phases of the Pleistocene and the climate.
The knowledge of the northern fauna is high in comparison with that of the southern fauna. In the North some taxa are still uncertain and the presence of undescribed species is probable. In contrast to that, many problems are waiting in the South and few revisions are made. One of the most significant papers is that of THEODOR (1980), who revised the fauna of Israel. His thorough and comprehensive work set a new standard in describing new taxa.
The knowledge of the distribution depends on the number of workers. The highest rate of new described taxa is found in Southern Africa, Eastern Russia and Chile during the last 30 years. The results make it clear that the research on Asilidae has just started. Therefore we need more enthusiasts for this interesting family.

Increase of described species

There have been several checklists of Asilidae published for different European countries in the last few years. Not all of them are a solid base for faunistic studies, because of the lack of thorough identification of the material on which the lists are based. Some of them are only summaries of species cited in very old literature.
Approximately 550 valid species are known to occur in Europe, from which 81 are recorded from Germany. The list presented in this CD agrees with the published checklist on most parts. The catalogues for the other countries are mainly based on literature. Because of the available distribution atlas for the German Asilidae by Danny Wolff (links), detailed information will not be offered on this CD-ROM.









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