Review of Toxomerus Macquart, 1855 in Texas (Diptera: Syrphidae)



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Toxomerus (Diptera: Syrphidae) belongs to the family Syrphidae that is commonly known as flower flies or hover flies. These flies are ecologically beneficial in two forms of potential agricultural protection: biocontrol and pollination. As larvae, the majority of species are known to predate on an agricultural pest, aphids (Hemiptera), which in large populations are detrimental to plants and crops. As adults, most syrphids can be considered potential pollinators since they continuously need nectar and pollen to sustain energy to fly, search for a mate, reproduce, and lay eggs. Even though dipterans are found in all continents and in almost all habitats, the Syrphidae of North America, south of Canada, and north of Mexico, are understudied. This study evaluated the species richness, distribution, and morphology of Toxomerus species found in the state of Texas, United States. Specimens and distributional data were collected from museums, personal collections, and the field, then geographically databased and morphologically evaluated. There are nine species of Toxomerus known from Texas. No new species were discovered, but descriptions were updated and a key for Toxomerus in Texas was produced. This key provides a baseline for the taxonomy of Toxomerus in Texas allowing more specimens to be identified in museums and future collections. This has the potential to lead to discoveries in ecological and evolutionary history of this understudied genus.



Biology, Entomology