Revision and phylogenetic classification of Acanthiophilus and Tephritomyia (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Acanthiophilus and Tephritomyia are two relatively small genera of the family Tephritidae. Both are found primarily in Africa, and both are represented in Israel by one species each (A. helianthi and T. lauta). The larvae of these genera develop in various plants of the subfamily Carduoideae (thistles), with at least one species (A. helianthi) being an agricultural pest of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius).
No comprehensive taxonomic work was ever carried out on these genera, and their phylogeny is currently unknown. The representation of this group in the National Collection of Insects at Tel-Aviv University is the worlds' largest and most diverse, including most described, as well as several undescribed, species. We presume that the two genera comprise a monophyletic group, and propose to conduct a cladistic and molecular phylogenetic analysis of these genera, including preparation of detailed descriptions and illustrations and a reconstruction of a phylogenetic tree. In addition, we will attempt to uncover the biology and ecology of these genera by collecting infested plants and rearing the flies in the laboratory.