The Australian species of parasitic flies of the family Tachinidae are treated in a study which includes aspects of their comparative morphology, biology and systematics. Morphological and biological studies are integrated in a comparative examination of the male and female postabdomen which produced data on both structure and reproductive habit. This is supplemented by a brief study of representative life cycles. Taxonomic revisions of selected economically-significant genera complete this investigation, which is seen as a necessary prerequisite to the possible use of these flies in integrated pest management programmes.
The comparative morphology of the male and female postabdomen of the Australian Tachinidae was studied in a survey which included 132 species of representative genera from all main subfamilies. The value of the structure of the postabdomen for the higher classification of the family has been ascertained and new information gained which has allowed a better understanding of the correct taxonomic position of some problem groups of tachinids. Characters of the postabdomen show increasing specialization proceeding from the Phasiinae to the Goniinae. It is possible to recognize suites of characters for each sex to define each subfamily, but this is not possible at tribal or generic levels in most groups. The male terminalia are useful at specific level. The survey also allowed the discovery of, or confirmed, the reproductive habit of the included genera and provided information on the first instar larva of 51 species, many of which larvae are described below for the first time. Complete life histories are described for Anagonia scutellata (Malloch), Paradrino taevicula (Mesnil), Sturmia convergens (Wiedemann) and Winthemia neowinthemoides (Townsend). Characters of puparia which may have taxonomic value are discussed and illustrated.
Adult morphological characters of taxonomic value are explained. Tachinids are poor subjects for classical zoogeographical studies, but the origins of the Australian fauna are briefly explored.
The genera Cylindromyia Meigen, Gerocyptera Townsend, Chaetophthalmus Brauer & Bergenstamm, Linnaemya Robineau-Desvoidy, Exorista Meigen and Carcelia Robineau-Desvoidy are revised. Identification keys and descriptions or redescriptions are provided for all genera and species recognized. The synonymy of Apalpus Malloch with Chaetophthalmus is confirmed. The following are synonymized: Cylindromyia aterrima Paramonov with Gerooyptera tristis Bigot, C. dayi Paramonov with C. tricolor Malloch, C. howeana Paramonov with G. fenestrata (Paramonov), Chaetophthalmus biseriatus Malloch with Ch. dorsalis (Malloch), Ch. nudistylum (Macquart) and Ch. pallipes (Curran) with Ch. bicolor (Macquart), Exorista mungomeryi (Baranov) with E. aurriei (Curran), Carcelia noctuae (Curran) with Ca. illota (Curran) and Saralba bancrofti Paramonov with S. ocypteroides Walker. The previously described species C. fenestrata Paramonov and Trichoprosopa divisa Walker are transferred to Gerooyptera. Amphitropesa Townsend is transferred from the Tachininae to the Proseninae and a similar move may also be appropriate for Apatemyia Macquart. Neximyia Crosskey and the tribe Parerigonini are almost certainly incorrectly placed in the Tachininae but an alternative placement cannot be suggested at present. However, there are striking resemblances between the female postabdomen of the Parerigonini examined and that of the Cylindromyiini (Phasiinae). The multifarous genera of the Sturmiini/Eryciini tribal complex are characterized according to their reproductive habit, but a taxonomic reclassification has not been possible. Heterometopia Macquart is confirmed as a member of the Proseninae and the Palpostomatini, Myiotrixini, Ormiini and Glaurocarini all appear to be best left in the Tachininae. C. bigoti is proposed as a replacement name for the preoccupied C. bicolor Bigot.
Thirty three new species are described: Cylindromyia ampla, C. aurigans, C. cuspidata, C. expansa, C. hamata, C. pilosa, Chaetophthalmus alienus, Ch. collessi, Ch. flavocaudus, Ch. flavopilosus, Ch. formosioides, Ch. fulterae, Ch. innotatus, Ch. longimentum, Ch. occlusus, Ch. setosus, Ch. tonnoiri, Linnaemya metocha, L. saroophagoides, L. setulosa, Exovista novvisi, Carcelia actaeosa, Ca. bumsi, Ca. candens, Ca. capyrosa, Ca. flavitibia, Ca. hackeri, Ca. kindaitchin, Ca. paluma, Ca. pesitra, Ca. prominens, Ca. talwurrapin and Ca. vicinalis.
The following genera and species are recorded for the first time or confirmed from Australia: Aneogmena Brauer & Bergenstamm, Argyrophytax nigrotibialis Baranov and proclinata Crosskey, Argyrothelaira froggattii Townsend, Carcelia illota (Curran) and malayana Baranov, Chaetoria spinicosta (Thomson), Dolichocolon Brauer & Bergenstamm, Exorista quadriseta (Baranov), Homotrixa Villeneuve, Linnaemya vulpinoides (Baranov), Megistogastropsis Townsend, Pales Robineau-Desvoidy, Phorinia Robineau-Desvoidy, Thecocarcelia Townsend also the subgenera Carceliella Baranov, Catacarcelia Townsend and Euryclea Robineau-Desvoidy of Carcelia. The subfamily Dufouriinae is now known from Australia but no species are described. Records of Stomatomyia acuminata Rondani from Australia are regarded as incorrect since all specimens examined belong to S. tricholygoides Bezzi. Two new species of Chaetophthalmus from Papua New Guinea are the first to be described for this genus from outside Australia.
A list of tachinid hosts not included in previously published information is provided.
This study has resulted in the following publication: Cantrell, B.K., 1983. Revision of the Australian species of Euthera Loew (Diptera: Tachinidae). J. Aust. ent. Soc. 22: 53-59 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-6055.1983.tb01840.x). A copy is bound with this thesis. Manuscripts derived from the taxonomic treatment below of the Phasiinae and Linnaemyini have been accepted for publication in Aust. J. Zool.