Washington: Houseflies have more than 152,000 cousins that have been described and named, and least that many more that haven`t yet been discovered and described, a new research has revealed.
An Iowa State University researcher is one of a team of scientists who have recently researched the fly family tree - one of the most complicated in the animal world.
"It really isn`t a tree, it`s sort of a bush," said Gregory Courtney, professor of entomology, explaining the complex relationships between fly relatives.
"Because of this, and because the history of flies extends more than 260 million years, it`s difficult figuring out the relationships between this branch and that branch,” he said.
Based on the research of Courtney and his colleagues, at least three episodes of rapid radiation have occurred in the history of flies.
“One of the nice results of this research was confirmation that a number of episodic radiations may have occurred. That explains some of the difficulty we’ve had in resolving relationships of different types of flies,” Courtney added.
The study was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.