Molecular phylogeny of the forensically important genus Cochliomyia (Diptera: Calliphoridae)

Sohath Yusseff-Vanegas*, Ingi Agnarsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Cochliomyia Townsend includes several abundant and one of the most broadly distributed, blow flies in the Americas, and is of significant economic and forensic importance. For decades, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) and C. macellaria (Fabricius) have received attention as livestock parasites and primary indicator species in forensic entomology. However, C. minima Shannon and C. aldrichi Del Ponte have only been subject to basic taxonomy and faunistic studies. Here we present the first complete phylogeny of Cochliomyia including numerous specimens per species, collected from 13 localities in the Caribbean. Four genes, the mitochondrial COI and the nuclear EF-1α, 28S rRNA, and ITS2, were analyzed. While we found some differences among gene trees, a concatenated gene matrix recovered a robustly supported monophyletic Cochliomyia with Compsomyiops Townsend as its sister group and recovered the monophyly of C. hominivorax, C. macellaria and C. minima. Our results support a close relationship between C. minima and C. aldrichi. However, we found C. aldrichi containing C. minima, indicating recent speciation, or issues with the taxonomy of the group. We provide basic information on habitat preference, distribution and feeding habits of C. minima and C. aldrichi that will be useful for future forensic studies in the Caribbean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
Issue number609
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this work comes from National Science Foundation (DEB-1314749 and DEB-1050253) to I. Agnarsson and G. Binford. Development of this project was further supported by a UVM APLE grant to Omar Neyra. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 S. Yusseff-Vanegas and I. Agnarsson.

Other keywords

  • Caribbean region
  • Cochliomyia aldrichi
  • Cochliomyia hominivorax
  • Cochliomyia macellaria
  • Cochliomyia minima
  • Forensic entomology
  • Habitat preferences


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