Classification And Phylogeny

The Ephemeroptera are numerically a small order of insects, with about 3000 described species within more than 375 genera and 37 families (Table I). About 350 species occur in Europe, and 670 in North America. During the 1990s, partly as a result of the discovery of new taxa, especially in tropical areas, where the mayfly fauna is still poorly known, 10 new families, 75 genera, and more than 500 species were added. The expansion of the order is also the result of several phylogenetic analyses that led to a narrower concept of supraspecific taxa. As a consequence of these important changes, there is no real consensus about the higher classification of Ephemeroptera (superfamilies, suborders, or infraorders). Based on the structure of the nymphal wing pads, mayflies were traditionally divided into two suborders, Pannota (with fused wing pads) and Schistonota (with free wing pads). That the latter suborder is paraphyletic is now well documented, but there is no agreement about the composition and even the names of these higher taxa.

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