Article: Eocene records of bee flies (Insecta, Diptera, Bombyliidae, Comptosia): their palaeobiogeographic implications and remarks on the evolutionary history of bombyliids
The first fossil records of Holarctic representatives of the genus Comptosia Macquart, 1840 from the middle Eocene Messel Pit, Germany, and the upper Eocene of Florissant, USA, are reported. The fossil from Messel, Comptosia pria sp. nov., is represented by a well-preserved wing, displaying characteristic wing venation, remains of the second wing and elements of the thorax. The Florissant fossil, C. miranda comb. nov., is preserved almost
completely with both wings and most parts of the body visible. Extant members of the genus Comptosia are currently found only in Australia, and close relatives are known from southern South America. Previously this group of genera has been thought to be of Gondwanan origin, but these Eocene fossil representatives of Comptosia from the Holarctic region argue against this interpretation, and suggest that Comptosia and its relatives were more widespread in both Northern and Southern hemispheres during the Palaeogene. The fossil record of bee flies suggests a major radiation of bombyliids in the late Cretaceous or early Cenozoic. This assumption is supported by the comparatively young geological age of many bombyliid host taxa. A key factor driving the specialization of many bombyliid larvae on ground-dwelling hosts may have been avoidance of competition with tachinid flies and parasitic hymenopterans.