The genus Hirtodrosophila was initially described as a subgenus in the genus Drosophila (Sturtevant, 1942). In his revision of the family, Grimaldi (1990) formally elevated this to generic rank. Throckmorton (1975) considered this genus a member of the Old World Hirtodrosophila radiation a group that includes, in addition to the genus Hirtodrosophila and its relatives in the genus Mycodrosophila, the Hawaiian Drosophila and the genus Scaptomyza. Morphological (Grimaldi, 1990) and molecular (DeSalle, 1992) analyses suggest that this group is actually quite distinct from the Drosophila and the Hawaiian Drosophilidae, and we treat it as distinct in our discussion.

Hirtodrosophila is a cosmopolitan genus, but the highest diversity is concentrated in the tropics. The majority of species in this genus are mycophagous (Grimaldi, 1987). The Neotropics, for example, most likely contain over one hundred undescribed species. Phylogenetic relationships in this group are not well understood, but Grimaldi (1987) places these close to the genera Zygothrica and Mycodrosophila,  a relationship that is also supported by some molecular data.

(excerpted from Markow and O’Grady, 2006, Chapter 1)


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