Sunday 23 October 2016

Thevenetimyia spinosavus: A new species of Bee Fly from Madagascar.

Madagascar is considered to be a biodiversity hotspot, with many plants and animals recorded there that are not known from any other location. One of the groups that has remarkably high diversity on the island are the True Flies, Diptera, with the island thought to be home to about three times as many Fly species as the entire of Africa. Despite this high diversity the Flies of Madagascar are not well studied, with some groups thought likely to show high diversity on the island hardly recorded at all; for example only seventeen species of Bee Fly have been recorded on Madagascar, out of a global total of about 4700 described species.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 12 October 2016, Natalia Maass of the University of Eastern Kentucky, Zachary Larmore and Mattew Bertone of the North Carolina State University and Michelle Trautwein of the California Academy of Sciences, describe a new species of Bee Fly from southern Madagascar.

The new species is placed in the genus Thevenetimyia, and given the specific name spinosavus, meaning 'spiny grandfather' a reference to the spines present on the Fly's scutum and scutellum and the white hairs on its body, which give it a 'granfatherly' appearance. The species is described from a single male specimen collected in the Zombiste National Park in southern Madagascar by Mike Irwin and Rasolondalao Harin’Hala in October 2002.

Thevenetimyia spinosavus, lateral view. Maass et al. (2016).

Thevenetimyia spinosavus is the first species of Thevenetimyia known from Madagascar, and only a single species is known from Africa, Thevenetimyia quedenfeldti from the Magreb Region of northwest Africa (Mauritania, Algeria, and Tunisia), with the majority of known species coming from the pine and chaparral belt of western North America.

See also... Bee Flies from the Dominican Republic and North America.                                     Bee Flies, Bombyliidae, are True Flies, Diptera, specialized for feeding on pollen and nectar, many of which have evolved long proboscises for nectar feeding. Many adult Bee Flies resemble Bees...

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