Tuesday 5 March 2013

Two new species of Corpse Fly from Vietnam.

Corpse Flies (Phoridae) are small Flies resembling Fruit Flies but with humped backs. They get their name from the fact that some species lay their eggs on human corpses, and their ability to go through several generations within sealed coffins, an ability that makes them invaluable to forensic entomologists (scientists who use the insects colonizing corpses and other evidence to establish a time scale). Other species incubate on a range of decaying organic material, including animals, plants and fungi. A few are parasitoids, with the young growing inside the bodies of Ants or Bees. They are sometimes known as scuttle flies, due to their tendency to run, rather than fly, away from perceived threats.

In a paper published in The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology on 29 February 2012, Gábor Lengyel and László Papp of the Department of Zoology at the Hungarian Natural History Museum describe two new species of Corpse Fly from Vietnam.

The first new species is placed in the genus Abaristophora and given the specific name hirticornis, referring to the hairy antennae the species possesses. The species is described from a single male specimen found in a gorge at the edge of a forest in Hoa Binh Province. It is a 1.3 mm Fly with a brown head and body and yellowish legs.

Abaristophora hirticornis. Male specimen. Scale bar is 0.5 mm. Lengyel & Papp (2012).

The second new species described is placed in the genus Postoptica and given the specific name continetalis, meaning 'from a continent' (Asia); the only previously described species in the genus coming from the island of Sulawesi. The species is described from two male specimens, one from the same location as Abaristophora hirticornis, the other from the Ba Bể National Park in Bắc Kạn Province. Postoptica continetalis is a 4.8 mm dark brown Fly with reduced wing venation and eyes that almost meet.

Postoptica continetalis. Male specimen. Scale bar is 1.0 mm. Lengyel & Papp (2012).

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