Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Three new tachinid flies: Ametadoria spp.

Ametadoria karolramosae
These may look like houseflies but they very much are not.  They are integral parts of the very wild tri-trophic webs that keep this place together.

Tachinid fly larvae are parasitoids and their hosts are almost exclusively insects although for many tachinid species the hosts are unknown. They may glue their eggs to their host or lay their eggs on foliage where the host larvae will eat them. Some have ovipositors with which they inject their eggs directly into the unsuspecting host’s body. The true diversity of the family Tachinidae is likely many thousands of species higher than the 10,000 currently described, making this family perhaps the most speciose family of Diptera and without question the most successful with a parasitic way of life.

The vast majority of hosts of tachinid flies are plant-feeding insects. As a result, tachinid parasitism has two major effects at the community level: a reduction of host populations, and as a consequence a reduction in feeding damage to plants which makes these flies a prime example of the many beneficial, but mostly unseen, creatures. 

All three new species (Ametadoria karolramosae, Ametadoria leticiamartinezae, and Ametadoria mauriciogurdiani) are named after members of the accounting team for the Area de Conservación Guanacaste, to honor their invaluable work.

For the experts: We describe three new species in the genus Ametadoria Townsend from Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica. All three were reared from wild-caught Zygaenidae and Lacturidae caterpillars. We provide a concise description of each species using morphology, life history and molecular data, with photographic documentation. The new species are authored and described by Fleming and Wood: Ametadoria karolramosae sp. nov., Ametadoria leticiamartinezae sp. nov., and Ametadoria mauriciogurdiani sp. nov. The following are proposed by Wood as new synonyms of Ametadoria Townsend: Adidyma Townsend syn. nov., and Abolodoria Townsend syn. nov. The following new combinations occur as a result of these new synonymies: Ametadoria abdominalis (Townsend) comb. nov., Ametadoria austrina (Coquillett) comb. nov., Ametadoria humilis (Wulp) comb. nov., Ametadoria misella (Wulp) comb. nov. Ametadoria adversa (Townsend) is proposed as a junior synonym of ​Ametadoria unispinosa Townsend, syn. nov​.

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