The group of flies that I work on is called the Phoridae. They’re one of the most diverse, yet poorly known groups of flies in the world. They have some crazy body forms and crazy life histories, some of which I’ll share in this blog.
This is a amazingly weird, probable new genus of phorid fly collected by a Malaise trap in Thailand. Mike Sharkey, from the University of Kentucky, and I had a 3 year grant from the National Science Foundation to inventory insects in Thai national parks. Among the material collected, as you might imagine, are many new species and new genera, since very little collecting this type has been done in Southeast Asia.
Look at the scutellum on this thing- it’s almost as big as the scutum! The wings look like those of some phorids that enter termite nests and tear off their wings, since they’ll be in the nest for the rest of their lives. The lack of large bristles, and the general shape of the body also implies that this fly lives in social insect nests. Unfortunately, we only have one specimen. It would be really interesting to see the female of this species!