In Costa Rica, II

We have had quite a bit of rain so far, nothing you wouldn’t expect in a rain forest, but it makes collecting an episodic affair. The light traps run every night, however, even in the pounding rain. So far (after one night), they have turned up two interesting flies.

The first is an acalyptrate, perhaps a lauxaniid, with interesting lines of color along the wing veins. I don’t know how unusual this is, since I don’t work on lauxaniids, but I have never seen anything like this before.

bad photo of a lauxaniid in alcohol

The second interesting thing is a female bee killing fly, genus Melaloncha, from a group that I have worked extensively on. Bee killing flies are parasitoids that attack stingless bees, introduced honey bees, and bumble bees. They are found throughout the Neotropical Region, except for Chile, and attack their hosts either at flowers or at colony entrances. I worked for years on these flies, and have described many new species. In order to collect them we had to learn a lot about their natural history, the most are active only in bright sun in the warmest parts of the day. But there is also a published record from Panama of them attacking nocturnal sweat bee.

Melaloncha

Could this be one of those nocturnal bee killers? Perhaps, and this is one of the great things about using a “new” collecting technique in the tropics-finding different things even in groups you have worked on for many years.

4 comments to In Costa Rica, II

  1. Russell Cox says:

    Very cool. I look forward to seeing photos of the specimen when it is pinned; it appears to have the typical Lauxanid preapical dorsal tibiae bristles and the unbroken costa

  2. I agree completely about the potential to collect great new things with blacklights. Once past the clouds of moths and beetles there are sometimes fantastic little acalyptrates lurking around. We’ve had great success in the right locations, and in the right weather, in collecting “rare” chloropids and other acalyptrate families at blacklights. That being said, one of my first experiences with “rare” nocturnal acalyptrates was one night at a campground in Ontario many years ago. The coleman lantern on our picnic table was completely surrounded with pallopterid flies. Not a terribly common sight most of the time but easy pickings that night.

  3. Hi, I am having trouble identifying one fly I photographed in Osa Peninsula. Would anyone care to try?

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