New flies in town

asteiid drawer

asteiid drawer

The “new” collection of flies from Utah State University has arrived, and what a collection it is! The number of specimens and some of the cool species among the material surpasses my wildest dreams. Of course, we gave up a great collection to obtain this material, as documented in my previous blog (“Fly Specialization at the LACM”), but these new Diptera holdings are mesmerizing to me.

For example, in an earlier blog I wrote about finding the unusual family Asteiidae here on the Museum grounds. The supply was only our second specimens in the entire collection, yet look at the holdings from Utah State University! Half the tightly packed drawer of them-I guess they are not so rare after all.

tons of tachinids

tons of tachinids

More superlatives: seven drawers jammed with unsorted fungus gnats. Lots of tachinids (parasitic flies): about 40 unsorted drawers of them!

There was even a family new to our collection- the southeast Asian Nothybiidae. They look like a school of minnows heading upstream in the unit tray.

school of nothybiids

school of nothybiids

That’s the thing about this collection: most of it is unsorted and therefore full of potential for new species. As an example, amongst the phorids was the first-ever specimen of the genus Cyrtophorina from Central America, a new species of the previously well-known genus Anevrina from Mexico, and a few things that are just weird and unidentifiable to me at this time.

To be sure, this is a collection that only a dipterist would love (and some people I show these photos to shudder in dismay), but part of the incentive for doing this exchange was to stimulate interest in the LACM fly holdings. Hopefully, this brief report will help do so,

7 comments to New flies in town

  1. At the very least, your new collection will keep you out of mischief for a while. :-) And don’t be dismayed at the shuddering people. They all laughed at Christopher Columbus – albeit that’s according to George Gershwin. Congrats and enjoy.

  2. Chris Raper says:

    Love the tachinids! I can even see a few familiar genera there :)

  3. Tom Saunders says:

    Specimen drawers always get me excited too – Even when I had to spend a summer databasing 3,500 Ichneumonids!

  4. Jeff Bjorck says:

    Congrats on this new collection! I don’t shudder one bit, even though I’m one of the “common folk.” Hope you find new species!

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