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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

Affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)

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#1 2008-02-26 02:26:59

stuart
Administrator
Name: Stuart Ball
Registered: 2007-04-21
Posts: 142

Anthomyiidae Study Group

The family Anthomyiidae includes 238 species.

Begun in 1996, this is a small study group concerned with testing manuscript keys and supplying illustrations of male and female genitalia.

This is a relatively demanding family to identify, with strong reliance on genitalia characters in both sexes. Many of the species have larvae that develop in plants, but other life histories include species that are cleptoparasites of solitary bees and wasps. The Study Group produces newsletters with keys and notes.

Organiser: Michael Ackland, email: mackland@btinternet.com


Stuart

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#2 2010-11-12 19:45:44

Derek Whiteley
DF Members
Name: Array Array
Registered: 2008-03-12
Posts: 3

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

Hi
I'm trying to get a download of the test keys but can't find them.
Derek Whiteley

broadband address invertebrates@sorby.org.uk

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#3 2011-09-04 02:34:54

Richard Dickson
DF Members
Name: Richard Dickson
Registered: 2008-11-24
Posts: 315

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

Michael Ackland produced these and has very kindly supplied them to interested parties including me. Email address above.

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#4 2013-12-28 16:07:03

Michael Ackland
DF Members
Name: Michael Ackland
Registered: 2008-06-14
Posts: 190

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

Members can now download the latest version of the Anthomyiidae Keys etc to British species. For details log in and view the Test Keys Forum, where full details are given

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#5 2016-03-06 20:45:53

pbrighto
DF Members
Name: Phil Brighton
From: Warrington
Registered: 2011-10-21
Posts: 357

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

Having just started on my first go with the Anthomyiid keys, I have discovered that there is no key to genera for females, even though many of the species keys cover females.   Am I missing something?

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#6 2016-03-07 13:08:49

Michael Ackland
DF Members
Name: Michael Ackland
Registered: 2008-06-14
Posts: 190

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

There is no generic key to female Anthomyiidae at present. No one has written one that works, including Hennig, Collin, Fonseca, Suwa, Huckett. The reason is that the genera are mainly based on a phylogenetic analysis of the male genitalia. The difficulty of separating genera such as Delia and Botanophila on external characters explains why dipterists up until about 1920 put them all in Hylemya or Chortophila. When male genitalia were first looked at (Collin and Huckett) about 1920 onwards, it became apparent that Hylemya was polyphyletic.

The problem then was that the female ovipositors (better called oviscapts) don't show any useful phylogenetic characters, but generally (in some groups anyway) specific characters evolved through ecological adaptations. An example is Delia fabricii where the cerci (normally soft with sensory setae and hairs) have developed strong spines, an adaptation for digging sandy soil to lay eggs.

Most of the anthomyiid genera can be recognised by combinations of external characters, etc.  So that if one recognises the genus, then a key can be used.  I will try to write an article with an overview of the genera which will help to place a female antho in the right genus.
It is useful when collecting anthomyiids, and finding males which appear to be the same species, to catch a few females. Comparison later will often enable one to consider the females to be the same species. An example of this is when sweeping grasses early in the year (April, May) and finding some smallish black anthos, these are likely to belong to the genus Phorbia. The females of all female Phorbia have specialised cerci, laterally compressed cerci in the form of a sabre. This is an adaptation for laying eggs in grass stalks. There are a very few other anthomyiids in other genera which have similar adaptations, but examination shows them to be quite different.

If you are a beginner, I would recommend concentrating on males until you get familiar with the external characters. You can always check the ID by looking at the male genitalia. Catch a few females if they appear to be similar.  General sweeping will not be so successful, as many species will be collected. But if you find anthomyiids lurking around hymenopterous burrows, the females of Leucophora and Eustalomyia may be strongly suspected.

Once one has built up a reasonable collection of correctly identified males, and associated females, it is much easier then to check any further captures of females with this reference collection.

Last edited by Michael Ackland (2016-03-07 13:11:31)

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#7 2016-03-08 19:16:30

pbrighto
DF Members
Name: Phil Brighton
From: Warrington
Registered: 2011-10-21
Posts: 357

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

Michael: thank you for this guidance. Since posting the query, I have found your introductory "read me" note which does state the absence of a key to genera for females. So I hadn't simply overlooked something.

In the past few days of cold sunny weather I have caught some anthomyiids basking on a wooden fence.  They are a darkish grey with darker stripes and spots.   I have one male and three females (presumably the same species).   Unfortunately the male lost the lower part of both its hind legs, and I had yanked out the genitalia before I found there was a couplet about whether tergite VI was hidden.  As a result I have not been able to arrive at genus even for the male.

Is the early appearace at a fairly northerly location (South Lancashire) enough to narrow the field down to a few possibilities?    I shall continue to collect specimens as you suggest and hope that things will start to become clearer.

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#8 2016-03-08 19:37:21

Michael Ackland
DF Members
Name: Michael Ackland
Registered: 2008-06-14
Posts: 190

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

Egle species appear early in the year, depending on the temperature.  I have found them basking on trunks of Salix shrubs. The larvae feed on Salix catkins. They continue until end of Apri or early May. Is the mouthedge projecting? The commonest species is Egle ciliata which has 4 post dc-setae, almost unique in anthomyiids. I have not seen any down here in Dorset yet, but then it is too cold to go out! But there are other species which can appear early in the year.

Egle species are found as far north as Greenland, Iceland, Lapland etc as well as in Europe down to the Mediterranean. They don't appear in northern Sweden until June.

Last edited by Michael Ackland (2016-03-08 19:39:12)

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#9 2016-03-09 20:29:24

pbrighto
DF Members
Name: Phil Brighton
From: Warrington
Registered: 2011-10-21
Posts: 357

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

In the last few sunny days, I have now gathered more specimens including some males which have keyed out as Botanophila fugax and Lasiomma seminitidum. The genitalia look a good match to the figures, at least with simple exsertion of the surstyli. I also have a female with a projecting mouth-edge. which fits Egle ciliata according to the key.  As these are all common or very common species, this is very encouraging.   One slight difficulty was references to "vein C" which I took to mean cubital vein at first, but soon realised must be the costa.

Last edited by pbrighto (2016-03-09 20:30:31)

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#10 2016-03-10 00:04:24

Michael Ackland
DF Members
Name: Michael Ackland
Registered: 2008-06-14
Posts: 190

Re: Anthomyiidae Study Group

Botanophila fugax and Lasiomma seminitidum are species which I would expect early in the year. Lasiomma seminitidum has short pubescent eyes and long ventral hind femoral setae; B. fugax has the inner margins of the sternite 5 processes shining black and a pair of developed presutural acrostichal setulae.  You are right,  vein C is the costal vein. They say it is going to get warmer next week, so should mean more early anthomyiids!

It is gratifying to see all these postings to the Antho Study Group at last.

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