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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cuticular Hydrocarbon Variation Within the Tabanus Nigrovittatus (Diptera: Tabanidae) Complex of the Atlantic Coast of North America

item Sutton, Bruce - DIV. OF PLANT INDUSTRY
item Carlson, David

Submitted to: Annals of Systematics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 19, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Horse flies from the salt marshes of the Atlantic coast are called green- heads, but their identities are sometimes confused because several of the species look alike, even to experts. One of the species, Tabanus nigrovit- tatus is a small fly that is most closely related to the slightly larger T. conterminus, but the sizes overlap. Scientists at the USDA/ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology and Florida's Division of Plant Industry found that waxes from the body surface of the flies could be washed off of museum specimens and chemically analyzed on a gas chromato- graph. When this was done, patterns of wax composition showed there were three separate species of flies. Not only is this the best evidence so far that T. conterminus is a real species, but it also indicates the presence of a third, undescribed, species of fly in this complex. This information will help experts to better identify important blood sucking flies, and their effect of tourism and residents in the areas where the flies occur, and to institute specific control measures for each fly species.

Technical Abstract: Tabanus nigrovittatus Macquart, the Atlantic salt marsh greenhead horsefly, has been shown to consist of a cryptic species complex involving at least one other sibling species, T. conterminus Walker. Multivariate analysis of greenhead fly cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) patterns supports specific status for T. conterminus and suggests the presence of a third, undescribed, species of this complex.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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