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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374273

Research Project: Systematics of Moths Significant to Biodiversity, Quarantine, and Control, with a Focus on Invasive Species

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: New stiletto flies from New Caledonia (Therevidae: Agapophytinae)

item IRWIN, MICHAEL - University Of Illinois
item WINTERTON, SHAUN - California Department Of Food And Agriculture
item Metz, Mark

Submitted to: ZooKeys
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/13/2020
Publication Date: 11/4/2020
Citation: Irwin, M.E., Winterton, S.L., Metz, M. 2020. New stiletto flies from New Caledonia (Therevidae: Agapophytinae). ZooKeys. 984:83-132.

Interpretive Summary: Islands have historically been excellent “natural experiments” to study the evolution of species since Darwin’s finches. Often, the more isolated the island in terms of distance and geological time the more interesting the relationships among ancestral species. The islands of New Caledonia are 1200 km east of Australia and 2400 km north of New Zealand and have unique stiletto fly fauna closely related to species mostly occurring in Australia and New Guinea. This research reports the discovery of nine species on New Caledonia previously unknown to the scientific community, necessitating the creation of two new genera. Stiletto fly species represent a more primitive lineage among all flies and are fairly well known across world biotic regions, so study of these species is informative for modeling the evolution of insects and the movement of landmasses over geological time in general. Stiletto flies are general soil predators and possible indicators of environmental health in mostly xeric, but varied habitats. This information will be helpful to scientists studying and identifying related flies and to scientists studying insect evolution and the origin of new species occurring in spatially and temporally isolated places in the world.

Technical Abstract: Stiletto-flies (Diptera: Therevidae) are highly diverse and species-rich in Australia and New Zealand, yet relatively few species have been recorded from neighbouring Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and throughout Oceania. Indeed, in New Caledonia only a single species of the widely distributed Australasian genus Anabarhynchus Macquart (Therevinae) is previously known. Herein we describe two new agapophytine genera (i.e., Jeanchazeauia gen. n., Calophytus gen. n.), together comprising nine charismatic new species; this represents a first record of the subfamily from the New Caledonia. The new genera and species are described and figured.