Melaloncha gradata, Brown, 2006

Brown, Brian V., 2006, Revision of the untreated taxa of Melaloncha s. s. bee-killing flies (Diptera: Phoridae), Zootaxa 1280 (1), pp. 1-68 : 53-54

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.1280.1.1

publication LSID


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scientific name

Melaloncha gradata

new species

Melaloncha gradata   new species

Figs. 43 View FIGURES 43–53 , 61 View FIGURES 56–61

Recognition. This species differs from others with a straight, narrow ovipositor by the unusual frons, which widens ventrally, and the rounded, apically furcate sclerite of intersegment 7–8. Yellow specimens further differ from other yellow species by the yellow coxal setae, and the gradual color change from yellow to dark brown on the ovipositor.

Description. Female (male unknown). Body length 2.3–2.9 mm. Frons yellow; bare of setulae, except few along eye margin; ocellar triangle dark brown. Mean frontal width 0.46 head width, range 0.43–0.49; frons widening ventrally. Medial furrow absent. Ocular and genal setae yellow. Flagellomere 1 yellow; arista brown. Palpus yellow; palpal setulae yellow to brown. Scutum, scutellum and pleuron yellowish­brown, except basalare dark brown. Legs yellowish­brown. Combined length of foretarsomeres equal to length of foretibia. Foretarsal claws recurved, with large basal lobe. Large coxal setae yellow. Mean costal width 0.51 wing length, range 0.48–0.52. Halter yellow. Abdominal tergites yellow anteriorly and medially, black posterolaterally. Venter of abdomen yellow. Ovipositor yellow, gradually fading to dark brown at midlength; straight, elongate, narrow, tubular; with short scattered setae; sclerite of intersegment 7–8 rounded apically, ventrally curved, bifurcate.

Variation. The above description pertains to the holotype and other specimens from Bolivia. The single specimen from Peru, however, is highly divergent in color (although identical in structure). It differs as follows: Frons brown, darker along midline, with dark brown setal bases. Ocular and genal setae black. Flagellomere 1 and arista dark brown. Palpus white; palpal setulae black. Scutum and scutellum dark brown. Pleuron dark brown, with some lighter areas. Legs brown. Large coxal setae black. Abdominal tergites brown to black with silver pollinosity anteriorly. Venter of abdomen white. Ovipositor dark brown at base, mostly black.

Host. Unknown.

Geographical distribution. Bolivia and Peru.

Derivation of specific epithet. Latin gradatus for gradually, referring to the gradual change from yellow to brown color on the ovipositor.

Holotype. ♀, BOLIVIA: La Paz: 40 km N Caranavi, Cumbre Alto Beni, 15.83°S, 67.56°W, 17.iv.2004, E. Zumbado, honey spray, 1600 m [ LACM ENT 194377 View Materials ] ( CBFC). GoogleMaps  

Paratypes. BOLIVIA: same locality as holotype, 1♀, 16.iv.2003, 4♀, 18.iv.2003, 1♀, 19.iv.2003, B. Brown, S. Marcotte, E. Zumbado, 1♀, 7.iv.2004, B. Brown, 3♀, 16.iv.2004, 2♀, 17.iv.2004, 1♀, 19.iv.2004, 1♀, 21.iv.2004, E. Zumbado, honey spray, 1600 m ( CBFC, LACM, MCZC, USNM) GoogleMaps   . PERU: San Martin: San Antonio de Cumbaza , 6.40°S, 76.41°W, 1♀, 3.vii.2004, B. Brown, E. Corona, honey spray, 400 m ( LACM) GoogleMaps   .


Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History