Melaloncha dibitettii, 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 : 48-49

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.1280.1.1

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scientific name

Melaloncha dibitettii

sp. nov.

Melaloncha dibitettii new species

Fig. 38 View FIGURES 32–42

Recognition. This small yellow species is distinctive in its lack of the ventral frontoorbital and ventral interfrontal setae.

Description. Female (male unknown). Body length 1.5–1.9 mm. Frons dark yellow, bare of setulae except few along eye margin, ventral fronto­orbital and ventral interfrontal setae absent; ocellar triangle black. Mean frontal width 0.48 head width, range 0.43–0.50. Medial furrow absent. Ocular and genal setae yellow. Flagellomere 1 white basally, mostly yellow; aristomeres 1–2 and base of 3 yellow, apex of 3 brown. Palpus white; palpal setulae thin, yellow. Scutum yellowish­brown, with posterolateral dark brown spot. Scutellum yellowish­brown, with anterolateral round black spot. Pleuron yellowishbrown, except basalare black. Legs yellowish­brown. Combined length of foretarsomeres equal to length of foretibia. Foretarsal claws recurved, with large basal lobe. Mean costal length 0.48 wing length, range 0.44–0.50. Halter yellow. Abdominal tergites anteriorly yellow, posteriorly black. Venter of abdomen yellow. Ovipositor basally yellow, mostly black; tubular, except indented along lateral seam of dorsal and ventral lobes; slightly in apical one­third; with scattered, short setae.

Host. At Zona Protectora El Rodeo, Costa Rica, we observed this species attacking Plebeia sp. The flies generally resembled M. acoma Brown & Kung (2006) , but were first recognized by their different behavior: unlike M. acoma , which attack from a 45° angle in front (behavior described by Brown & Kung, 2006), this species attacks from the side of the bee (90° angle), apparently aiming for the posterior part of the head or anterior part of the thorax.

At Urugua­í, Argentina, we observed this species attacking Tetragonisca angustula (Latreille) and Plebeia sp.

Geographical distribution. Argentina, Costa Rica.

Derivation of specific epithet. Named for Dr. Mario Di Bitetti, who along with his wife, Daniela Rode, were extremely helpful during our visit to Misiones.

Holotype. ♀, ARGENTINA: Misiones : Reserva Vida Silvestre Urugua­í, 25.97°S, 54.11°W, 15.xii.2003, B. Brown, honey spray, 400 m [ LACM ENT 188374 View Materials ] ( MACN). GoogleMaps

Paratypes. ARGENTINA: Misiones: Loreto , 27.32°S, 55.53°W, 1♀, i.2001, P. Fidalgo, Malaise trap ( LACM) GoogleMaps , Parque Nacional Iguazu , 25.68°S, 54.44°W, 1♀, 2.xii.2003, B. Brown, G. Kung, bee screen ( LACM) GoogleMaps , 2♀, 4.xii.2003, B. Brown, G. Kung, Syagrus palm flowers ( LACM, MACN) , Reserva Vida Silvestre Urugua­í , 25.97°S, 54.11°W GoogleMaps , 6♀, 10.xii.2003, 5♀, 11.xii.2003, 11♀, 12.xii.2003, 6♀, 15.xii.2003, 10♀, 17.xii.2003, 15♀, 18.xii.2003, 3♀, 21.xii.2003, 2♀, 22.xii.2003, 5♀, 27.xii.2003, 3♀, 28.xii.2003, 6♀, 29.xii.2003, B. Brown, L. Gonzalez, G. Kung, honey spray, 400 m ( LACM, MACN, MCZC, USNM) . COSTA RICA: Guanacaste: Bagaces, Palo Verde, Cerro Guayacán , 17♀, 9.ii–10.iii.2000, I. Jiménez, Malaise trap, #55155 ( INBC) ; San José: Zona Protectora El Rodeo, 9.91°N, 84.28°W, 1♀, 1.viii.2001, B. Brown, G. Kung, attacking Plebeia bees ( LACM) GoogleMaps , 1♀, 8.viii.2001, B. Brown, G. Kung, bee screen ( LACM) .


Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)













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