Melaloncha clavata Schmitz, 1927

Brown, Brian V., 2006, Revision of the untreated taxa of Melaloncha s. s. bee-killing flies (Diptera: Phoridae), Zootaxa 1280 (1), pp. 1-68 : 46-47

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.1280.1.1

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Melaloncha clavata Schmitz


Melaloncha clavata Schmitz View in CoL

Figs. 34, 35 View FIGURES 32–42

Melaloncha clavata Schmitz, 1927, p. 164 View in CoL , 176, 2 figs. (♀; Costa Rica); 1929, p. 146, fig. 36. ­ Borgmeier, 1934 p. 171, fig. 6, pl. 3 fig. 3 (♀; type); 1938 p. 45 (♂; ex pupa); 1959, p. 184 (♂, ♀; Nova Teutônia, Santa Catarina, Brazil).

Holotype: ♀, COSTA RICA (Hungarian National Museum). Probably destroyed during the Hungarian Revolt.

Recognition. The female of this species is easily recognized by the large, laterally flattened, paddle­shaped ovipositor. The most similar species, M. gomezi , has the ovipositor smaller and dark brown in color. Although most examined specimens of M. clavata are yellow in color, one is dark brown (see Variation, below).

As mentioned previously ( Brown & Kung 2006), the record of the reared male is highly questionable; it could have been any species of Melaloncha . There are no confirmed records of males of this species.

Description. Female (male unknown). Body length 1.6–2.1 mm. Frons yellow, bare of setulae except along eye margin; ocellar triangle black. Mean frontal width 0.47 head width, range 0.45–0.49. Ocular setae yellow to black dorsally, ventrally yellow to brown; genal setae yellow to brown. Flagellomere 1 and segments 1–2 of arista yellow; aristomere 3 black. Palpus yellow; palpal setulae brown, except apical seta black. Scutum yellowishbrown, with posterolateral dark spot. Scutellum yellowish­brown, with anterolateral round black spot. Pleuron yellow except basalare black. Legs yellow. Combined length of foretarsomeres approximately 0.8 length of foretibia. Foretarsal claws recurved, with large basal lobe. Mean costal length 0.48 wing length, range 0.48–0.49. Halter yellow. Abdominal tergites yellow with black posterior strip. Venter of abdomen yellow. Ovipositor yellow with apical dark marking; paddle­shaped, laterally flattened; densely setose with long setae dorsally and much shorter ones laterally.

Variation. Some specimens have the ovipositor less deep than that figured ( Fig. 34 View FIGURES 32–42 ).

One exceptional specimen from Mexico is highly divergent in color from all other observed specimens. It differs from the description above as follows: Frons orange to brown near center. Scutum mostly dark brown, slightly lighter brown near anterolateral corners. Scutellum dark brown. Pleuron varied shades of brown. Legs light brown except apical two­thirds of hind femur dark brown. Abdominal tergites dark brown with silver pollinosity anteriorly. Venter of abdomen gray. Ovipositor light brown basally, most of apical one­half dark brown ( Fig. 35 View FIGURES 32–42 ). Other than these color differences, it appears to be a specimen of M. clavata .

Host. We have observed this species attacking Plebeia spp. at Cumbre Alto Beni, Bolivia and Alberge de Heliconia, Costa Rica. Females curl their ovipositor under the body and attack on foot.

Geographical distribution. Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica.

Material examined. BOLIVIA: La Paz: 40 km N Caranavi, Cumbre Alto Beni, 15.83°S, 67.56°W, 2♀, 18.iv.2003, 3♀, 19.iv.2003, B. Brown, S. Marcotte, E. Zumbado, 1♀, 14.iv.2004, 1♀, 16.iv.2004, 5♀, 19.iv.2004, 3♀, 21.iv.2004, E. Zumbado, attracted to honey sprayed leaves, 1600 m ( CBFC, LACM) GoogleMaps . BRAZIL: Santa Catarina: Nova Teutônia , 27.18°S, 52.38°W, 1♀, iv.1950, 1♀, v.1952, F. Plaumann, 300–500 m ( FMNH, MCZC) GoogleMaps . COSTA RICA: Alajuela: Alberge de Heliconia , 10.71°N, 85.04°W, 1♀,, B. Brown, attacking bees attracked to honey on leaves ( LACM) GoogleMaps ; Cartago: La Suiza, 1♀, xii [no day or year given], P. Schild ( USNM) ; Puntarenas: Sector Altamira , 1 km SW Cerro Biolley, 1♀, 2–20.iv.1995, L. Angulo, 1300 m, #4690 ( INBC) , Las Alturas , 8.95°N, 82.83°W, 2♀, i.1992, P. Hanson, Malaise trap ( LACM, MUCR) GoogleMaps , 1♀, 10–, B. Brown, V. Berezovskiy, Malaise trap #1, 1600 m ( LACM) , Las Cruces , 8°N, 82.97°W, 1♀, 16.v.2000, G. Kung, on dead Syagrus coronata flowers ( LACM) GoogleMaps . MEXICO: Tamaulipas: Gómez Farias, Est. Los Cedros , 23.05°N, 99.15°W, 1.iv.2002, A. Cordoba­Torres, Malaise, 340 m ( LACM) GoogleMaps .


Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


Field Museum of Natural History


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)


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Melaloncha clavata Schmitz

Brown, Brian V. 2006

Melaloncha clavata

Schmitz, H. 1927: 164
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