Odontomyia, Meigen, 1803

Howarth, Brigitte & Gillett, Michael, 2009, Increasing knowledge of the entomological fauna of the United Arab Emirates and the role of private collections, ZooKeys 31 (3), pp. 119-132: 129-130

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http://doi.org/ 10.3897/zookeys.31.139



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Odontomyia  sp. ( Diptera  : Stratiomyidae  )

Another family of flies belonging to the Brachycera are the soldier flies, Stratiomyidae  , a rather diverse family, whose larvae are often aquatic. One species belonging to the genus Nemotelus  along with a species of Odontomyia  were recorded from the Sharjah Emirate ( Howarth 2006, Howarth and Gillett 2008). The latter is the most speciose and cosmopolitan genus in the family and contains well over 200 species that are often found on flowers. The larvae are aquatic and feed on algae at the margins of fresh water ( Bayless 2008).


Four species are presented as new records for the UAE ( Julodis candida Holyński, 1996  , Capnodis excisa Menetries, 1848  , Pseudocastalia arabica (Gestro, 1877)  , Mantispa nana (Navás, 1912)  , along with the record of a new genus ( Atractocerus  ). Other relatively new records are discussed to illustrate the value of private collections. Within any population, some individuals will have a much greater awareness and appreciation of the natural world than the majority. Some of these individuals are drawn to particular groups of organisms and in order to make better sense out of the startling biodiversity that nature displays, they may begin to obtain specimens and form a collection. Such private collections have been historically of great importance and many such collections, both great and large, have either been bequeathed to or purchased by museums. To a very large extent, what were once private collections have now become the basis for the great museum collections and are regionally, nationally and internationally important resources for research and understanding of biodiversity and for planning and executing conservation measures aimed at preserving at least part of Earth’s dwindling natural habitats.

However, far from having just a historical significance, private collections and private collecting still hold an ongoing importance both in the unraveling of biodiversity patterns and in the fight towards effective conservation of habitats and species. In this article, the authors have drawn attention to two aspects of this importance as they relate to one small Middle Eastern country that is caught up in a spiraling process of urban development and property boom. The lesson is that both material and data still housed in old private collections and ongoing private collecting will continue to provide information vital to biodiversity conservation for a long time to come.