Anthomyia abyssinica Jaennicke, 1867

Ackland, D. M., 2001, Revision of afrotropical Anthomyia Meigen, 1803 (Diptera: Anthomyiidae), with descriptions of ten new species, African Invertebrates 42, pp. 1-94 : 64-70

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Anthomyia abyssinica Jaennicke, 1867


Anthomyia abyssinica Jaennicke, 1867 View in CoL

( Figs 142–161 View Figs 142–150 View Figs 151–160 View Figs 161–163 )

Anthomyia abyssinica Jaennicke, 1867: 372 View in CoL ; Stein, 1919: 147.

Hylemyia abyssinica: Stein, 1902: 134 ; Bezzi, 1908: 96; Stein, 1913: 554; Stein, 1914: 134; Speiser, 1924:


Anthomyia spinigera Malloch, 1924: 270 View in CoL ; Emden, 1941 a: 213; Emden, 1941 b: 260; Emden, 1951: 352;

Emden, 1956: 529. Syn. n.

Holotype ^ of abyssinica : ETHIOPIA: ‘ Abyssinia / Dr Rüppel’ [white rectangular label]; ‘ Typus’ [red rectangular label] ; ‘^ HOLOTYPE / Anthomyia / abyssinica

Jaennicke / 1867 / det. V. Michelsen 1981’ [red rectangular label]; ‘=gen Hylemyia ^ / ex Stein’ [white rectangular label]. In rather poor condition, right wing, left fore leg and both hind legs missing; remaining legs gummed together. In FSF. Reviewed during present study.

Holotype Ò of spinigera : KENYA: ‘Holotype’ [circular white label with red perimeter]; ‘Brit. E. Africa / Kikuyu Escarp / Kijabe / 7–8000 ft. / 28.vii.1911 – 5.i.1912 / Dr W. Radford / Bamboo forest’ [white rectangular handwritten label]; ‘Pres by / Imp. Bur. Ent. / Brit. Mus. / 1924–242’ [white printed rectangular label]; ‘ Anthomyia / spinigera / Det / J. R. Malloch Type’ [rectangular handwritten and printed label with black line border]. In reasonable condition, both hind legs missing. In BMNH.

Paratypes of spinigera : KENYA: 2Ò, same data as holotype; 1^, Njoro , 16.i.1912, T. J. Anderson; 2^, Kabele, 28.viii.1914, T. J.Anderson, on window; 1Ò, Noukuru, i.1913, Dr B. L. van Someren. In BMNH .

Other material examined: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: 1^, Tshibinda , 21–27.viii.1931, J. Ogilvie ( BMNH) ; 1Ò, same locality, 21–27.viii.1931, Prof. T. D. A. Cockerell (det. Anthomyia griseobasis Mall. by Emden, 1940) ( BMNH) . ETHIOPIA: 1^, Addis Ababa, I. C. L. R. I., 16.x.1968, R. Kano & T. Ohse, 2700m ( DMA) ; 1^, same locality, Entotto , 17.x.1968, 3000 m, R. Kano & T. Ohse ( DMA) ; 4Ò, Mt. Zuquala , 9000 ft, 21–25.x.1926, Dr H. Scott ( BMNH) ; 1^, Djem-Djem Forest , 9000 ft 24.ix.1926, Dr H. Scott ( BMNH) . KENYA: 1^, Kabete , 18–24.xi.1925, G. B. Purvis, in house ( BMNH) ; 2Ò5^, Nyeri, iii.–iv. 1948, M. Steele ( BMNH) ; 2Ò1^, same locality, x.1948, van Someren ( BMNH) ; 10Ò5^, Muguga , viii–x.1969, C. F. Dewhurst ( BMNH) ; 1Ò1^, Nairobi , 9–13.xii.1970, A. E. Stubbs, 5500 ft ( BMNH) ; 1Ò, same locality, vii.1930, van Someren ( BMNH) ; 1Ò, Sigona, Thitu Farm , 11.iv.1983, K. A. Spencer ( BMNH) ; 2^, Nairobi River, nr National Museum , 6.i.1972, C. F. Huggins, 5500 ft ( BMNH) ; 1Ò1^, Meru, 24–29.xii.1970, A. E. Stubbs, 5–700 ft ( BMNH) ; 3Ò4^, same locality, vii.1943, van Someren ( BMNH) ; 1Ò, Naivasha , ix.1939, H. J. Turner ( BMNH) ; 3^, same locality, vii.1937, H. J. Turner ( BMNH) ; 3Ò, Ngong , ix.1925, van Someren ( BMNH) ; 2^, same locality, i.1954, van Someren ( BMNH) ; 2^, Nanyuki , v.1948, van Someren ( BMNH) ; 1Ò1^, Teita Hills , viii.1947, van Someren ( BMNH) ; 2Ò, Ruiru, nr. Nairobi , 12.i.1969, at light, M. C. Birch ( DMA) ; 1Ò, Nairobi, National Museum , 11.viii. 1989, J. W. Ismay ( DMA) . MALAWI: 1^, Zomba Plateau , iv.1957, N. H. L. Krauss ( BMNH) ; 2^, Viphia , Chikangawa, SE 1133DD, 27.ii.–1.iii.1987, J. & A. Londt, grassland & forest margins ( NMSA) . NIGERIA: 1Ò, Obudu Plat. , cattle ranch, 28.iv.1972, J. L. Musa, vegetable garden ( BMNH) ; 3^, same locality, 21.iii.1971, J. T. Medler ( BMNH) ; 1^, Ogoja , 27.iv.1972, J. L. Musa ( BMNH) . SOUTH AFRICA: Northern Province: 1^, Shilouvane, Ztb. Distr. , x.1901, Rev. H. A. Junod ( NMSA) . KwaZulu-Natal: 1^, Giants Castle Res., Drakensberg , 18–23.ix.1963, B. & P. Stuckenberg ( NMSA) ; 3^, Giants Castle game res., Injamuti area , SE 2929AB, 5–11.xii.1983, J. G. H. Londt ( NMSA) ; 1^, Drakensberg, Kamberg , 28.xi.1986, A. E. Whittington ( NMSA) . SUDAN: 1Ò, Imatong Mts. , 11.xii.1933, Miss M. Steele ( BMNH) . TANZANIA: 1Ò8^, W Kilimandjaro, Ngare-Nairobi , 4–5000 ft, ii–iii.1937, B. Cooper ( BMNH) . UGANDA: 1^, Kigezi Prov., Mabungo , xi.1934, 6000 ft, J. Ford, B. M. E. Afr. Exp. ( BMNH) ; 4^, Kigeri Dist., Kanaba Gap , 7500 ft, 19.xi.1934, F. W. Edwards ( BMNH) ; 1^, no locality, 1918, C. C. Gowdey ( BMNH) ; 1^, Kampala, 8.ix.1911 ( BMNH) ; 1Ò, Unyoro , Hoima, 3700 ft., Kittenbergen ( DMA) .


Colour: Interfrontalia, parafrontalia and genae varying from dark brown to blackish (with rather dense silvery dusting); parafrontals opposite lunule with a dark shifting sheen stripe which extends from level of anterior frontal seta to level of arista (only shifting to silvery grey dusting in extreme dorsal view), and a wide blackish non-shifting spot in vibrissal angle which extends above genal groove and reaches eye margin when viewed in profile; face and occiput blackish (with normal dusting), except upper part of occiput greyish. Antennae entirely dark brown. Palpi dark brown to black; arista light brownish in basal half; prementum dark brown, thinly dusted. Thorax ( Figs 142, 143 View Figs 142–150 ) densely dusted (over dark ground-colour) with contrasting black and silvery grey pattern on dorsal surface; a wide transverse postsutural band across the scutum complete between wing bases (but posterior margin weakly indented around 3rd postsutural dorsocentral seta (with grey dusting around base of latter); presutural spots joined behind head, each spot laterally and posteriorly with a straight border, forming a V shape (inner margins extending towards the presutural acrostichal setulae, posterior margin past level of 2nd presutural dorsocentrals); scutellum almost entirely black (with only its extreme tip silvery grey). Pleura grey dusted, lower part of the post pronotal lobes and anterior and posterior part of anepisternum brownish black. Abdomen largely densely dusted over dark ground-colour (occasionally reddish or orange in parts), with contrasting black and grey pattern on tergites; black central vitta on 3rd and 4th tergite as wide as depth of femur, joined anteriorly to a black crossband on each tergite (about one-third length of tergite) and expands laterally to about half length of tergite; hypopygium and 5th sternite rather finely dusted. Wing membrane slightly brownish orange tinged; wing bases with pale brownish veins; squamae paler than wing base with whitish fringes; halteres yellow. Legs entirely dark brown to orange-red (except for the partly shining trochanters which are sometimes orange-brown).

Head: Parafrontalia very narrow posteriorly (touching for a distance equal to twice diameter of anterior ocellus), widening anteriorly to about width of first flagellomere; parafacial not quite as wide as first flagellomere; genae below lowest point of eye margin 0.26 times eye-height. 2 pairs of parafrontal setae on anterior half of distance between antennal base and anterior ocellus; short but distinct interfrontal setulae present; genal setae in more or less single row anteriorly. First flagellomere twice as long as wide (apex not quite reaching lower facial margin); arista ( Figs 151–154, 159 View Figs 151–160 ) plumose, total width of hairing three-quarters to fully equal to width of first flagellomere. Prementum about 0.4 times as long as head height.

Thorax: scutal setae long, especially dorsocentrals and postalars, and scutellar setae. 3–4 pairs of presutural acrostichals (the middle the longest) in rows separated by about distance from each to adjacent dorsocentral row (sometimes slightly more), generally with additional setulae in between (these absent in some specimens); acr / dc ratio 1:1:1 or 9:10:9; posthumerals1 + 1; prealar twice as long as posterior notopleural (the latter strikingly short and only half length of anterior notopleural seta); dorsal surface of scutellum with about 6–18 setulose hairs on disc, except centrally; katepisternals 2 + 2, lower posterior nearly as long as upper posterior seta, lower anterior half length of upper anterior; anepisternum with a developed upper anterior setula.

Legs: rather long and slender, especially hind femora and tibiae. F2 with row of 3–4 pv on about basal half; f3 with 8–10 av, without pv; t1 with median 1 pv; t2 with 1 ad, 2 pd and 2p/pv; t3 with 1 av, 4 ad, 2 pd and 2–3 pv.

Wing: costa with marginal spinules rather long ( Figs 155–158, 160 View Figs 151–160 ) (at least as long as diameter of costa, and often exceeding this), the pair before distal break very long, 3–4 times length of adjacent spinules; lower crossvein sinuate, joining M 1+2 obliquely; last section of M 1+2 1.5 times length of preceding section. Lower squama as long as upper.

Wing length up to 6.0 mm.

Abdomen: rather long (2.7–3.0 times as long as wide, parallel-sided), in lateral view dorsoventrally compressed in basal two-thirds. 3rd sternite six times as long as wide, 4th sternite ( Fig. 146 View Figs 142–150 ) twice as long as wide, with long lateral setae and shorter discal setulae, without denser setae on posterior margin. 5th sternite processes ( Figs 146, 147 View Figs 142–150 ) with a few short setae laterally at their bases, otherwise with moderately long uni-biserial rows of setulae on their concave inner margins and 5–7 rather long setae apically; membranous lobes ( Fig. 147 View Figs 142–150 ) moderately projecting ventrally in lateral view. Central process of synsternite (6+7) ( Fig. 150 View Figs 142–150 ) with a rather long base bearing divergent winged arms. Surstylus ( Fig. 145 View Figs 142–150 ) downcurved, slightly constricted medially in lateral view, the upper dorsal margin with a small developed lobe. Cercal plate ( Fig. 144 View Figs 142–150 ) of about equal length and width, with a few short apical spinules and 1–2 pairs of longer setulae on either side of them, otherwise setulose only on basal half, in lateral view apex slightly projecting, not concealed behind surstylus. Pregonite ( Fig. 148 View Figs 142–150 ) with 2 setulae on dorsal half of oblique distal margin; postgonite ( Fig. 148 View Figs 142–150 ) with strong setula (distal margin indented beyond setula). Distal section of aedeagus ( Fig. 149 View Figs 142–150 ) with a more or less upright dorsal process separated from its base by half its length, dorsal margin of distal section slightly concave in lateral view.


Colour: Head dark as in male. Thoracic pattern very similar to that of male, scutellum with apical grey spot minute. Abdomen often orange, with black and grey pattern on abdominal tergites similar to that of male (or in some specimens with central and lateral black marks separate, not connected along anterior margins of tergites). Legs dark to reddish orange as in male.

Head: Eyes widely separated (by slightly more than their transverse width, ratio 6:7:6); interfrontalia at level of middle ors about thrice as wide as each parafrontal; parafrontalia widening anteriorly to about width of first flagellomere; genae below lowest point of eye margin about 0.2 times eye-height. Arista plumose as in male (sometimes with even longer hairs). Parafrontal setae differentiated into 3 pairs of orbital setae (anterior setae normally proclinate, posterior two reclinate) + 1 pair of (inwardly directed) frontal setae; crossed interfrontal setae well developed, their tips reaching margins of frontal stripe.

Thorax: Presutural acrostichal setulae sometimes slightly more widely separated than in Ò, and generally with a few setulae between rows. Katepisternals 2 + 2, both lower setae half length of upper setae.

Wing length up to 6 mm.

Abdomen: Postabdomen equal in length to preabdomen. Ovipositor similar to A. benguellae ; cerci with a long apical seta, and anterior sclerotized arms of tergite 8 long and slender ( Fig. 161 View Figs 161–163 )

Discussion: I was able to examine the ^ holotype of Anthomyia abyssinica Jaennicke through the kindness of Dr W. Tobias. Although in poor condition, with the right wing missing, left wing damaged, the costal spine(s) and adjacent spinules are still present on the left wing, and the aristae are still present ( Figs 159, 160 View Figs 151–160 ). The presutural black spots on the thorax are rectangular, posterior margin reaching the 2nd presutural dorsocentral setae, and are narrowly joined behind head, the postsutural crossband is complete, and the prealar seta is longer than the posterior notopleural seta.

When Malloch described spinigera in 1924, he applied in the same paper the name abyssinica Jaenn. to three males (Estcourt, Natal) in which the aristal hairs were not twice as long as the basal diameter of the arista, and (in the key) the costal spine was small or minute, not very distinctly visible. Although Jaennicke in his original description says ‘arista weakly haired’ he added ‘foremargin of wing armed with a strong spine’. Stein, who examined the holotype in 1902, stated that ‘the arista was distinctly and rather long haired’. The specimens identified as ‘ abyssinica’ by Malloch (which carry a label to that effect) cannot be the males of abyssinica , and are described in this paper as subabyssinica sp. n.

Emden followed Malloch’s usage of the name abyssinica and retained spinigera for the species with longer aristal hairs and a strong costal spine.

There is some variation in the length of aristal hairs in abyssinica ; those from high altitudes in the Kenyan mountains tend to have the total width of hairing approaching the width of the first flagellomere ( Fig. 152 View Figs 151–160 ), and in some specimens from lower altitudes the total width is only about two-thirds this width ( Fig. 154 View Figs 151–160 ). The same variation applies to the length of the costal spine (even being different on each wing of the same specimen). The longest aristal hairs in subabyssinica are however only about one-third of the width of the first flagellomere, generally less than this. In addition some abyssinica (from Kenya particularly) have rather long scutal setae, and longer legs, especially the hind femora and tibiae.

In 1913 Stein recorded abyssinica from Ethiopia and Tanzania (Moschi near Kilimandjaro) and described the male. He stated that the arista was shortly, but distinctly haired, and that the wing had a distinct costal spine. This material was in the Hungarian Natural History Museum, and was destroyed in 1956. I found no specimens named by Stein in the BMNH. The identity of Stein’s males of abyssinica must remain uncertain, but as Stein examined and recorded many specimens of abyssinica from central east Africa (where it is quite a common species) it seems probable that he correctly recognised this species. Emden (1951: 252) listed a male of A. griseobasis from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Tshibinda), in the former Zaire [label on the pins says ‘Tanganyika’]; this specimen is in poor condition, I have dissected the genitalia, and it is abyssinica (arista and wings damaged, which is probably why Emden did not recognise it).

Nothing is known of the life history of abyssinica .

Distribution: The known distribution of abyssinica ranges from Ethiopia and the Sudan in the north, to South Africa in the south; it also occurs in Nigeria. Emden in 1951 recorded it from the Belgian Congo, and in 1956 from Ruanda (both as spinigera ).


KwaZulu-Natal Museum














Anthomyia abyssinica Jaennicke, 1867

Ackland, D. M. 2001

Anthomyia spinigera

EMDEN, F. I. VAN 1941: 213

Hylemyia abyssinica

BEZZI, M. 1908: 96

Anthomyia abyssinica Jaennicke, 1867: 372

JAENNICKE, F. 1867: 372
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