deciphering their diversity and evolutionary history

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Asiloid Flies
deciphering their diversity and evolutionary history

Sample of Asiloid Flies

News - January 2014

3 January, 2014 - 10:43 -- DikowT

Happy New Year 2014!

Let's make it public, two species of Mydidae recorded from Sri Lanka for the first time!

While curating the Mydidae in the USNM Diptera collection I came across several specimens collected on the island of Sri Lanka. To this date, this family of Diptera had not been recorded from Sri Lanka (the latest catalog of Oriental Diptera with the Mydidae by Papavero and Knutson 1975 did not list any species). The USNM collection has two species, which is quite interesting.

I had personally seen specimens of Cacatuopyga ruficornis (Wiedemann, 1824) from Sri Lanka (see an image here) in the DEIC collection in Müncheberg, Germany in 2009. In 2010 during a visit to the BMNH collection in London, UK, I studied several other specimens that had been collected as early as 1891 on the island, but never appeared in the literature. Lastly, the USNM has a specimen collected in 1970 by one of our lepidopterists in far north-western Sri Lanka. Cacatuopyga ruficornis was originally described from Tranquebar (= Tharangambadi) in Tamil Nadu state of southern India. Although I haven't studied the holotype in the ZMUC collection in Copenhagen, Denmark yet, I am pretty confident of the identification.

The more suprising find in our collection were several specimens of Leptomydas notos (Dikow, 2010) - a species I had described recently from southern India, precisely from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu state (ZooKeys DOIPlazi description, ZooBank registration, GBIF records, Morphbank image). Now this species is also recorded from Sri Lanka, but too bad I didn't know about these specimens at the time of working on the new Oriental Leptomydas species. One more reason to digitize our holdings (species inventory, specimen-level inventory, and/or specimen images) so that we can broadcast to the scientific community and the public what we have in our collection of which you can see a recent photograph below.

Here is a map of Sri Lanka with all Mydidae specimens known so far (and studied by me). The records from the USNM collection will also shortly appear on GBIF.

Part of USNM Diptera collection at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.