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Revista de Biología Tropical

On-line version ISSN 0034-7744

Rev. biol. trop vol.48 n.4 San José Dec. 2000

 

The species of Phora (Diptera: Phoridae) of Costa Rica
 

Brian V. Brown1
 

Received: 11-V-1999. Corrected: 5-IV-00 Accepted: 24-III-00



Abstract

The Phora of Costa Rica were reviewed and three species, all belonging to Schmitz's Group III, were recognized: P. americana Schmitz and Wirth, P. truncata new species and P. paramericana new species. Of the three species, P. americana is by far the most abundant, with the other two species being rarely collected. All specimens were collected in the central highlands of the country. The previous record of the Holarctic Region species P. stictica Meigen from Costa Rica was found to be based on a misidentification of P. truncata.

Key words

taxonomy, Diptera, Phoridae, Phora
 

The genus Phora is a large group of Phoridae that comprises 53 described species, almost all from the Holarctic Region. There are a few species known from tropical countries, mostly found in high elevation sites: for instance P. congolensis Beyer, 1965 from central Africa and P. americana Schmitz & Wirth, 1954 listed as occurring in Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador (Borgmeier 1968). The life history of Phora species is unknown, except for one Holarctic Region species found to be a predator of root aphids (Yarkulov 1972).

The Phora of Costa Rica have never been surveyed. The only record of the genus for the country was given by Borgmeier (1968) who listed the presence of P. stictica Meigen, 1830. This record is an error, however, and the fauna actually consists of the three species discussed below.
 

Material

The material for this review consists of 136 male specimens. Females cannot be reliably identified to species at this time.

Terms and specimen treatment are the same as in my previous works (e.g. Brown 1997). Holotypes have catalog numbers from bar coded labels in square brackets.

Specimens are deposited in the following institutions, whose abbreviations are from Arnett et al. (1993):

INBC Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, A.P. 22-3100, Santo Domingo, Heredia, Costa Rica (M.Zumbado).

LACM Entomology Section, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90007, U.S.A. (B.V.Brown).

MUCR Museo de Insectos, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica (P.S.Hanson).

MZSP Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Nazaré 481, CP 7172, 01051 São Paulo, Brazil (F.C. do Val).

USNM United States National Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 20560, U.S.A. (on indefinite loan to B.V.Brown).

SYSTEMATICS
Genus Phora

Phora Latreille, 1796: 125. Type species: Musca aterrima Fabricius, 1794 [junior homonym, preoccupied by M. aterrima Villers, 1789, = Trineuraatra Meigen, 1804] (subsequent monotypy, Latreille 1802).
Trineura Meigen, 1803: 276. Type species: Musca aterrima Fabricius, 1794. See note above for homonymy.
Philodendria Rondani, 1856: 137. Type species: Nephritis aterrima Fabricius= Muscaaterrima Fabricius (see notes above).
Notes on classification. Brown (1992) placed Phora in a newly restricted subfamily Phorinae and later (Brown 1994) suggested that it was closely related to the Oriental Region genus Postoptica Disney.

There is no published information on relationships within Phora, but Schmitz (i.e. 1953, 1955) organized the genus into three groups of convenience: group I has the hind tibia with two-three anterobasal setae, group II has the hind tibia with one and the mid tibia with two anterobasal setae and group III with a single anterobasal seta on the mid and hind tibiae. All of the species treated herein would belong to Schmitz's group III, based on the presence of a single anterobasal seta on each of the mid and hind tibia.

The most recent keys for this genus are for the Palearctic Region (Schmitz 1953, 1955), Japan (Gotô 1986), North America (Borgmeier 1963) and England (Disney 1983). Since then, four further species have been described: P. congolensis, P. greenwoodi Disney, 1989, P. michali Disney, in Disney and Durska 1998, and P. nartshukae Zaitzev, 1977. All belong to group III, except two species that cannot be ascribed to any of the groups: P. congolensis because the hind tibia was not properly described and P. michali Disney because the hind tibiae are missing from the only known specimen. All of these species differ from those treated herein by the structure of the male terminalia.

Two of the species treated herein, P. americana and P. paramericana new species, share the presence of a longitudinal, setose ridge on the lower lobe of the epandrium (Fig. 2). This character is also found in P. lacunifera Gotô, 1984, and is possibly a synapomorphy for this group of three species.

Phora americana Schmitz & Wirth, 1954
(Figs. 1-2)

Holotype:, MEXICO: Cuernavaca, H.Krauss (USNM) (examined).

Species recognition. Among species with a setose ridge on the left side of the epandrium (Fig. 2), this species can be recognized instantly by the distinctively curved, projecting ridge on the right side of the epandrium (Fig. 1). Additionally, in Costa Rica, the fore tarsomeres are dark brown, in contrast to those of the other two species. Unfortunately, this distinction does not hold for specimens of P. americana from other parts of its range.

Costa Rican material examined. COSTA RICA: Cartago: La Cangreja, 9.8° N, 83.97° W, 2, vii.1991, 1, vi-vii.1992, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 1950 m (LACM); Heredia: Vara Blanca, 10.15° N, 84.15° W, 2, i-ii.1990, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 2100 m (LACM); Puntarenas: Las Alturas, 8.95° N, 82.83° W, 3, iii.1992, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 1500 m (LACM); San José: 20 km S Empalme, 9.63° N, 83.85° W, 1, iii-vi.1990, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 2800 m (LACM), Zurquí de Moravia, 10.05° N, 84.02° W, 1, i.1989, 3, vii.1990, 5, ix-x.1990, 8, x-xii.1990, 4, i.1991, 5, ii.1991, 19, iii.1991, 3, v.1991, 2, vi.1991, 5, vii.1991, 1, iii.1992, 2, vi.1992, 2, vii.1992, 2, iii-iv.1993, 5, iv-v.1993, 10, 1-15.vi.1993, 5, vi.1993, 8, ix-x.1993, 2, ii.1994, 4, iii.1994, 8, v.1994, 3, v.1995, 3, vi.1995, 3, i.1996, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 1600 m (INBC, LACM, MUCR), 1, 2-8.iii.1995, B.V.Brown, Malaise trap, 1600 m (LACM).

Phora paramericananew species
(Figs. 3-4)

Species recognition. This species is extremely similar to P. americana, but lacks the distinctive ridge on right side of epandrium; furthermore the terminalia are shorter in the new species and there are fewer setae in the setose ridge of the left side of the epandrium.

In the Palearctic key of Schmitz (1955), this species runs to couplet 4, but does not match either of the choices. In the North American key of Borgmeier (1963) it keys to P. americana. In the key to Japanese species (Gotô 1986), it keys to P. lacunifera, which it resembles closely. The major differences are that in P. lacunifera the epandrial setae are much longer and more numerous and that in P. paramericana the left process of the right hypandrial lobe is much more elongate and narrower apically. In the key to British species (Disney 1983) it keys to P. bullata Schmitz, 1927 if one considers the upper lobe of the left side of the epandrium as being as short, although it actually slightly exceeds the level of the hypoproct. However, P. paramericana has a distinctive, setose, longitudinal ridge across the lower lobe of the left side of the epandrium. The terminalia differ from those of all of the species described since these keys were published.

Description. Male. Body color dark brown to black. Legs dark brown, except fore tibia and tarsomeres, which are light brown.

Frons slightly convergent dorsally, frontal index (width of frons just below anterior ocellus/ width of head) 0.27-0.36. Frontal setae well-differentiated from sparse frontal setulae.

Mid tibia with one anterobasal seta; dorsally with 3-6 setae. Hind tibia with one anterobasal seta. Hind femur with ventrobasal expansion small, rounded. Mean costal length 0.53 wing length, range 0.51-0.55. Costal setae short.

Left side of epandrium (Fig. 4) divided into small dorsal lobe and larger ventral lobe; ventral lobe with longitudinal, medial, ridge with few setae. Right side of epandrium (Fig. 3) with posteromedial process; right surstylus elongate, downturned, slightly bulging dorsally. Right hypandrial lobe with long, narrow left process and bilobed right process.

Derivation of specific name. The name is a combination of the Greek para, for near, and the specific name of the most similar species, P. americana.

Holotype. _, COSTA RICA: San José: Zurquí de Moravia, 10.05° N, 84.02° W, vi.1995, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 1600 m [LACM ENT 081865] (LACM).

Paratypes. COSTA RICA: San José: Escazú, 9.9° N, 84.15° W, 2_, iii.1989, W.Eberhard, Malaise trap, 1300 m (INBC, LACM), Zurquí de Moravia, 10.05° N, 84.02° W, 2_, iii.1991, 1_, vii.1991, 1_, 1-15.vi.1993, 1_, vi.1995, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 1600 m (LACM, MUCR).

Phora truncata new species
(Figs. 5-6)

Phora stictica: Borgmeier, 1968: 45. Misidentification.
Species recognition. In Costa Rica, this species most closely resembles P. paramericana new species, but has the left side of the epandrium completely undivided.

In the Palearctic key of Schmitz (1955), this species runs to P. bullata, but differs from that species by having a completely undivided left side of the epandrium. In the North American key of Borgmeier (1963) it keys to couplet 13, but the terminalia differ from either choice. Similarly, this species keys to, but does not resemble, the Japanese species P. lacunifera (Gotô 1986). In the key to British species (Disney 1983) it keys to couplet 12, but does not match any of the choices in the following couplets. The terminalia differ from those of all of the species described since these keys were published.

I examined the specimen attributed to P. stictica by Borgmeier (1968) and found it to belong to this new species.

Description. Male. Body color dark brown to black. Legs dark brown, except fore tibia and fore tarsomeres, which are light brown in color.

Frons parallel-sided, frontal index (width of frons just below anterior ocellus/ width of head) 0.29-0.31. Almost all frontal setae lost from specimens, but frontal setulae sparse, markedly shorter and smaller than those frontal setae remaining.

Foretarsomeres slightly flattened, expanded. Mid tibia with one anterobasal seta, except in holotype, which has an aberrant, extra seta on the left leg; 3-4 dorsal setae present. Hind tibia with one anterobasal seta. Hind femur lacking ventrobasal expansion. Mean costal length 0.49 wing length, range 0.48-0.50. Costal setae short.

Left side of epandrium (Fig. 6) undivided, posteriorly truncate, slightly concave at apex. Right side of epandrium (Fig. 5) relatively unmodified; right surstylus apically directed ventrally, with small dorsal bulge. Right lobe of hypandrium with elongate, broad left process and short, bilobed right process.

Derivation of specific name. The name is from a Latin word, truncus, meaning cut off, referring to the truncate posterior margin of the left side of the epandrium.

Holotype. , COSTA RICA: San José: Zurquí de Moravia, 10.05° N, 84.02° W, iii.1991, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 1600 m [LACM ENT 063967] (LACM).

Paratypes. COSTA RICA: Cartago: La Suiza, 1, i.1924, P.Schild (MZSP) [identified by Borgmeier as P. stictica]; San José: Escazú, 9.9° N, 84.15° W, 1, i-ii.1989, 1, iii.1989 W.Eberhard, Malaise trap, 1300m (INBC, LACM), 26 km N San Isidro, 9.5° N, 83.72° W, 1, ix-x.1992, P.Hanson, Malaise trap, 2100 m (LACM).
 
 

KEY TO MALES OF COSTA RICAN PHORA

1 Right side of epandrium with prominent, curved ridge (Fig. 1); foretarsomeres dark brown (in Costa Rican specimens) ..........................................................P. americana Schmitz & Wirth
- Epandrium without ridge; foretarsomeres yellowish-brown ........................................................ 2
2 Left side of epandrium divided into small dorsal and larger ventral lobes (Fig. 4); frons slightly narrowed posteriorly; foretarsomeres more slender ....................................... P.paramericana new species
- Left side of epandrium not divided (Fig. 6); frons parallel-sided; foretarsomeres expanded and flattened ...............
................................................................................. P.truncata new species
 
Acknowledgments

The illustrations were skillfully prepared by Jesse Cantley. I thank Vladimir Berezovskiy for technical help. For assistance and hospitality in Costa Rica I thank Manuel Zumbado and Paul Hanson. This work was supported, in part, by National Science Foundation Grant DEB-9407190.
 

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1 Associate Curator, Entomology Section, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90007 USA. Email- bbrown@nhm.org. Fax (213) 746-2999.

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