Occurrence of Lonchoptera dubia Curran in New Zealand
[Read before the Auckland Institute, September 13, 1949; received by the Editor, September 12, 1949.]
This paper records for the first time the occurrence of the Dipterous family Lonchopteridae in New Zealand. So far only one species has been discovered here and this has been identified by Mr. C. T. Greene, Division of Insect Identification, United States Department of Agricuture, as Musidora dubia Curran. Similar material was identified by Dr. C. H. Curran, American Museum of Natural History, as Lonchoptera dubia Curran. The names are synonymous, as both Musidora and Lonchoptera were erected by Meigen for the same genus.
The family Lonchopterdae contains only 23 known species (Rapp and Snow, 1945), all belonging to the genus Lochoptera Meigen, and has been found previously only in the Palaearctic, Nearctie and Neotropical regions. The flies are small, slender, brownish or yellowish insects 2–5 mm. long. Head, thorax and legs are bristly. Ocelli are present. Antennae are short, the rounded third segment bearing a terminal arista. Wings are pointed and venation is characteristic (Fig. 1). When at rest, the wings are folded flat, one upon the other,
on the abdomen. Venation in the sexes is different; in the female the 6th vein is curved up to join the 5th vein, forming a closed cell, while in the male the 6th vein runs to the wing margin. Legs are moderately long and slender with small pulvilli and no empodia.
In the original description of Lonchoptera dubia Curran (Curran, 1934) a dark form and a testaceous form are described and the description states: “The two forms…are the extremes in coloration…If the two forms represent a single species it is natural to expect intergradation in color, and this occurs among specimens collected at the same time and place…and with a large series it is possible to trace this variation from one extreme to the other by only slight changes between specimens in the color series.”
Dark, testaceous and intermediate forms have been found in New Zealand and all have been collected from the same areas.
L. dubia is considered by Curran (loc. cit.) to reproduce parthenogentically and no males have been reported from any collection.
The holotype is a North American specimen and paratypes are from North and South America. In New Zealand, specimens are known only from the Auckland area and the records of their capture are as follows: Owairaka (?), September, 1940 (D. Spiller); Owairaka, September, 1942 (T. R. Rabone); Beachlands, 1945–48 (J. W. Campbell); Green Lane, December, 1948–July, 1949 (K. P. Lamb); Remuera, January, 1949 (S. A. Rumsey); Browns Bay, 1949, January–July (R. A. Harrison); Avondale, April, 1949 (J. M. Harrison). A representative collection of the Auckland specimens and a paratype kindly donated by Dr. Curran are in the collection of the Plant Diseases Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Auckland.
Curran, C. H., 1934. The North American Lonchopteridae (Diptera). American Musseum Novitates, no. 696, pp. 1–7, March 3, 1934.
Rapp, W. F., and Snow, W. E., 1945. Catalogue of the Lonchopteridae of the World, Bull. Brooklyn Entomol. Soc., vol. XL, no. 3, pp. 81–83, June, 1945.