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Scientists Describe 24 New Species of Flower Flies

Feb 03, 2013 04:15 AM EST

Scientists have described 24 new insect species belonging to the Quichuana genus.

Until now, only 24 species of flower flies from the Quichuana genus were known. But, a team of researchers, who have been studying the forests of Central and Southern America for the last 10 years, has discovered 24 more new flower fly species. With the new findings, the number of flower fly species belonging to the family of Syrphidae has doubled.

Flower flies are also called hover flies that come from the Syrphidae family in the order Diptera (true flies). It is not easy to differentiate between a flower fly and other kinds of flies, including soldier flies and bee flies. All these insect species either have a bee or wasp-like appearance. One way to identify flower flies is by inspecting their wings under a microscope. All insects from the Syrphidae family have so-called spurious vein in their wings, where neither end of the vein connects with other wing veins.

"Some specimens were captured as adults while in flight whereas others were taken as larva and were then raised in our laboratories as adults," said study author María Ángeles Marcos-García, researcher at the Ibero-American Biodiversity Centre (CIBIO) of the University of Alicante, Spain.

By raising larvae in the labs, researchers were able to figure out how these larvae live in small cumuli of water that are retained in different parts of the plant, and how a relationship is established between the insect species and the plant.

The discovery of the insect-plant relationship helps in establishing better conservation methods to protect the species and others that share the same plant development environment, said the researchers.

The findings of the study appear in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

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