DOWNIE'S WOOD GNAT: New insect species dedicated to Roger Downie

Issued: Fri, 03 Feb 2017 14:14:00 GMT

A paper has just appeared in which a new fly is named for Professor Roger Downie.
It was dedicated by Geoff Hancock in gratitude to Roger for inviting him to accompany him on a number of Glasgow University Exploration Society expeditions, starting in Trinidad in 1994.
Sampling the insect faunas of tree rot holes, sap runs and dead wood revealed a suite of Neotropical saproxylic species.
Included was an undescribed fly now forever to be known as Mycetobia downiei Hancock, 2016.
In studying the morphology and anatomy of the new species it was found that the females have sperm pumps built into their spermathecal ducts.
Males of many Diptera have pumps to deliver sperm into the female spermathecae during mating.
Indeed on this basis Willi Hennig, the German dipterist best known for developing the principles of cladistic analysis, coined the phrase Antliophora (literally pump bearers) in 1969 for the clade that includes the flies.
Although sperm pumps in female Diptera are known in the family of bee flies (Bombyliidae) they have not been reported previously from any of the Nematocera.

Picture of Downies Wood Gnat

 

 Downies Wood Gnat anatomy picture