Preamble: The fly family Chloropidae (the frit flies or grass flies or eye gnats) is one of the most geographically widespread, abundant, species-rich, and ecologically diverse families of flies on Earth. Although almost 3000 species have been described, and some species are pests of crops, livestock and humans, we still have much to learn about the taxonomy, natural history, and phylogenetic relationships of chloropids. They’re also my favorite group of flies.
We’ve just published a new paper (see Wheeler and Solecki, 2013 in Publications) in the excellent journal Zootaxa, in which we describe three new species of chloropid flies from South Africa. That, in itself, isn’t terribly big news — there are likely thousands of undescribed species of chloropid flies, and the African species are particularly poorly known. So, in order to make this post marginally more interesting, I’ll mostly talk about the weirdest of these new flies.
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