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Newly Discovered Fly Species Parasitizes Moths in Brazil

Lespesia melloi female (left) and male (right).

A newly discovered fly species in the Tachinidae family has been discovered and described in the open-access Journal of Insect Science. The new fly, Lespesia melloi, is a parasitoid of the Spanish moth (Xanthopastis timais), which means it could potentially be used as a biological control agent in the future.

Spanish moth caterpillars feed on the leaves and bulbs of amaryllis, an ornamental plant that is cultivated for its attractive appearance. However, it is rarely grown in Brazil because of pressure from the moths, according to the authors.

Flies in the family Tachinidae, like this one, deposit their eggs into or on caterpillars. When the eggs hatch, the emerging larvae eat their caterpillar hosts.

Lespesia melloi was named after Dr. Rubens Pinto de Mello “for his great contributions to the study and teaching of entomology in Brazil, particularly those on Diptera,” the authors wrote.

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Lespesia melloi sp. nov. (Diptera: Tachinidae) from Brazil, a parasitoid of Xanthopastis timais (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

A Spanish moth (Xanthopastis timais).

A Spanish moth (Xanthopastis timais).

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