Three New Species of Flesh Flies Found in Brazil and Argentina
Two new species of flies in the family Sarcophagidae, which are commonly known as flesh flies because some of them deposit maggots into the wounds of animals, have been discovered in Brazil, and another new species has been found in Argentina. All three belong to the genus Lipoptilocnema, and are described in an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
The new species were discovered when taxonomists examined museum specimens from the two countries in an effort to revise the genus and its species. The discovery is significant because it may have implications for forensic entomology — when entomologist examine insects found on carcasses and corpses to determine the time of death and other clues — because sarcophagid fly larvae and adults are sometimes found on dead animals. In fact, some of the samples examined for this study were collected from the carcasses of pigs, snails, and rodents, and one was found on a dead human.
When a partly buried body was found in the Villavicencio Natural Reserve in Argentia, entomologists came and collected larvae from the corpse. They then reared the larvae until they emerged as adults, and they were identified as a new species called Lipoptilocnema delfinado. According to the authors, “The species epithet, delfinado, is an Argentinean slang in reference to specimens that were obtained from human corpse.”
One of the other new species, Lipoptilocnema savana, was found on a pig carcass in Brazil. The species epithet, savana, refers to the ecoregion where the species has been collected, the Cerrado, which is also known as Brazilian savanna.
Very little is known about the biology of the third new species, Lipoptilocnema tibanae, but it is found near Rio de Janeiro. It was named tibanae in honor of Professor Rita Tibana, professor emerita of the Museu Nacional Rio de Janeiro, for her endeavors in understanding the Neotropical fauna of flies in the family Sarcophagidae.
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