In April, we reported on a new species of black fly that was discovered in Borneo. Now the lead author, Hiroyuki Takaoka, is back at it again, discovering another new black fly species, but this time from Thailand.
The new species, Simulium (Gomphostilbia) maleewongae, was discovered by Takaoka, from the University of Malaya in Malaysia; Wichai Srisuka, from the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in Thailand; and Atiporn Saeung, from Chiang Mai University in China. It was found in a stream in a dry, deciduous forest area during a survey of insects of Mae Hong Song Province.
The finding is important because a species from the same subgenus as the new fly, Gomphostilbia, is a known vector of filariasis, a parasitic disease in mammals and birds caused by infection with roundworms. The knowledge that a related species is a vector suggests that the new fly could also be a vector, but that has not been confirmed.
While discovering new species is now old hat for Takaoka, the finding of the new black fly was not expected.
“Finding the new species was a surprise,” said Takaoka. “It suggests that many more new species will be discovered if unexplored areas in Thailand are surveyed.”
The species was named maleewongae in honor of Prof. Pewpan Maleewong Intapan from Khon Kaen University in Thailand, who supported Srisuka to collect black flies in Myanmar and Laos.
A full description of Simulium (Gomphostilbia) maleewongae, along with a key to identify 11 species of the Simulium gombakense species-group, is available online in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
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