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wingless fly - Puliciphora - female

wingless fly - Puliciphora - Female
Dummer, Coos County, New Hampshire, USA
March 27, 2007
Size: 1.5mm
Is this a Phorid like this one?

Images of this individual: tag all
wingless fly - Puliciphora - female wingless fly - Puliciphora - female

Moved from Chonocephalus.

It is a female Phorid and I would guess the genus Puliciphora. The males have wings. The antennae and the large palps with the long spines are very typical for a Phorid. But I'm no expert in this group so my genus identification is just a guess....
Nice fly!

On reexamining this pic I agr
On reexamining this pic I agree with Martin... the projection I saw seems to be the left antennae and not the frons... a closeup of the head would verify that and the presence of ocelli... but I think we could safely move this to Puliciphora

so you know, Joe, the phoridae chapter of Manual of Nearctic Diptera is kind of a mess. It probably works for these weird wingless ones, but I dunno. Brian Brown published an addendum to the manual to help clean up the phoridae chapter and include many genera that it missed. Here's the reference: Brown, B.V. 1988. Additions to the phorid chapter in the Manual of Nearctic Diptera, Volume 2 (Diptera: Phoridae). Canadian Entomologist. 120: 307-322.

That's one nice bit of work you did in deducing what genus this fly belongs to. Thanks Joe, and I agree the write-up on how an id was determined is very helpful.

I've done my best to key this
I've done my best to key this out (using McAlpines manual) and I'll give you the rundown so everyone can follow along

there are 3 subfamilies listed

Aengigmatiinae - 6 widespread spp.; females wingless and "roachlike"; seperated by the dorsal position of the anterior spiracle... judging by the illustration in McAlpine this is not our critter

Phorinae - wings fully-developed in both sexes... obviously not our critter

that leaves the Metopininae, with 2 tribes

Beckerinini - 5 widespread species; seperated by minutiae of bristles on the frons & tibial hairs/bristles... from what I gather, this must be a fully winged group

which would leave us with the tribe Metopinini, having only 3 genera with species lacking wings & halteres

Trophodeinus - head/thorax longer than broad... not our critter

Puliciphora - 7 widespread species; Ocelli present; frons not projecting

Chonocephalus - 3 spp. Ontario/Eastern US; Ocelli absent, frons projecting between antennae

I can't tell on the ocelli, but it seems like the frons matches the illustration of Chonocephalus... so I'm going to call that your critter... and it would be a female, as males have wings

On a sidenote: I wish more contributors to this site would elaborate on how they deduce their identifications... I know a lot of times it's based on gestalt that comes from experience with the group... but for this site to be useful to the amateurs out there we should all make an effort to give some details in our elucidations...


Not so sure about this level of detail, says a amateur.
Joe, I benefited from this info because I'm interested in learning a bit - just a bit - more about the keying process. The problem in distributing info like is knowing the knowledge level of your reader. When you get past halteres and ocelli, you lose me. And you'd lose many other people even before that.

To understand a crucial point that cements an ID, I'd go to the effort to look up terms I didn't know. But basically, I want to spend my time shooting. And anything that gets in the way of an expert making more IDs is something I hope doesn't happen.

I appreciate your desire to make us all more knowledgeable. What I would most like to learn falls into two categories:

1. What I should shoot to aid fast, accurate identification. (Example: venation in a bee fly.)

2. What I can logically expect in the way of an ID. (Example: Can't get this bug to species without genital dissection.)

You've been doing a lot of great work here, and I hope I didn't cause any grief. My background is in marketing communications, so I'm super sensitive about the importance of knowing what an audience doesn't know.

I agree with your point... my
I agree with your point... my comment is aimed more for the benefit of the intermediate entomologists out there (myself included)who use bugguide... this site can provide a useful learning tool for ALL levels of knowledge, but only if the more knowledgeable contributors go the extra mile to explain the details that allow for identification... we'd all gain far more if we were learning how to make the identifications rather than just being given the ID

Glad we're in accord. I think we have much to learn from each other.

This is a Puliciphora female, not Chonocephalus.

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