Phoridae - Megaselia sp. - undescribed species
Megaselia sp. - undescribed species
Size: 1.91 mm
Group Guild Status
Eutroglophile Scavenger Uncommon
The scuttle fly genus Megaselia (family Phoridae) is one of the largest (number of species) genera of flies known (Disney and Campbell 2010), and there are many records of Megaselia spp. from caves worldwide. They are recorded from caves in the U.S. in Georgia (Reeves et al. 2000), Arkansas and Oklahoma (Barnes et al. 2009), Nevada (Disney et al. 2011) and Arizona (Pape 1994).
This species has been observed in Kartchner Caverns on several occasions. About eight of the flies were observed on a dead field cricket (Gryllus multipulsator) on the concrete slab in front of the Jackrabbit Shaft door on August 14, 2010. Five or six of the flies were observed on a dead kangaroo rat (Dipodomys sp.) on the tour trail just inside the Tarantula Tunnel on August 13, 2011. The flies were again observed on dead G. multipulsator crickets on August 14, 2012. The species apparently breeds successfully on both vertebrate and invertebrate carrion in the cave. The initial study mentions the presence of unidentified fly larvae on a dead cave cricket in Grand Central Station. This record could be Megaselia sp. This species is the resident dipterous decomposer of dead animals in the cave. Because we have found these flies only near a cave entrance (Jackrabbit Shaft), we suspect it is primarily a surface species. However, since the animal is capable of reproducing in the cave, it probably completes its life cycle in the cave at least occasionally. We therefore classify it as a eutroglophile. A manuscript describing this new species is currently being prepared.
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