Drosophila spinipes Lamb

Grimaldi, David A. & Jones, Lance E., 2020, A Revision of the Drosophila spinipes Species Group (Diptera: Drosophilidae), Zootaxa 4809 (1), pp. 1-28: 8-10

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Drosophila spinipes Lamb


Drosophila spinipes Lamb  

Figs. 3 View FIGURE 3 F–G, 4G, 5F, 7G

Drosophila spinipes Lamb, 1914: 336   .

Drosophila (Hirtodrosophila) spinipes Lamb   : Tsacas, 1990.

Drosophila (Hirtodrosophila) suma Burla, 1954   : Tsacas, 2006 (as junior synonym).

Diagnosis: Thorax and head entirely light colored, a dark, dull, yellowish ochre, not dark black-brown or contrasting with legs and ventral pleura. Anterior reclinate midway between other two ipsilateral orbital setae; protarsomere 1 with 3 black, sclerotized spines (if present, spine no. 7 minute, unsclerotized), protarsomere 2 with 4 spines. Oviscapt uniquely with large terminal pegs and only 3 smaller pegs in ventral series. Male unknown.

Description: Coloration unique in group: light bodied, frons, face, mouthparts, scutum, scutellum, all of pleura dull, dark yellowish-ochre; abdominal tergites 2–5 with diffuse, darker markings, darkest on posterior margin of tergites, laterally diffuse. Setae, acrostichals reflect lighter than cuticle. Halter entirely light yellow. Costal spinules end ~0.3x distance from tips of R 2+3 and R 4+5. Protarsus with segment 1 slightly shorter than segment 2; with 7 black, heavily sclerotized spines, 4 on tarsomere 2, 3 spines on tarsomere 1 (spine 7 either absent or minute and not sclerotized), spine 8 slightly stouter than in other species. Oviscapt unique: apex truncate, pegs in dorsal triad and ventral pair in nearly a vertical row, these pegs significantly larger than ones in ventral series; apical notch deep, slight notch between ventral pair and ventral series, latter with only 3 small pegs. Measurements: Head: HD/HW 0.82; FL/LFW 1.41; EW/ED 0.71; OR2/OR1 0.81–0.88; OR3/OR1 1.09–0.94; OC/POC 1.50; FW/FD 0.62; ODB/ODA 0.52; Thorax: ThL mm.; UPS/LHS; LHS/ThL; ADC/PDC; AKE/PKE; LF1/LF2.

Holotype: None was designated by Lamb (1914), though specimen NHMUK 014335955 View Materials (described below) bears a small, round, red label “Type H.T.”, which may refer to “ holotype ”. Evenhuis (2007) gives a history of the BMNH practice of labeling specimens from an original syntype series, one as “ holotype ” and the others as “ paratype ”, as a wartime effort to sequester holotypes in a safe location outside London   . Lectotype designations ideally should be made in the context of a revision. Regrettably, many entomologists studying the BM collections have mistakenly interpreted these syntypes as original holotypes and paratypes, as Evenhuis (2007) explains. NHMUK 014335955 View Materials is designated here as the lectotype   .

Specimens Examined: Two specimens from the NHMUK were examined, both females and coming from two of the three localities in the Seychelles listed by Lamb (1914):

One, mounted with a minuten through a papered cork (handwritten “Praslin.48”) and through side of the thorax; minuten is corroded with crystalline raphides, otherwise the specimen is in relatively good condition with orbital and thoracic setae intact ( Figs. 3F View FIGURE 3 , 4G View FIGURE 4 ). Six labels, from top to bottom: a small, circular, blue-rimmed “ syntype ” label / a small, circular red-rimmed “Type H.T.” [? Holotype] label / “ Praslin ‘08, Seychelles Exp.” / “ Seychelles Is., Prof. J. S. Gardiner 1914-537” / small ID label “ D. spinipes Lamb   [handwritten] TYPE” [the latter blue, printed, and glued onto it / dot matrix label: “ NHMUK 014335955 View Materials ”. Not dissected.  

Second specimen is glued to its right side on small paper card (handwritten “36”), left wing missing, orbital setae intact but thoracic ones lost ( Fig. 3G View FIGURE 3 ). Left tibia+tarsus and portion of abdomen removed and macerated by DG, stored in microvial on pin with specimen. Four labels from top to bottom: small, circular, blue-rimmed “ syntype ” / “Mahe 1908-9, Seychelles Exp.” / “ Seychelles Is., Prof. J. S. Gardiner, 1914-537, [handwritten] D. spinipes Lamb   ” / dot matrix label: “ NHMUK 014335956 View Materials   .

Comments: Lamb (1914) provided a description of the species that was far ahead of its time in detail. It was based on a series of 5 females that he reported had the head, palpi, thorax [scutum] and scutellum “orange”, and an arista with 3 dorsal branches (vs. the typical 2) plus the terminal fork. These features deviate from all continental Africa specimens, presumably why Burla (1954) decided that suma   represented a different species. Our examination of two specimens from the series reveals that Lamb erred only with the number of aristal branches, which have the typical 2 dorsal ones.

Lamb (1914) mentioned specimens from three localities in the Seychelles: “Mahé, near Morne Blanc, X.1908 ”, “Silhouette: Mare aux Cochons, IX.1908 ”, and “Praslin: Côtes d’Or Estate, XI.1908.” Mahé is the largest, main island; the other two are considerably smaller, Silhouette ~ 25 km NW and Praslin ~ 35 km NE of Mahé. For geographical coordinates see the Appendix table   .

In his identification of specimens from Natal, South Africa, Tsacas (1990) did not indicate how he distinguished D. spinipes   from D. suma   , and he later formally synonymized D. suma   under D. spinipes ( Tsacas, 2006)   . He must not have seen the NHMUK type series, which are immediately recognizable as distinct from the flies from Madagascar and continental Africa. Specimens in the Kwazulu-Natal Museum bear Tsacas’ identification labels, indicating that he dissected a male and female specimen from these ( Tsacas, 1990). Our study of these specimens and dissections and the undissected ones from Natal finds that they are D. phalloserra   , n.sp.


Natural History Museum, London














Drosophila spinipes Lamb

Grimaldi, David A. & Jones, Lance E. 2020

Drosophila spinipes

Lamb, C. G. 1914: 336