Melaloncha (Melaloncha) peacockorum, Brown, Brian V., 2016

Brown, Brian V., 2016, Two new bee-killing flies from Brazil (Insecta: Diptera: Phoridae: Melaloncha), Biodiversity Data Journal 4, pp. 7715-7715 : 7715

publication ID

publication LSID

persistent identifier

taxon LSID

treatment provided by

Biodiversity Data Journal by Pensoft

scientific name

Melaloncha (Melaloncha) peacockorum

sp. n.

Melaloncha (Melaloncha) peacockorum   ZBK   sp. n.


Type status: Holotype. Occurrence: catalogNumber: LACM ENT 335990 ; recordedBy: Amorim, Ribeiro, Berbert; sex: female; lifeStage: adult; Location: country: Brazil; stateProvince: SP; locality: Reserva Biologica Boraceia ; verbatimLatitude: 23°39'S; verbatimLongitude: 45°53'W; verbatimCoordinateSystem: degrees minutes; Event: samplingProtocol: Shannon trap; eventDate: 2009-11-20/25; verbatimEventDate: 20-25 November 2009; Record Level: type: PhysicalObject; institutionCode: LACM; collectionCode: ENT; ownerInstitutionCode: MZSP; basisOfRecord: PreservedSpecimen GoogleMaps  


Female (Figs 1, 2, 3, 4). Body length approximately 3.0 mm. Frons orange, except ocellar triangle black; sculpturing finely reticulate with numerous punctures, most bearing setae. Frons 0.38 head width. Dorsal interfrontal setae absent. Flagellomere 1 orange. Palpus whitish-yellow, with long, black setae. Dorsal postocular setae black; genal and other postocular setae black. Scutum dark (Fig. 3), except anterolaterally yellow. Anterior scutellar seta long, thick, posterior scutellar setae missing from specimen. Pleuron various colors, from yellow to black. Legs yellow. Foretibia with irregular dorsal bare area. Foretarsomeres unmodified. Posterior claw of foreleg not enlarged, claws lobed at base. Costa 0.52 wing length. Wing vein R2+3 absent. Halter yellow. Abdominal tergites black with silvery iridescence. Venter of abdomen yellow. Oviscape black, setose, with rounded, shorter dorsal lobe and longer ventral lobe ending in pair of divergent processes.


Dark colored Melaloncha (Melaloncha)   with wide, orange, punctate frons, and oviscape with blunt, dorsal, median lobe plus more ventral, bifurcate lobe. In the most recent key to Melaloncha (Melaloncha)   species ( Brown 2006), M. peacockorum   does not successfully pass couplets 5 to 6, which should be modified as follows:

5. Oviscape with apical pair of divergent, narrow setose processes... .5a

- Oviscape lacking setose processes, or, if present, such processes arising ventrally and anterior to apex (as in oviscapes of the M. cingulata   group- Brown 2004b)... ..6

5a. Setae of divergent apical processes long, curved, dorsally directed (fig. 32 in Brown 2006); body color mostly yellow..... M. ciliata   Brown

- Setae of apical processes shorter, straight, not predominantly dorsally directed; body color mostly dark... . M. peacockorum   n. sp.


Named for the Peacock family at the request of Jon Peacock, a supporter of the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (LACM).




Like most Melaloncha   species, this fly is probably a parasitoid of stingless bees. It was collected with a Shannon trap, whose operation I have observed in Brazil. The trap is a large structure consisting of a square of black netting, about 3 m in length on each side, with outer walls of the same material. In construction it is like a large box missing the bottom side. The trap is suspended so that the sides are about 0.3 m above the ground, allowing insects access to the bait. Many insects attempt to escape by flying upwards, rather than using the small opening at ground level, and thus get caught in the top of the trap.

The bait used by the researchers is placed in a shallow pit near the center, and consists of a couple of fish, chicken meat, various vegetables, a bag of oatmeal, some mushrooms, human feces, and urine. This smorgasborg "ripens" over several days and attracts hordes of flies, but also other insects including stingless bees, which are frequently attracted to protein ( Roubik 1989). Probably, an aggregation of such bees attracted this fly.