fruitflies - or Megaselia?

Chris Jones & Deirdre Sumpter 4christopher.jones at nashville.com
Wed Aug 26 23:36:09 EST 1998


In article <l03020900b209b4893ec5@[129.93.45.115]>, acc at BIOCOMP.UNL.EDU
("Alan C. Christensen, Ph.D.") wrote:

> However, some of the time the infestations may not be fruit flies.  We have
> recently had a problem with Megaselia scelaris in our building.  Megaselia

Ultra-cool. We also had (briefly) a few of these in the lab, and I
cultured a gravid female just for fun. Eventually I went out to the Ag
station for an ID, where they told me that it was some sort of phorid (I
hadn't brought a sample with me, intending only to borrow a book on
identifying Diptera, but the scuttling movement and muscular-looking legs
were enough for the guy). I thought about trying to do some salivary gland
squashes with them, figuring it might be easier for students to use larger
larvae, but the cultures just smelled too nasty.

Now we have a new interloper, looks like a Drosophilid but somewhat
larger, mottled grey-black all over the body. All virgin females so far,
or else they refuse to lay eggs in cornmeal-molasses medium. Any guesses
from the audience as to what these might be? As Alan said, we get blamed
now for anything small and flying (there were no fly labs in the building
until our two arrived); I'd at least like to know what to tell people.

> They are also the bane of the mausoleum industry, because the females lay
> eggs at the cracks of "sealed" coffins, and the larvae are very good at
> getting in and feeding, hence their other common name, coffin flies.

Cool. Gruesome, but cool.

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