138/150: Lonchopteridae – Flies without fathers

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Diptera: Lonchopteridae: Lonchoptera: Lonchoptera bifurcata (Fallen, 1810)

Lonchoptera bifurcata is known as a pointed-winged or spear winged fly with a Holarctic distribution. This means the species is found in all non-tropical regions across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa! The fly can be distinguished from similar species due to the pale-coloured bristles behind the eye, bristles on the front of the tibiae of the first legs, and the distinct sharply pointed wings. L. bifurcata are found in different areas depending on the life stage. Larvae will be found among decaying organic matter like leaves and logs, while adults are more commonly found in most ditches and damp lawns. What’s interesting is that males of the species are not that commonly found, because of this, females have been found to produce young parthenogenetically where unfertilized eggs develop into live young! #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Dorsal view of Lonchoptera bifurcata, commonly found in cities across Canada. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Lonchoptera bifurcata posing on a leaf. Photo Credit: Sanja565658 goo.gl/GR4pp1
Lonchoptera bifurcata showing off its wings in Eifel National Park, Germany. Photo Credit: Sarefo goo.gl/w6vULE

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: BBDIP089-09

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Lonchoptera bifurcata

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAG9974

108/150: Dead moose, buffet, fighting arena, or dance floor? For waltzing flies, it’s all the above

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Diptera: Piophilidae: Piophilinae: Prochyliza: Prochyliza xanthostoma (Walker, 1849)

This North American fly occurs in forests, aggregating around moose carcasses as they are carrion feeders. Females will wait on vegetation surrounding a carcass and watch males combat on the carcass. The flies are sexually dimorphic and males have larger antennae, head capsules, and foretarsi for competing in combat. Continue reading “108/150: Dead moose, buffet, fighting arena, or dance floor? For waltzing flies, it’s all the above”

101/150: Not a banana, not a mango, it’s a pawpaw fruit!

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Magnoliales: Annonaceae: Asimina: Asimina triloba Linnaeus, Dunal

What do you get when you cross the taste of a banana with the look and texture of a mango? A pawpaw fruit! Believe it or not, the tropical-looking pawpaw tree, which is native to North America, gives the largest tree berry in all of North America. When blossoming, the common pawpaw (Asimina tribola) can give off an unpleasant odour. Continue reading “101/150: Not a banana, not a mango, it’s a pawpaw fruit!”

89/150: Bizarre parenting brought to you by the Bot Fly

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Diptera: Oestridae: Cuterebra: Cuterebra fontinella (Clark, 1827)

Nothing says parenting like leaving your young in the flesh of mammals to grow up. Members of the genus Cuterebra can be found parasitizing different hosts, but they all share the same process of parasitism. Adult bot flies are non-feeding with vestigial mouthparts that evolution rendered unusable. That leaves mating as their main goal for their life stage. Males wait for females and will mate with them in air. Females locate an area where hosts visit frequently through chemical cues, and will lay around 1200-4000 eggs. Being able to respond to changes in temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations, the larvae will hatch in response to the presence of a host, and aim to enter the host through the nostrils or open wounds. Once in a host, larvae will go through many stages of growth called instars and then drop out of the host and pupate in the ground. Finally, they emerge as adults ready to start the process again. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

An adult Cuterebra fontinella. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
A Cuterebra larva that would typically be found within the skin of mice and other rodents. Photo Credit: Sean McCann goo.gl/G8f53g

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  BBDEC095-09

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Bot Fly

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAH0836

79/150: Flying, with its legs! – The Phantom Crane fly

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Diptera: Ptychopteridae: Bittacomorpha clavipes (Fabricus, 1781)

No, that’s not a giant black mosquito. The Ptychopteridae family, (phantom crane flies), are a small family of Nemotocera (“longhorned flies”) related to mosquitos, true crane flies and blackflies. A common North American species, Bittacomorpha clavipes, is found east of the Rocky Mountains. Continue reading “79/150: Flying, with its legs! – The Phantom Crane fly”

Microscope Imaging And Plankton Sampling

After completing the imaging for the Saudi Arabian specimens, we are starting the next material in our queue, the Argentina, Russia, and Costa Rica Global Malaise Projects. Continue reading “Microscope Imaging And Plankton Sampling”