The genus Blepharoneura contains many undescribed and unobserved species of fly. All species Blepharoneura with known host records feed on plants in the family Cucurbitaceae and all are plant part specific. Some place their eggs in female flowers; some in male flowers. Recently, flies were reared from both the female and male flowers of Gurania makoyana in Costa Rica. We wanted to see if the flies reared from G. makoyana follow the pattern of “plant part specificity” found in other Blepharoneura. Are all the flies that feed on flowers of G. makoyana conspecific or are there two species of Blepharoneura–one that feeds on male flowers and one that feeds on female flowers? Previous genetic data suggest there are two genetically different species. Courtship behavior and morphological characteristics of wings and genitalia provided additional evidence that these newly found specimens of Blepharoneura are actually two distinct species.
Behaviorally, the species that feeds on male flowers of G. makoyana seemed to be significantly more aggressive during courtship: flies moved more and these were the only flies actually to mate. Analysis of wing patterns revealed significant differences in a combination of spot presence, size, and position. Characters of the ovipositor and epandrium also differed between species.
Jay Sturges, ’01 Garden Prairie, IL
Sponsor: Martha Condon