Photon Challenge: New Hints

A closer view of a mitey fly

Kaitlin and Ray have both demonstrated that even the smaller of the two mites hitching a ride on our fly can be identified to family from a not so great photo: heteromorphic deutonymphs (aka hypopi) of a member of the Histiostomatidae. They also correctly placed the larger mite to order: Mesostigmata. Not much luck on the fly, though, so I guess that means mites are easier to identify than flies? Anyone who has struggled with the generic key for this family in Nearctic Diptera might very well say yes. However, the family of the fly should be an easy guess for a dipterist.

Genus anyone?

Here’s a light microscope view (this is a Photon Challenge) of the venter of one of the histiostomatid hypopodes (yet another name for these deutonymphs) and a closeup of one of the pretarsal claws. The ventral shot is layered from three images in the wonderful CombineZP and the claw from two shots. The host association and characters visible in this image should give the discerning astigmatologist a good guess at the genus (I have checked with the North American authority on this one and he had no problem).

I’ll give one more hint on the mesostigmatans too – they also are deutonymphs.

5 Responses to “Photon Challenge: New Hints”

  1. Ray Fisher Says:

    Ah ha! There are the scutellar hairs I was looking for! So, this is an anthomyiid, and not Fucellia (seaweed flies) because they don’t have those hairs, right? There are anthomyiids on rotting vegetation, but I don’t know about poop… maybe my poop fly hypothesis was wrong.

  2. macromite Says:

    You got it! You’d probably have to have the specimen in hand to get to genus. Anthomyiids all look alike to me and the generic key is possibly the most difficult in Nearctic Diptera. Usually when I show one to my dipterist friend he says ‘no way’, but he gave this one a go and got an answer.

    I will reveal all once a fair amount of time has elapsed, but if you want to test your library skills, here is another hint:

    An unidentified species in the same genus was the most abundant arthropod in a survey of tortoise gopher burrows in Mississippi.

  3. Ray Fisher Says:

    I’m almost embarrassed to say I think I know the genus… I was interested in gopher tortoise burrows when I was an undergrad at Auburn… who knew this knowledge would ever be useful! Is it Eutrichota?

  4. macromite Says:

    Score again to Ray!

  5. Ray Fisher Says:

    Not sure I’m proud to get that one correct… maybe that’s an indication I should go out more often 🙂

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