Lonchaea sp., copyright Kurt Schaefer.

Belongs within: Tephritoidea.

The Lonchaeidae, lance flies, are a group of small, mostly shiny black to dark metallic flies whose larvae are found mostly in damaged plant tissue or decaying vegetation. Poststigmatal setae are present in members of the genus Dasiops but not in the remaining genera in the Lonchaeinae. Lonchaeinae may be divided between the Lonchaeini, with a setulose lunule, and Earomyiini, in which the lunule is bare (Norrbom & Korytkowski 2010).

Characters (from McAlpine 1987): Stout-bodied hairy flies, 3–6 mm long, usually shining blue black, sometimes dull brown, with a wide high head and a broad flat abdomen. Wing usually clear, occasionally yellowish to brownish fumose. Head with frons narrower in male than in female; interfrontal area strongly sclerotised and hairy; orbital plate reaching one-quarter to one-third distance from vertex to lunule; lunule large, exposed, and bare or setulose. Face broad, depressed, usually without strong facial carina or antennal grooves. A single reclinate orbital bristle present; ocellar and inner and outer vertical bristles strong; postocellar bristles divergent, rather weak; one to several rows of subvibrissal hairs present below eyes; no distinct vibrissae present, but sometimes one or more subvibrissal hairs enlarged and vibrissa-like. First flagellomere short and porrect to long and decumbent, black to yellowish orange; arista bare to pubescent or plumose. Palpus moderately large, fairly broad, flattened at apex. Compound eye large, round to high oval, pilose or bare. Scutum rather strongly arched, always black or brown in background color, pruinose to highly polished; setulae, hairs, and bristles fairly dense and strong. One postpronotal, one presutural supra-alar, two notopleural, one postsutural supra-alar, two postalar, two postsutural dorsocentral, and two prescutellar acrostichal bristles present; a weak postsutural intra-alar bristle also frequently present; scutellum with four marginal bristles, i.e. an anterior pair and a posterior pair, with or without additional hairs on margins, apex, and disc; proepisternum with a single bristle; proepimeron with one to many hairs; declivity above anterior spiracle with or without poststigmatal bristles; katepisternum with one to three bristles and numerous setulae; anepisternum with numerous hairs and bristles, sometimes without anterodorsal ones but always with posterior ones; anepimeron usually bare, sometimes with one to several hairs in middle; meron bare. Prosternum usually bare, sometimes with a few fine hairs at side; metasternal area bare. Wing rather strongly tapered from base to apex, i.e. anal lobe and alula well-developed. C extending to M, constricted but not completely broken at position of humeral and subcostal breaks; Sc complete and free from R1; pterostigmal section (between insertions of Sc and R1) short to long; cells bm and dm separated; cell cup present; A1 continuing to or near to wing margin as a fold or not. Upper calypter well-developed, with whitish to brownish margins and fringes; cilia at calyptral fold often longer, stronger, and darker than others. Halter entirely blackish. Legs stocky; coxae, femora, and tibiae blackish; tarsi yellow to black. Femora rather swollen with many hairs and bristles. Tibiae with many rows of setulae but very few bristles; preapical dorsal bristle usually indistinguishable except occasionally on mid tibia; apicoventral bristle present on mid tibia. Abdomen broad and flat. Seven pairs of spiracles in membrane adjacent to respective tergites and sternites. Male terminalia with tergite 6 rarely present, otherwise absent or indistinguishably fused with tergite 5; sternite 6 varying from well-developed, symmetric, separate, and in a ventral position to reduced, asymmetric, fused with sternites 7 and 8, and shifted to a laterodorsal position on left side. Tergite 9, the epandrium, and sternite 9, the hypandrium, and associated structures symmetric; gonopod with base broadly fused to hypandrium, always with a tiny setula on inner face near apex; paramere reduced and semi-membranous to strongly developed and toothed; aedeagal guide sometimes fairly elaborate; surstylus articulated with lateral margins of epandrium, occasionally pendulant, otherwise at least partially enclosed within lateral margins of epandrium in other genera, with or without strong prensisetae. Aedeagus short, unsegmented, and spout-like to elongate, bisegmented, and ornamented. Cerci in form of simple lobes that are usually flap-like, variously sclerotised, and hairy, rarely tooth-like and bare. Female with abdominal sternite 6 and sometimes sternite 5 with a median anteriorly directed apodeme arising from anterior margin; tergite 7 and sternite 7 fused laterally, each with a pair of long flexible straplike extensions from posterior margin. Segment 8 in form of four elongate rods that make up main shaft of ovipositor; cerci fused to form short, variously shaped, and bristled apical segment of ovipositor; three spermathecae present, usually elongate and wrinkled, but sometimes bell-shaped or spherical and smooth. Larva slender, rather peg-shaped in outline, smooth except for ventral creeping welts. Cephalopharyngeal skeleton consisting of following paired structures: a stout untoothed mandible (mouth hook), a quadrangular to triangular dental sclerite, an elongate hypopharyngeal sclerite, a slender parastomal bar, and a more or less anvil-shaped tentoropharyngeal sclerite. Anterior spiracles each with five to ten papillae arranged fan-wise. Posterior spiracles each on a raised heavily sclerotised stump-like posterior spiracular tubercle; each spiracular plate usually with a dorsolateral lobe or ridge; each spiracle with three oval radially arranged slits and four groups of branched spiracular hairs.

<==Lonchaeidae NK10
    |--Dasiops [Dasiopinae] NK10
    |    |--D. alveofrons NK10
    |    `--D. saltans NK10
    `--Lonchaeinae NK10
         |--Earomyiini NK10
         |    |--Earomyia aberrans NK10
         |    |--Protearomyia trichopleura NK10
         |    |--Chaetolonchaea americana NK10
         |    `--Lamprolonchaea NK10
         |         |--L. brouniana CM91
         |         |--L. metatarsata O98
         |         `--L. smaragdi NK10 [incl. L. aurea M87]
         `--Lonchaeini NK10
              |--Setisquamalonchaea fumosa NK10, M87
              |--Neosilba NK10
              |    |--N. batesi NK10
              |    `--N. perezi NK10
              |--Silba NK10
              |    |--S. devians NK10
              |    |--S. gibbosa O98
              |    `--S. pendula M99
              `--Lonchaea NK10
                   |--L. aristella RD77
                   |--L. corticis NK10
                   |--L. dasyops K01
                   |--L. laevis BM76
                   |--L. polita NK10
                   `--L. striatifrons M81

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BM76] Bohart, R. M., & A. S. Menke. 1976. Sphecid Wasps of the World. University of California Press: Berkeley.

[CM91] Colless, D. H., & D. K. McAlpine. 1991. Diptera (flies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 717–786. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[K01] Kertész, K. 1901. Legyek [Dipteren]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 179–201. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[M81] McAlpine, J. F. 1981. Morphology and terminology—adults. In: McAlpine, J. F., B. V. Peterson, G. E. Shewell, H. J. Teskey, J. R. Vockeroth & D. S. Wood (eds) Manual of Nearctic Diptera vol. 1 pp. 9–63. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada.

[M87] McAlpine, J. F. 1987. Lonchaeidae. In: McAlpine, J. F. (ed.) Manual of Nearctic Diptera vol. 2 pp. 791–797. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada.

[M99] Moraes, G. J. de. 1999. Pest status of the cassava green mite in Brazil and strategies for its control. In: Needham, G. R., R. Mitchell, D. J. Horn & W. C. Welbourn (eds) Acarology IX vol. 2. Symposia pp. 287–291. Ohio Biological Survey: Columbus (Ohio).

[NK10] Norrbom, A. L., & C. A. Korytkowski. 2010. Lonchaeidae (lance flies). In: Brown, B. V., A. Borkent, J. M. Cumming, D. M. Wood, N. E. Woodley & M. A. Zumbado (eds) Manual of Central American Diptera vol. 2 pp. 857–863. NRC Research Press: Ottawa.

[O98] Oosterbroek, P. 1998. The Families of Diptera of the Malay Archipelago. Brill: Leiden.

[RD77] Richards, O. W., & R. G. Davies. 1977. Imms' General Textbook of Entomology 10th ed. vol. 2. Classification and Biology. Chapman and Hall: London.

Last updated: 2 July 2021.

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