Translator Disclaimer
1 March 2017 First Report of “Hunter-Fly” Coenosia attenuata (Diptera: Muscidae) in Mexico
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Coenosia attenuata Stein (Diptera: Muscidae) is a predatory fly that feeds on other insects and can be used as a potential biological control agent. This insect is native to southern Europe; however, it has been distributed naturally to various continents, including North and South America, and is reported herein for the first time in Mexico. The flies were found preying on whiteflies, psyllids, fungus gnats, leaf miners, and vinegar flies in greenhouses with organic vegetable production.

The family Muscidae (Diptera) is a large group of flies that occupy a great number of ecological niches, and they are found in almost all biogeographic regions. Muscidae possess diverse feeding habits, although most of the species are coprophagous or saprophagous. However, some species are phytophagous or are predators of other arthropods (Huckett & Vockeroth 1987; Carvalho et al. 2005). The subfamily Coenosiinae includes species that are predators in their larval and adult stages. They feed on other insects and can potentially be used as agents for biological control. This is the case for species of the genus Coenosia.

Fig. 1.

Adults and male genitalia of Coenosia attenuata. A) Sexual dimorphism with female on the left, male on the right, B) ventral, lateral, and dorsal views of male genitalia, and C) a female C. attenuata preying on a fungus gnat.

f01_174.jpg

According to Sorokina (2014), 352 species of the genus Coenosia have been described worldwide. Of these, 39 are found in the Neotropical region (Carvalho et al. 2005). In Mexico, however, studies on this genus are practically non-existent. For this reason, we intend to contribute knowledge on the diversity of the Coenosia species that are present in Mexico.

During April 2016, we collected a predator fly that occurs naturally in the municipality of Zapopan, Jalisco (20.79747°N, 103.44381°W), in greenhouses where peppers (Capsicum annuum L.; Solanaceae) are produced organically. Based on the report by Pohl et al. (2012) and the keys for Coenosia species published by Xue & Tong (2003), the species was identified as Coenosia attenuata Stein. This species is commonly called “hunter fly.” Figure 1A shows adults of both sexes. The female is larger and darker than the male. Figure 1B shows different perspectives of the male genitalia as support for identification of the species. The specimens were deposited in the collection at Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Montecillo (Texcoco, Mexico).

Coenosia attenuata originated in southern Europe (Hennig 1964) and is currently distributed in several countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania (Hennig 1964; Pohl et al. 2012). In South America, it has been reported in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile (Martínez-Sánchez et al. 2002; Perez 2006; Couri & Salas 2010); in Central America it occurs in Costa Rica (Hernández 2008); and in North America it is found in the United States and Canada (Hoebeke et al. 2003). This report represents the first incidence of Coenosia attenuata in Mexico.

We observed the flies feeding on several adult insect taxonomic groups: whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci Gennadius; Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), potato-tomato psyllids (Bactericera cockerelli Sulc; Hemiptera: Triozidae), fungus gnats (Diptera: Sciaridae) (Fig. 1C), leaf miners (Lyriomiza sp.; Diptera: Agromyzidae), and vinegar flies (Drosophila sp.; Diptera: Drosophilidae). With the exception of the last of these taxonomic groups, all are or contain major pests of several important crops.

The flies generally land on the upper face of the leaves, on stems, or on structures used to support the pepper plants. Often, they catch their prey in flight. Through observation of their behavior, it appears that this species possesses vision adapted to respond to rapid movements. On occasion, the flies attacked small balls made of pieces of leaf that were dropped near to them.

Growers use yellow traps with an adhesive to capture whiteflies, but they also capture many adults of C. attenuata. If we are to preserve or increase the population of this beneficial species, the impact of this method of whitefly monitoring and control should be evaluated.

References Cited

1.

Carvalho CJB, Couri MS, Pont AC, Pamplona D, Lopes SM. 2005. A catalogue of the Muscidae (Diptera) of Neotropical Region. Zootaxa 860: 1–282. Google Scholar

2.

Couri MS, Salas C. 2010. First record of Coenosia attenuata Stein (Diptera, Muscidae) from Chile with biological notes. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia 54: 144–145. Google Scholar

3.

Hennig W. 1964. Muscidae, pp. 1955–1964 In Lindner E [ed.], Die Fliegen der Paläartktischen Region Volume 7. Schweizerbart Science Publishers, Stuttgart, Germany. Google Scholar

4.

Hernández JR. 2008. Presencia de la “mosca tigre” en Costa Rica. Actualidad Fitosanitaria 33: 3. Google Scholar

5.

Hoebeke ER, Sensenbach EJ, Sanderson JP, Wraight SP. 2003. First report of Coenosia attenuata Stein (Diptera: Muscidae), an Old World ‘hunter fly' in North America. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 105: 769–775. Google Scholar

6.

Huckett HC, Vockeroth JC. 1987. Muscidae, pp. 1115–1131 In McAlpine JF, Peterson BV, Shewell GE, Teskey HJ, Vockeroth JR, Wood DM [eds.], Manual of Nearctic Diptera Volume 2, Monograph No. 28. Canada Communications Group, Ottawa, Canada. Google Scholar

7.

Martinez-Sanchez A, Marcos-Garcia MA, Pont AC. 2002. Coenosia attenuata Stein, 1903 (Diptera: Muscidae) nueva especie para la fauna neotropical. Bollettino di Zoologia Agraria e di Bachicoltura, Series II 34: 269–272. Google Scholar

8.

Pérez MM. 2006. Estudio de la morfología externa de los adultos de la mosca cazadora Coenosia attenuata Stein, 1903 (Diptera: Muscidae), y primer reporte para Colombia. Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Básicas 2: 67–87. Google Scholar

9.

Pohl D, Kühne S, Karaca İ, Moll E. 2012. Review of Coenosia attenuata Stein and its first record as a predator of important greenhouse pests in Turkey. Phytoparasitica 40: 63–68. Google Scholar

10.

Sorokina VS. 2014. On the taxonomy of the genus Coenosia Meigen, 1826 (Diptera, Muscidae) in the Russian fauna, with a description of Coenosia tschernovi sp. n. Entomological Review 94: 630–638. Google Scholar

11.

Xue W-Q, Tong Y-F. 2003. A taxonomic study on Coenosia tigrina species-group (Diptera: Muscidae) in China. Acta Entomologica Sinica 10: 281–290. Google Scholar
Néstor Bautista-Martínez, Carlos Patricio Illescas-Riquelme, and Clemente de Jesus García-Ávila "First Report of “Hunter-Fly” Coenosia attenuata (Diptera: Muscidae) in Mexico," Florida Entomologist 100(1), 174-175, (1 March 2017). https://doi.org/10.1653/024.100.0126
Published: 1 March 2017
JOURNAL ARTICLE
2 PAGES


SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
Back to Top