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Neosciara macfarlanei

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From Another Pitcher-Plant Insect (Diptera, Sciarainae) and unpublished notes by Frank Morton Jones

[Click the map for a larger view]

Localities (See Map)

    • Summerville, SC
    • Southern Pines, NC
    • Theodore, Mobile County, AL
    • Biloxi and Wiggins, MS
    • Philadelphia, PA (introduced)



Sarracenia sledgei, S. drummondi, S. rubra, S. flava, S. minor


Egg—Pear shaped, 0.38mm long, 0.21mm greatest width; translucent polished pale yellow; deposited on inner leaf wall above the insect remains.

Larva—Of the usual Sciara form, with brownish black chitinized head; in color varying individually[Neosciara macfarlane larva] from yellowish white to rather bright yellow; the dark contents of the digestive tract, in which insect fragments are recognizable, showing through the translucent integument; segments 6, 7, 8, and 9 of almost uniform diameter, from these tapering somewhat anteriorly and posteriorly; eight pairs of spiracles marked by minute polished black rounded protuberances; length before pupation 10mm; usually from three to a dozen or more larvae occupy an infested pitcher. Click the image to the right for a larger view.

[Neosciara macfarlanei pupa]Pupa—Suspended among or imbedded in froth-like white filaments; often several pupae in close proximity in a common froth-mass which is denser about each pupa, thus approximating a frail cocoon-like structure, from which the pupa pushes its way before emergence of the fly; pupa yellowish white, soon darkening, especially the eyes, with the pigmentation of the imago; base of antennae prominently arched over the eyes, but not in contact medially; abdominal spiracles marked by minute concolorous pointed projections; length about 4mm. Click the image to the left for a larger view.

Imago, ♀ and ♂—Length 3 to (♀) 3.8mm, dry; live females often slightly exceed 4.5mm; fuscous black to black; head and thorax denser in color than the abdomen, somewhat polished, finely punctate, hairs black. Eyes black, finely pubescent, their finger shaped frontal projections failing of contact by less than width between antennae; lateral ocelli remote from eye margins, inclined on a rather prominent ocellar protuberance. Palpi and antennae smoky; intermediate joints of the flagellum twice as long as wide, last flagellar joint elongated; antennae of ♀ about 1/6 shorter than those of the ♂.

Halteresslender, finely pubescent, smoky, the stems pale; coxae and femora brownish-yellow, with dark hairs; tibae darker, more smoky, and tarsi almost black; trochanters dark beneath; length of hind tibia to tarsus, as 100 to 85.

Wingsbrownish-hyaline; costa, radius, and R-M cv. setose; cubitus and media not setose, except[Neosciara macfarlanei wing] that basal section of media of ♂ usually bears one or two setae; costa produced fully 2/3 of way from Rs to M 1; Rs and M 2 end about equidistant from the base of the wing; the base of Rs is slightly distad of the midpoint between the humeral cross-vein and the tip of R'; subcosta very faint, ends free, proximad of the origin of Rs; R 1 ends slightly proximad base of fork of M (in measured wings, from 1/26 to 1/10 of wing-length proximad); petiole of cubitus about same length as basal section of media. Click the image to the right for a larger view.

Abdomenblack haired; lateral band (in fresh examples) yellowish brown; the distended body of the ♀ dries to and almost uniform smoky brown, paler than that of the ♂; hypopygium dark, claspers subglose, shortly stemmed to and more than half as long as the preceding joint, and with no mesal processes or differentiated apical spines: lamellae of ♀ ovipositor about 1 1/3 times as long as broad.

[Neosciara macfarlanei]In 1910 at Biloxi, Mississippi, as early as March 10th, the larvae of this insect were abundant, the pupae occasional, in those pitchers of Sarracenia sledgei which had remained green throughout the winter; the earliest observed emergence of the fly occurred March 27th; the eggs are deposited in the new pitchers of the season, soon after these have commenced to capture insect prey, and the insect in its various stages occurs in the pitchers through the summer months, no regular succession of broods observed, though very irregular in its comparative abundance from year to year, and in its recorded localities.

Click the image to the left for a larger view.

Named for Dr. John M. Macfarlane, Univesity of Pennsylvania who initially discovered the organism while describing Sarraceniaceae. 

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