Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Grand Exhibit Hall (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
The neotropics probably harbors the greatest diversity of tachinids of any biogeographic realm, yet it remains one of the most poorly known faunas. The Exoristine tribe Blondeliini is particularly species rich in this region and is in desperate need of taxonomic attention. Here, I present preliminary results of a revision of the neotropical genus Erythromelana (Townsend) including the redescription of E. jaena Townsend, E. nigrothorax (Wulp) and the description of seven new species. In addition, Myiodoriops marginalis (Townsend) and Hypostena obumbrata (Wulp), which were previously assigned into this genus, are resurrected as distinct genera. Members of this genus are distributed over much of northern South America and Central America, North to Mexico. A collection of 570 museum and 29 specimens reared from Geometridae were used to construct a detailed morphological and morphometric database (n=220), including female (n=40) and male genitalia (n=70). The nine currently known species form two major species groups, which are separated by the presence/absence of a pair of long bristles on the 5th sternite of males. A principal component analysis of 72 characters separates the Erythromelana species from the non-Erythromelana species M. marginalis and H. obumbrata, and supports the two major species groups. In addition, the tri-trophic associations between Erythromelana, their geometrid hosts in the genus Eois, and the hosts food plants in the genus Piper are described and analyzed.