The flower flies and the unknown diversity of Drosophilidae (Diptera): a biodiversity inventory in the Brazilian fauna


  • Hermes José Schmitz Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana (UNILA), Instituto Latino-Americano de Ciências da Vida e da Natureza (ILACVN) - Foz do Iguaçu, PR, Brasil.
  • Vera Lúcia da Silva Valente Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Instituto de Biociências (IBIO), Departamento de Zoologia, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Genética e Biologia Molecular (PPGBM) - Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.



Drosophila, Flower-breeding drosophilids, Flower visitors, Host plants, Niche


Diptera is a megadiverse order, reaching its peak of diversity in Neotropics, although our knowledge of dipteran fauna from this region is grossly lacking. This applies even to the most studied families, such as Drosophilidae. Despite its prominence, most aspects of the biology of these insects are still poorly understood, especially those linked to natural communities. Field studies on drosophilids are highly biased towards fruit-breeding species. Flower-breeding drosophilids, however, are worldwide distributed, especially in tropical regions, although being mostly neglected. The present paper shows the results of a biodiversity inventory of flower-breeding drosophilids carried out in several localities in Brazil, based on samples of 125 plant species, from 47 families. Drosophilids were found in flowers of 56 plant species, from 18 families. The fauna discovered turned out to be mostly unknown, comprising 28 species, with 12 of them (> 40%) still undescribed. Not taking into account opportunistic species, two-thirds of the flower-exclusive diversity was undescribed. The Drosophila bromeliae species group was the most representative taxon, with eight species (six undescribed), including four polyphagous and four Solanum-specialized species. This specialization on Solanum is reported for the first time for Drosophilidae. Other taxa of restricted flower-breeding drosophilids were the Drosophila lutzii species group and two species of the genus Zygothrica Wiedemann. Some specimens of the genera Cladochaeta Coquillett, Rhinoleucophenga Hendel and Scaptomyza Hardy were found, but their relations to flowers are unclear. Additionally, ten species of broad niche were found using flowers opportunistically. Localities and host plants were recorded for all species collected.


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Author Biographies

Hermes José Schmitz, Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana (UNILA), Instituto Latino-Americano de Ciências da Vida e da Natureza (ILACVN) - Foz do Iguaçu, PR, Brasil.

Avenida Tarquínio Joslin dos Santos, 1.000, Loteamento Universitário das Américas, CEP 85870‑901, Foz do Iguaçu, PR, Brasil.

Vera Lúcia da Silva Valente, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Instituto de Biociências (IBIO), Departamento de Zoologia, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Genética e Biologia Molecular (PPGBM) - Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.

Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9.500, Agronomia, CEP 91509‑900, Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.


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How to Cite

Schmitz, H. J., & Valente, V. L. da S. (2019). The flower flies and the unknown diversity of Drosophilidae (Diptera): a biodiversity inventory in the Brazilian fauna. Papéis Avulsos De Zoologia, 59, e20195945.



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