Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

NHM BioSCAN Project finds 30 New Species of Flies in LA

30 New Fly Species Found by NHM BioSCAN Project

The Natural History Museum’s BioSCAN Project has found thirty phorid fly species in a single genus that are new to science. As previously reported in the Buzz, the BioSCAN (Biodiversity Science: City and Nature) was launched a year ago by the LA County Natural History Museum’s entomology department to record the insect biodiversity of Los Angeles. The museum set up approximately 30 traps around the city to collect insects with help of volunteer hosts.

“These discoveries came after just three months of project sampling, which yielded over 10,000 specimens for examination,” wrote report authors Emily Hartop, Brian Brown and R. Henry L. Disney, scientists at NHM in the science journal Zootaxa. “This is our first glimpse into the unknown richness of urban biodiversity in Los Angeles, and points to the tremendous deficiency of taxonomic knowledge about the fauna immediately surrounding the homes and wflyorkspaces of researchers. Apparently, we need not travel far to have plentiful opportunities for studying biodiversity.”

On her BioSCAN blog, Emily Hartop, Assistant Collections Manager Entomology, details the discovery process describing how she learned to identify the various species of the genus Megaselia by examining each species’ unique genitalia.

“This species has a prominent, pale protrusion on its genitalia (and speaking of genitalia: I’m going to say 90% of our identification work focuses on these for flies, we are obsessed with fly genitalia…), making it easy to pick out at the species level,” wrote Hartop.

Visit the blog to see Emily’s sketches and amazing fly photos by NHM intern Kelsey Bailey.  I proudly point out Megaselia lombardorum so named for the host site of yours truly — a perk of being a host, in addition to being part of something so cool!

Who knew you could learn to love a fly!

Larchmont Buzz: Local BioSCAN Traps

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles

.printfriendly { padding: 0 0 60px 50px; }