Associate Curator Emeritus Chen W. Young
Female brachyptery of Nephrotoma basiflava from China
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Flightless females of the crane fly Nephrotoma basiflava Yang & Yang are described and illustrated. Although species with micropterous females and males with fully functional wings are not uncommon in Tipulinae, this is the first record for the genus Nephrotoma. Similar subapterous females have been observed for Tipula (Pauatipula) koiari Young in saturated montane meadow (2200 m) in Papua New Guinea, Tipula (Eumicrotipula) in the paramos of Ecuador Andes (3950 m), Tipula (Vestiplex) in Kyrgyzstan steppes (3100 m), and Tipula (Pterelachisus, Savtshenkia, Vestiplex) in alpine regions of Switzerland (2100-3100 m). Wing reductions in females have also been reported in species of Tipulinae at lower altitude in the arctic regions.
The habitat where specimens of N. basiflava were collected was montane grassland at an elevation close to 3300 m. The grassland has a mixture of diverse species of grasses, sparse patches of herbaceous plants, and scattered dwarf shrubs. The homogeneous habitat at high altitude, coupled with low temperatures and frequent windy conditions, probably explain the occurrence of female brachyptery in these flies. This research was supported by a grant from the National Geographic Society (6843-00).
This information was published in 2002 in Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society (75:110-115).
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