New Species of Assassin Fly Discovered in South Africa

Posted on December 6, 2016

Trichoura pardeos

Scientists have discovered a new species of assassin flies in South Africa. The new species was found in the Tierberg Nature Reserve, a small convervation area located on the north banks of the Gariep River in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It has been named Trichoura pardeos.

Assassin flies prey on other insects, including beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps and other flies. They also sometimes prey on spiders. The flies catch prey in flight. They pierce their prey with their proboscis and inject venom. The venom dissolves the inside of the prey enabling the fly to suck it out.

The fly resides in a habitat that consists primarily of a large rocky hill with limited vegetation. The fly is red-brown in color, with silvery, white and yellowish markings. It was originally discovered in 2004.

The new research was published by authors Dr. Jason Londt, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, South Africa, and Dr. Torsten Dikow, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, USA. A research paper on the new species can be found here in the journal, African Invertebrates.

Image: Torsten Dikow